So, as far as being a vegan in Lisbon, there is good news and there is bad news. First, the bad news. Traditional Portuguese food is not vegan-friendly. They like steak, with eggs on top of it, with fries on the side. Also, while you wait for your steak with eggs on top, they will bring you some sausage and cheese and tuna pate to eat. (They will also bring you bread, which you will devour). In fact, even the traditional pastries are all about eggs: many of them are bright orange, in fact, because they are almost pure egg yolks.
Some goodies from Celeiro Dieta... the little crostatine from Italy that I love so much (I still have 1 package left), some super yummy marzipan candies, quince paste, very tasty dried soy bean snack, yummy cappucino flavor soy pudding cups which served as breakfast every morning, cherry-applesauce, canned ravioli (uh... SO GOOD), and a box of vegan jello that I brought home for next time I need to make a bright green jello mold for a vegan pot luck.
BUT there's good news too. For starters, Lisbon has a whole chain of really good natural food stores (Celeiro Dieta)
More health food scores from a different store (choices!) Chocolate soy milk, some very tasty tofu & basil ravioli, a little jar of olive tapenade, and some REALLY freaking good raisin cookies which it turns out I should have bought in bulk because I liked them so much.
Even aside from the grocery stores, there are lots of great ethnic restaurants. Back in college, I spent some time in Florence, Italy, and I remember that there was ONE Chinese restaurant and one store where you could buy things like peanut butter and ketchup... Well, Lisbon is not like that. We ate Italian food, we ate Indian food (twice!), and there were plenty of other options for yummy, vegan-friendly food. It does make me a bit sad that I didn't have a chance to enjoy any local Portuguese cuisine... but it makes me happy that I was able to eat.
One delightful discovery in Lisbon was the prevalence of these little vegan "empanadas." One night, we went out to Centro Colombo, Europe's largest shopping mall... just to check it out! We found a huge restaurant zone there, and watched a particularly important soccer game with all the locals, while eating vegan Indian food... which was actually very good. After dinner, strolling the mall, we came across TWO health food stores, where I bought all sorts of goodies (see above)! I was so stoked. AND then, just across the way, I discovered a bakery that had 3 different types of savory vegan empanadas. I just about jumped for joy. Later, I found similar creations in the refrigerated section at the Celeiro Dieta, and pounced on those too. It's funny how quickly you become skilled at reading labels even in a foreign language! These little empanadas from the mall were definitely the best of any I had in Lisbon, and they were really delicious. Filled with spices, veggies, seitan or tofu... they were filling, flavorful, hearty, and delicious. Also, totally portable, which is such a great thing when traveling.
We are tennis nerds, so we spend a couple of our afternoons in Lisbon out at the Jamor National Sports Center, attending the Estoril Open. On our last day in Lisbon, we got to see Roger Federer play!! Woo hooo! Maybe you don't care about tennis, but if you do, you will understand why we were so stoked.
At the tournament they had a huge and elegant buffet lunch available... but naturally, very little of it was vegan. The gal at the register was SO sweet and charged me a kid's price. Really that was highway robbery on my part, because I don't think she understood just how much fruit salad I can put away. That fruit salad was AMAZING. Plus, a lovely green salad, plus fresh bread. Plus, being able to eat a meal together with Mr. Vegan Eats and Treats made the whole thing pretty great.
The first of my many courses of fruit salad.