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Gumbo's Pic of the Day, Dec. 29, 2013: Porto's Sandwich Obsession



Last summer, in Porto, Portugal we met a formidable sandwich and survived. But it took two of us to eat each of the ones we tried. All were good, and each was a little different. Our favorite recommended by our apartment host, was at Cafe Santiago. The picture below shows more of the ingredients at about the half-way mark.


This is a regionally-famous treat that's been slowly spreading to other parts of Portugal; its basics are two square slices of toasted bread, sliced ham, sliced steak or roast beef, sliced linguica sausage, sliced cheese (on the outside of the sandwich, and the whole thing topped with a spicy sauce based on tomato and beer. And usually with fries under, around and even in the sandwich.


Most variations just change around which ham, which sausage and especially the sauce—and for some, every variation is a Big Deal. If you want to see how serious this can get, drop in at the website of the Iremendade de Francesinha (Brotherhood of Francesinhas).


Its origin is also cloudy; some claim (without evidence) that it dates to the 19th century, but most stories give credit to a Daniel de Silva, a Portuguese student returning from France in 1953 or 1960 or 1962 (you see how it goes?) and wanting to create a Portuguese competitor for the croque monsieur—which explains its name, which means "Frenchie"







Images (2)
  • Francesinha at Cafe Santiago
  • Francesinha, deconstructed

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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