Preserving the flavors of Portugal: Lisbon’s Can the Can restaurant
A good deal of Portugal’s historic wealth for centuries has come from their fishing, preserving and exporting seafood. Indeed, Portugal considered North America’s Newfoundland theirs, naming it what translates to “New Found Land of the Codfish” in 1473. In 1865, Portugal began its canning industry, the country’s oldest industry. You can tell it’s beloved by the nation by just going through Lisbon’s airport: there are cans upon cans of seafood for sale at the duty free shops, extending to last-minute carts right before the gates.
Now, there’s a restaurant that celebrates the canning industry! Can the Can elevates the often gourmet selections grown, fished and created in Portugal. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!
Though it was a glorious day outside and I did end up eating al fresco, I took a peek inside. They have a gift shop of sorts, selling lots of different canned/tinned food items, such as a myriad of fish, olives, olive oil. I just didn’t feel like hauling tons of canned food through the airport or in my luggage.
What really caught my attention was the presentation, texture, color of Portugal’s canned seafood. I’m so used to mushy, gushy tuna in the US on the more affordable end of things, to the lighter, something a bit firmer on the much more expensive end of the spectrum.
Portugal packs fish of a whole different level of quality: I highly suggest that you keep an eye out for it in gourmet shops and grocery stores.
Here’s a gourmet treatment of tuna you probably wouldn’t have conceived: cold smoked tuna ham with coriander, honey and orange juice reduction, with a salt and coriander kick and almonds! This really turns tuna into a “meat” dish.