Madeira – Typical Fruits & Dishes
The vegetation is incredible and very versatile. There are various fruits to try. In the center of Funchal you can visit the market „mercado dos Lavradores“. Better buy the fruits in the basement. The prices are lower than on the first floor.
Following, there is a list of specialties that I tried on Madeira and which are typical for this Portuguese island…
Cherimoya: It is a green fruit which can also become purple. Its shape is round and it looks like a pine. The taste is a mixture of pear and chewing gum. The white flesh has to be eaten with a spoon and the black pits have to be removed.
English tomato: It is a mixture of a tomato and a passion fruit. Also the taste is a mixture of both fruits – sour, bitter and a little sweet at once. Eat the pulp with a spoon.
Cucumber passion fruit „Pera Theloa„: It is a mixture of a cucumber and a passion fruit. It almost only tastes like a cucumber with just a little bit sourness. The consistency is very watery, almost exactly like a cucumber. Eat the pulp with a spoon.
Ananas-banana „Filoderidro / Fruita deliciosa„: It looks like a pine and it quiet tricky and time consuming to eat. It has to be eaten by segments – piece by piece. The taste is in between pineapple and banana. The fruit is ripe when the segments start to split and pop up by themselves. Also the grip is a little softer by then.
Pimpiniela: good for kidneys. A Madeirense told as a joke: This fruit is called “Pimpiniela” because you have to do “pippi” soon after you ate it.
Traditional vegetable soup:
Espada: The famous back and long fish from the deep sea with big eyes. The meat is white though and it tastes delicious. There are two typical ways of eating it: Either way with a cooked banana and passion fruit sauce or with roasted almonds.
Almost every day, we bought fresh fish from the Atlantic and cooked it in our AirBnB apartment.
Madeira wine: There are four major styles of Madeira wine: Sercial meaning dry, Verdelho meaning medium dry, Bual meaning medium sweet and Malmsey meaning sweet. The dark wine is sweet and strong. There are several flavors but most of the time you will taste caramel, burnt sugar, orange peel, walnut, hazelnut, and peach.
It is simple to find a good place to eat. In the historical zone of Funchal „zona historica do Funchal“ there are many excellent restaurants. It is placed in a side street of the harbor. The entrance is two parallel streets away and on the right hand side of the historical market „mercado dos Lavradores“. Each restaurant there has its own charm and each door is a unique piece of art decorated with street art, graffiti, paintings, collages or applications.
The first restaurant of the street „Restaurante Típico Jaquet“ was my personally favorite place to eat. It is the perfect spot for having fantastic fish meals. All fish are super freshly and directly fished from the Atlantic. The kitchen is open and integrated into the restaurant. So, all visitors can watch the chef cooking. I ordered a tuna steak which was the best one that I’ve had so far and my friends ordered fried Atlantic mackerels with regional vegetables that were also good. The exact address is Rua de Santa Maria, 5 – 5a, 9060-291 Funchal, Portugal
Tel.: 291 22 53 44
M.: 96 562 0701
Arsenal: This restaurant was more touristic. There we tried the famous deep-sea fish “Espada” with banana and passion fruit sauce and the meat skewer “Espetada”. The quality was ok, but I preferred the other restaurant. The taste was simple and not luxurious. The food was okay, but nothing special (the vegetable soup tasted like nothing in this restaurant). At least the prices were normal. Luckily the „Espada“ was the dish of the day for 10€ instead of 15€. The exact address is in the same street as the „Restaurante Jaquet“: Rua de Santa Maria, 30, 9060-291 Funchal, Portugal
Another very good restaurant which I tried in Funchal is the “restaurante a bica”. Also many locals come to this place. The food was delicious, but we had to wait almost 1,5 hours because it was super busy. The exact address is R. Hospital Velho 17, 9060-129 Funchal, Portugal
Our diving guide Stephan recommended us to go to the next city „Camara de Lobos“ for having original and the real traditional dishes of Madeira. Unfortunately you need to rent a car to visit this city. As far as I know there is no bus line. The food seems to be more traditional out of Funchal in almost every restaurant.
Places To Visit:
Monte – Cable Car – Slide:
Right in Funchal there is a wonderful mountain called „Monte“ where you can go up by the famous cable car starting in the harbor. It costs 10€ one way or 15€ for a return ticket. If this is too expensive for you, you can take the bus line 21 or 22 starting on the central bus station in Funchal called „Centre“. It will take you to the end of the cable car stop at Monte. I tried it both ways. 🙂
On top you can visit a botanical garden or just walk around a bit, admire the vegetation, visit a white church or just relax in a small café while a woman is playing an accordion nearby.
I recommend you to take the historical slide up there. It is super expensive but once in a lifetime you should definitely try it! It is sooo much fun!Two Madeirenses will pull the basket, control and navigate it on the street. The distance is about 2 km and the ride takes about 5-6 minutes. Unfortunately the slide ends at a point where no public busses go directly back to Funchal. But no worries, instead of taking an expensive taxi we just walked straight back to the harbor. It is not so far as it seems and it took us maybe 15 min.
Costs per basket:
Only 1 person: 25€
2 persons: 30€ for both
3 persons: 45€ for all three together
Forte de São Tiago in Funchal:
Typical Trees & Flowers of Madeira:
The island is the perfect destination for all nature & adventure lovers. It is a botanic fascination. Especially during this time – the beginning of spring – all flowers start to bloom. In Madeira some people have never been to the doctor because they take the healing plants from the island instead of medicine. The leaves of several flowers are suitable for making tea for example.
Eucalyptus: The Madeirenses make delicious liquor and sweets out of it.
Laurel: It is an aromatic evergreen tree. In the Mediterranean region the bay leaf is used for cooking. The Madeirenses make also bay oil for medicine out of it because it has multiple surprising health benefits as antiseptic, antibiotic, etc.
African Fire tulip flower tree:
Follow Us On
Did you like this blog entry? I hope you enjoyed this post, check in next week for more tips or have a look at my other posts. Pease feel free to share them and to leave a comment. You can subscribe to my website or follow me on Instagram or Facebook. On Instagram you also will find simple snapshots of my daily life taken with my cellphone besides professional photography and fashion themes.
See you soon, XOXO