There are several places in Lisbon that have somehow remain unmentioned in tourism guides. Here’s the most multicultural square in town, Martim Moniz.
It’s been a long time since Martim Moniz died (during the siege of Lisbon in 1147), there’s a square that pays homage to the noble hero knight. Multicultural Lisbon starts here and it’s like you’re in Kreuzberg (Berlin). Down the Almirante Reis Avenue, there are small Chinese grocery stores, Turkish kebab houses, Indian restaurants and stores, and by the smell you could say you’re in Chinatown or Little Bombay.
Inside the Mouraria shopping center, you’ll find small shops with African products: dried fish, coconut milk, okra and hot piri-piri. There’s also a good Indian shop called Popat Store, the place to buy achar (Indian pickle), cardamom, dried coconut and things that I don’t know how to use in the kitchen yet. Every time I go to Martim Moniz square I buy some spices, Vimto (raspberry juice) and besan laddu (chickpea cake). Check the Chinese small grocery stores for pak choi cabbage, lemongrass and Thai fish sauce. My curry keeps getting better and better.
The renewed square has now a trendy market called Mercado de Fusão (“Fusion Market”. There are DJs and other live acts. People gather here after work for a fresh samosa and a beer. Pakistani kids are playing cricket on the south side and the area is getting better and being renewed. In the future I hope it will be the second heart of Lisbon.