During my Alentejo road trip, I had decided to set aside one day just for happy eats. The L’and Vineyard Resort in Montemor-O-Novo is in a central location for sight seeing and I am a travelblogger who lives to eat. Alright… alright…you caught me out… The real reason for making this impromptu foodie trip was because it was raining cats and dogs in Alentejo. The wind howled and the heavily laden clouds continued to empty its load. The glorious blue skies of yesterdays had turned into a day where my umbrella’s integrity is tested to its max. You can buy a fabulous luxury holiday but never the weather. At breakfast, I began to frantically search on my Iphone’s Weather app. Sun oh sun, where art thou? Luckily the Belem area had the sunniest of skies. Have you ever changed your holiday plans just to chase the sun and the bluer than blue skies? Let’s live smart! Why bear with the rain when the sun is beaming elsewhere?
Let’s go to eat chinese food at Oeiras. The Oeiras municipality is situated to the west of Lisbon. The curious and wise ones amongst you may ask “why not visit Lisbon”? I had been to Lisbon before. If you are lucky, I will tell you about my adventure next time. Aha.. I like to keep you waiting for more …After a 1 hr and 13 min car journey and having donated more of my hard-earned money to the tollbooths of Portugal, we arrived at Oeiras just in time for lunch. Oeiras here we come! At first glance, Oeiras looked like a typical Lisbon commuter town.
Our now well-behaved Sat Nav took us to a very discreet neighbourhood. At first glance, these apartment blocks were nothing much to write home about.We hunted high and low for the entrance of the Yum Cha Garden restaurant. The restaurant was very cleverly hidden on the ground floor of an apartment block. We braved ourselves and entered the restaurant. You just never know about the quality of the Chinese food served in Europe. My eyes rested on the many locals eating at Yum Cha Garden restaurant. Apart from the waiters and waitresses there is not a single Chinese customer in sight. Alarm bells rang but it was too late to pull an exit stunt as the friendly waiter was already guiding us to the nearest empty table. Ah well, it can’t hurt, can it? The restaurant does look clean and I was so hungry!
We had Cantonese dishes of stuffed eggplants cooked in oyster sauce, roast duck, braised tofu in oyster sauce garnished with a sprig of coriander and stir fried rice noodles. I toasted my glass to the stuffed egg plants and the roast duck! However, the braised tofu was below my expectations as the tofu was extra firm and the texture was a bit rough for my liking. I dare say that the stir fried rice noodles would also benefit from some extra “wok hei”. “Wok hei” is literally translated as “the breath of the wok”. “Wok Hei” means the extra oomph imparted to a dish by stir-frying ingredients over a very high heat, and this Maillard reaction generates an extra dimension, breathing life to the otherwise soulless ingredients. Yum Cha Garden is an authentic Cantonese restaurant and the prices are right. Just stay clear from the tofu and you will do just fine.
Having had our fill of Chinese food, we headed to the foodie haven of Belem, a town famous for Portuguese egg tarts (Portuguese: Pastel de nata)! I was beaming with delight for I really do love egg tarts. After parking our car at the Alfonso de Albuquerque Square, we had an ice-cream at the clean and modern Belem Santini gelateria. The gelato is not bad!
We worked off the ice-cream and chinese lunch by visiting a few touristy shops selling postcards, tacky souvenirs and chocolates in the town of Belem. I love my visit to the Museu Nacional dos Coches. It fills my heart with joy to see the Cinderella’s royal coaches on display. Don’t bother paying for the Cloister of Jeronimo Monastery. It’s sufficient just to take a picture for the “gram” from the outside. Another must see is the medieval fortified Belem tower.
For a grand finale to your Belem trip, do eat at the Pasteis de Belem’s cafe. Psst! It’s our little secret! Don’t stand in the sun and queue for your egg tarts. Just go deep into the belly of the Pasteis de Belem, you will pass the kitchen window where you can watch how these egg tarts are made and then bag your own table at the grand cafe. A truly delicious egg tart is best savoured with some peace and quiet. How very civilised indeed!
As with any travel blogger worth its salt, it’s my duty to take “one for the gram” at the sight of anything beautiful, different, yummylicious or interesting. Do follow the Dreamplifly Instagram. For a picture is truly worth a thousand words. Greetings with love from Belem! Tchau!
- Yum Cha Garden
Signature dish: Dim sum, stuffed egg plants with oyster sauce and roast duck
Address: Praceta de maputo 6A 2780-023 Oeiras,Portugal
- Santini Belem
Signature dish: Italian gelato
Address: Museu dos Coches, Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, Belém, Lisboa, Portugal
- Pasteis de Belem
Signature dish: egg tarts
Address: Rua de Belem n0 84 a 92, Lisbon 1300-085, Portugal