Photo Credit: Cantinho do Aziz
Cantinho Do Aziz Has Been Serving The Best Mozambican Cuisine In Lisbon For 35 Years
Chef Jeny Sulemange is the co-owner of Cantinho do Aziz, one of the most popular and highly-rated restaurants in all of Lisbon, Portugal. Born and raised in Northern Mozambique, she moved to Europe over 20 years ago, first to Portugal, where she was married, before spending time living in Plymouth and Leeds, England as well as Miami. Chef Jeny eventually returned to Portugal, settling in Lisbon.
“I believe this is the best city in the whole world. It has great vibes. It’s perfect. The nightlife, the beach, the weather…I could go on and on, but I just invite you to visit and find out for yourself.”
Chef Jeny started cooking when she was just a young child back home in Mozambique, where girls typically learn cooking at an early age. Initially, she did not enjoy it, however, she developed a passion for cooking when people began telling her how much they loved her food, and she realized she had a real talent for the culinary arts.
Cantinho do Aziz was opened in the 80s by Chef Jeny’s husband’s parents, Mr. Aziz and Mrs. Farida. In an era when Lisbon had no other African restaurants, the visionary couple was happy to fill that void, becoming pioneers for Mozambican cuisine in the city.
“At that time, Mrs. Farida was cooking and Mr. Aziz was serving. They were the golden years for the restaurant. Many people visited the place, and it became very famous in Lisbon.”
In the summer of 2013, Chef Jeny’s husband suggested that they get back to their roots and take over his family’s business; and that is exactly what they did. Just as his parents had done for so many years, he took the orders while his wife cooked the food, carrying on the tradition.
“I remember those hardworking days. Even my kids suffered from that. We stayed working late most days, and they had to stick with us in the restaurant. In the end though, it paid off, and taking over the restaurant was the best decision we made. There is a family history behind the restaurant, and now, with all the achievements we managed to accomplish since we started running the place, I am happy to have my name written as a part of that history.”
Today, Cantinho do Aziz has a branch in Leeds, England and hosts pop-ups in New York City. Chef Jeny’s famous hot sauce, Aziz Piri Piri, is sold on Amazon and Walmart. And her cookbook, Cozinha Moçambicana, is the winner of two Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
Chef Jeny is proud to share the food of Mozambique with the world. A unique cuisine that is a fusion between African, Portuguese, and Indian influences, it offers rich, flavorful, and distinctive dishes for a style that is all its own.
“To describe Mozambican food, I would say that it is not as spicy as Indian but very tasty, and if you like spicy we have it. It is not as oily as Portuguese food, as we do not use as much olive oil. Instead, we use coconut or peanut sauce; that is what makes it unique.”
One dish that food critics, journalists, and Cantinho do Aziz customers alike rave about is Miamba wa Macua. Made with prawns and plantain, it became very popular after an article declared it the best food in Portugal. Another fan favorite of the restaurant is Bakra Piri Piri.
“I was invited to cook at a wedding in India and I prepared this dish. When I returned, I introduced this dish to our menu. After some time, we had one very famous American food blogger review this dish on YouTube, and as a result we could never take it off the menu ever again.”