If you want coffee in Portugal would you ask for a “Cimbalino,” “Cafézinho” or a “Bica”? If you feel like having a beer, should you ask for an “Imperial” or “Fino?” Well… the answer to these questions is: it depends on where you are in Portugal. In this article, we’ll “fight” one of the most epic battles ever fought: North vs. South of Portugal. And Civil War! Please note the Portuguese Civil War was between 1838 and 1834, and was more constitutionalists versus absolutists than North versus South…
1 – Tripeiros versus Mouros/Alfacinhas – If you´re in the north and hear “Mouros” or “Alfacinhas,” probably they’re talking about someone from the south (ONLY part of Portugal from 1147 on…). On the other hand, southern people are used to call “Tripeiros” – due to the famous “Tripas” dish (that would be tripe)– to the north.
2 – Port Wine versus Ginjinha – Both are sweet, tasty and commonly served as dessert or appetizer. Although you can get any of them across Portugal, you’re most likely to drink a good Ginjinha – with OR without the fruit – in the south, and a good Port Wine in the north.
3 – Estrugido versus Refogado –Portuguese often starts the same: olive oil, garlic and chopped onions. The main difference? Even if you’re cooking the same ingredients, you’re making Estrugido in the north and Refogado in the south.
4 – Fino versus Imperial – if you feel like a beer, chose your words wisely. From Porto to Coimbra you should ask for a Fino and you’ll get your beer. To the south of Coimbra, ask for an Imperial. Don’t mix this one up…The bartender will probably help you if you make that mistake!
5 – Cimbalino or Cafézinho versus Bica – Forget the Espresso. In Portugal, you can try a great Portuguese coffee. But be careful… You should ask for a Cimbalino or Cafézinho in the north or a Bica in the south. If these are difficult words to memorize, just ask for a “um café, por favor” (Coffee please).
6– Cruzeta versus Cabide – If you are in the north and need more hangers to hang your clothes, don’t ask for Cabides, or you might have an unpleasant surprise. Northern people call hangers “cruzetas”- southern people call them “cabides.”
7 – Broa versus Bolinha – Despite they are both types of bread, they are not the same thing. Broa is a thick brown thick bread eaten in the north. Bolinha, on the other hand, is a white small bread – one of the most common – in the south.
8 – Totil versus Bué – A slang translation of the word “very” or “a lot”- is different when used by northern or southern people. The word bué was imported from the African community in Lisbon and now is part of the Portuguese language.
9 – FC Porto versus Benfica and Sporting – Quick tip: don’t dare to say you support Benfica or Sporting soccer teams if you’re in Porto. On the other hand, if you’re in Lisbon you can only be either a Sporting or Benfica supporter, never FC Porto.
10 - Warm Weather versus Warm Weather – Although the sunny Portugal has a warm weather, it can change a lot depending on how north or south you are. In the winter, the north can see temperatures as low as 20F; in the summer, the warmer south can get to 100F. The other way around usually doesn't happen.