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A Portuguese sandwich, the Francesinha
Place of originPorto, Portugal
Main ingredientsbread, ham, linguiça, fresh sausage (chipolata), steak or roast meat, cheese, spiced tomato-and-beer sauce
Variationsegg atop

Francesinha (Portuguese pronunciation: [fɾɐ̃sɨˈziɲɐ] meaning little French woman[1][2]) is a Portuguese sandwich, originally from Porto, made with layers of toasted bread and assorted hot meats such as roast, steak, wet-cured ham, linguiça, or chipolata over which sliced cheese is melted by the ladling of a near-boiling tomato-and-beer sauce called molho de francesinha [pt].[1] It is typically served with french fries.


Francesinha with French fries

The francesinha is a twentieth-century creation attributed to Daniel David de Silva[3] who, upon returning to Portugal from time spent in France and Belgium, tried to adapt the croque-monsieur to Portuguese tastes. In 1953, he introduced a sandwich with local meats and a custom beer-and-tomato sauce at A Regaleira, a restaurant in Rua do Bonjardim in Porto. The francesinha quickly became a popular dish, and while it remains associated with the city, it can now be found throughout Portugal.


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Francesinha in Porto

There is no standard recipe for the francesinha. Different restaurants in Portugal have special variations, such as:

The francesinha especial (special francesinha) is a francesinha with egg and/or potato chips. Other variations of the original include fillings such as pork, chicken, pastrami, tuna, cod and vegetarian options.


Francesinha sauce varies, with each establishment having its variation. The only common ingredient is beer. Most, though not all, sauces are tomato based and vary in their degree of spiciness. The colour is usually red or orange.

Regional variants

Francesinha in Porto with a fried egg

Francesinha poveira is a form of francesinha distinctive to Póvoa de Varzim, north of Porto, created in the early 1960s. The poveira form uses different bread and sauce to form a sandwich that can be eaten by hand.

Pica-pau is a breadless variant in which a steak is cut into bite-sized pieces and covered with sauce. The name pica-pau (woodpecker) references the traditional means of consumption with small skewers or toothpicks—making the diner "peck" at the dish.


The Daily Meal included the francesinha in their article "12 Life-Changing Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of".[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Francesinha: Portuguese Sandwich Recipe". We Travel Portugal. Retrieved 3 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Francesinha, a sandwich that will welcome you to Porto". Food’n Road. Retrieved 3 June 2023.
  3. ^ ""Porque não chamar-lhe francesinha?" A história de como foi batizada a famosa iguaria portuense". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-11-05.
  4. ^ Dan Myers (27 February 2015). "12 Life-Changing Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of". The Daily Meal. Retrieved 2015-03-03.

Further reading