The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to Portuguese Food
Portugal has a rich culinary tradition, with unique flavors and dishes. The five countries with the most similar food are also predominantly Catholic. Four of the five border the Mediterranean Sea and have a lot of coastline. Therefore, seafood is a common ingredient in all these countries’ cuisines.
- France and Portugal tend consume a lot fish and cheese. Salted cod is a common ingredient in their dishes. Furthermore, both countries also love hearty stews, with Portugal’s cozido à Portuguesa finding a French counterpart in cassoulet. The use of olive oil, butter, garlic, and aromatic herbs is another commonality in their cooking.
- Spain is the only country that borders Portugal, so it is no suprise their food is similar as well. Shared ingredients like olive oil, garlic, and paprika are common in both cuisines. Spanish paella and Portuguese arroz de marisco both feature rice and a medley of seafood. Spain’s tapas are similar to Portugal’s petiscos.
- Luxembourg‘s cuisine is quite similar to France’s, so it makes sense that it is included on this list as well. Interestingly enough, due to recent immigration, around 15% of Luxembourg’s population has Portuguese ancestry. Both cuisines make extensive use of pork in their dishes. Bread and potatoes are their two most common staples.
- Croatia and Portugal, both have a lot of coastline, so they share a passion for seafood. Both countries consume a lot of octopus meat. Grilled fish is also popular in these countries. The use of olive oil and herbs, suh as basil, rosemary, and oregano is another common thread connecting their food.
- Italy has a similar climate to Portugal, characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. As a result, both countries grow a lot of grapes and olives. These countries excel at creating pasta dishes as well. Bread and cheese are also common staples. Moreover, the sweet pastries in these nations are alike too.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Portuguese Food
Four of the five countries with the least similar food to Portugal are located in Africa. These countries also have a significantly warmer climate. Moreover, these five nations are significantly less developed than Portugal. Neither bread nor pork are commonly eaten in these countries.
- Chad is a sparsely populated, landlocked country in Africa that is mostly desert. Chad’s cuisine is also far different from Portugal’s. It heavily relies on staples like millet, sorghum, rice, and corn. Their people are mostly Muslim, so they do not consume a lot of pork.
- South Sudan is another landlocked country in Africa. Cassava is its staple food, however the country eats its share of sorghum as well. Porridge is one of the most popular dishes in the country. Unlike in in Portugal, cheese is rarely consumed in the South Sudan.
- Central African Republic borders both Chad and South Sudan. Cassava and yams are two of the most commonly eaten ingredients in the country. Furthermore, taro and bananas make a much greater share of the diet in Central African Republic than in Portugal.
- Micronesia is a group of small islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It relies extremely heavily on seafood, tropical fruits, and root crops as a result. The country’s relative isolation has limited its exposure to foreign influences.
- Sierra Leone and Portugal both border the Atlantic Coast, but they have little in common. Sierra Leone is a former British colony that is predominately Muslim. The vast majority of the nation’s diet is made up of starches, especially rice and cassava.
Portugal’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Saltwater Fish, Pork
Fruit: Apple, Orange
Vegetable: Tomato, Cabbage
Starch: Wheat, Potato
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.