Bifana is a type of sandwich where its taste is much more important than its appearance. Bifanas are prepared from only three main components – Portuguese papo secos rolls, thin slices of pork cooked in a spicy sauce made from white wine, ground red pepper, garlic, bay leaf, and other ingredients.
The pork slices for preparing bifanas are really very thin, sometimes the pork is even frozen so that the slices can be as thin as possible when cutting. The chef cooks them in large open pots in the sauce until they are soft, almost falling apart. Just before serving, the meat is placed in a sliced roll. For a better taste, the roll is dipped in the sauce again.
The sandwich may not look very appetizing, but once you taste the first one, you will understand why the locals love it. A big advantage is also the speed and simplicity of preparation. Once the pork slices are cooked, the assembly of the bifanas may take only ten seconds. From ordering to starting consumption, not even a minute may pass. So you have to be careful not to burn your tongue like I did. The sauce in which the pork slices are prepared is really hot.
The bifana sandwich is one of the most popular in Portugal, and it is prepared slightly differently in every part of the country. I had the opportunity to try it at the popular Conga restaurant, which has been preparing bifanas since 1976. One serving here costs 2.40 EUR. In the restaurant, you can sit at the bar and watch the preparation of sandwiches and other dishes for other guests, or wait a while and let the staff seat you at a classic table. In addition to bifanas, the menu also includes cachorrinhas, francesinha, as well as small fried quails.
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