A couple of years ago, I was camping nearby Lisbon when I asked for a bifana, in a snack-bar. I was salivating for that moist and spicy pieces of pork meat stuck in a bread, but all I got was a simple pork steak, with kind of the same spicy sauce, inside a dry bread: at that moment, I missed the bifanas that I’m used to. I missed the bifana from Conga!
In plain downtown, facing the emblematic Pedro dos Frangos, Conga however took a different direction from its neighbour: while the first keeps the same humble appearance and style that has always been its identity, Conga went in the opposite direction: it looks trendy, new and really welcoming.
And if one could think that going all ‘moderny’ could affect anything, well, it just didn’t: the waiters still treat you with the same sweet harshness and directness (“Hey boss, you want a bifana?”), they shout at each other in their distinct heavy Porto accent and, in a way, carry the flame of the old Conga in their presence. And the bifana, well, the bifana is still spicy hot as hell itself, yet delicious, begging for a beer to put out the fire.
If greasy pork sandwiches are not your cup of tea, there is a vast menu, from hotdogs to salads. So man up, look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: are you a salad man, or a bifanas man? Or woman, I don’t want to sound sexist!