Geography

Legends, saints and fine dining honour tradition

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 June, 2005, 12:00am

THE PORTUGUESE National Day celebrates the memory of Luis Vaz de Camoes - most famous for his epic poem Os Lusiadas - who died on June 10, 1580.


It is believed Camoes penned the legendary poem when he was posted in Macau as a government officer in the 1550s-1560s. He died in the then Portuguese enclave.


'This day is also one of Portugal's biggest celebratory events, the 'Santos Populares', which translates as 'Popular Saints' in English,' said Portuguese chef Ricardo Bizaro of the Macau Tower. 'These celebrations take place throughout the month of June and bring out the most traditional Portuguese cuisine.'


Mr Bizaro said all cities and villages celebrated the day with barbecues and plenty of sangria.


Popular barbecue ingredients include fresh fish, meat cuts and fresh green salads complemented with local wines and sangria.


'Sardines are the most important delicacy for this celebration because they also represent the beginning of the summer sea harvest,' he said. Traditional foods include sardines, codfish, octopus, seafood kebabs, suckling pig, pork ribs, pork loin, chorizo, salads, chickpeas and bell peppers, served up with lashings of garlic, tarragon, virgin olive oil and/or vinegar.


Mr Bizaro manages the Mediterranean buffet at Cafe 360 in the Macau Tower, which features a wide selection of authentic dishes from his native country.