COLUMN | A festival of chicken and chips

Frango Piri-Piri 1
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Steven Burgess and Josh Moore opened BoBo in West Kirby in August 2023, a restaurant that celebrates Iberian food and beverage, in particular that of Portugal and Spain. In their regular column, the former AA rosette chefs, turned hospitality specialists, discuss their passion for Portuguese and Spanish cuisine and the history behind some of the peninsula’s iconic dishes and drinks.

Portuguese Chicken & Chips – Frango delicioso

For the past 34 years the town of Guia in the Algarve hosts a festival, Festa do Frango, where the humble chicken is central to the festivities – there’s music, dancing, comedy, and of course because it’s Portgual, lots and lots of churasqueiras – the famous charcoal grill. Frango no churrasco – chicken on the barbeque or Frango no braso – chicken on hot coals, is Portugal’s favourite fast food.

However, don’t think KFC. Nando’s is closer, but still not the same. This is a whole different level. Guia itself is known for its numerous chicken piri-piri restaurants and is known locally and nationally as “The Capital of Chicken”. The very first chicken piri-piri, or as it’s called Frango assado (roasted chicken) com piri-piri, was reputedly grilled there in 1974, by José Carlos Ramires, whose eponymous restaurant is still open today.

Piri-piri itself is also Portuguese in origin. The Malagueta pepper, a variety of chili pepper widely used in Brazil, the Caribbean, Portugal, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe, was originally discovered and produced by Portuguese explorers in Portugal’s former Southern African territories and then exported to other Portuguese domains. As early as the 15th century those conquistadors created a basic version of the sauce that we still douse our chickens in today.

It’s all in the heat – a combination of real fire and a fiery liquor typically made of those crushed piquant peppers, olive oil, lemon, vinegar, garlic and salt. While the chicken is being flame grilled to give it that smoky flavour, it’s continually basted to keep it juicy, spicy and sweet, before being served with fries or rice or salad and bread, or all four. It’s perfectly washed down with a cold pint of Sagres or a bottle of Super Bock. It would be rude not to!

When we were developing our menus for BoBo, we knew we had to include many of our personal favourites and especially those which are found on every street corner. Frango Piri Piri was top of our list – you’ve got to love a plate of food that has its own dedicated festival in its country of origin and whose fame has spread the world over.

At BoBo we take a free range chicken, brine it for 24 hours, spatchcock it, then cook it fresh each time over flames and dress it with our own version of piri-piri and serve it with fresh cut local potato fries, lemon and a dressed tomato salad, just as the Portuguese would. It’s our signature dish -wonderfully spicy and incredibly tasty.

Now that’s chicken & chips: Frango e batatas fritas – simples e delicioso.

To book your table visit: West Kirby — BoBo.