Hallelujah, the Madeira Feast is finally here.

After a three-year hiatus, the 106th Feast of the Blessed Sacrament has returned to the SouthCoast. I'm predicting record-breaking crowds and attendance, seeing how we've all gone far too long without that delicious Madeira Wine and, of course, the food.

There's something about that homemade Portuguese food that hits differently, especially at the feast grounds.

Thousands flock to the fire pit to get their carne de espeto, loading their skewers with fresh veggies and marinated meats and roasting them over some coals. Whether you plan on eating there or food-prepping for the week, one skewer alone can feed a family.

Feast of The Blessed Sacrament
Feast of The Blessed Sacrament

The smells of the feast that take over my nose in a nostalgic way. They remind me of my avó's house whenever we'd visit. The thick aroma of kale and spices would fill the air and slap you in the face the moment you walked through the door.

Ah, the good old days.

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While everyone is lined up for good old-fashioned bifana or cacoila sandwiches, I'm looking elsewhere.

Here's my pro tip when you go to the feast this weekend: Explore the back of the feast where the firepit is. Numerous food booths serve other things besides the "basic" Portuguese dishes.

Honestly, you're missing out on some incredible dishes, desserts and sides if you're only stopping to get a sandwich.

I spoke with feast treasurer Jim Vieira, who advised me on the hidden gems of the feast kitchen.

"I enjoy a little bit of everything, especially the carne de espeto," Vieira said. "But I'd recommend checking out the buffet. It's only $14 (half-price for seniors on Saturday) and you get a smorgasbord of different meats like goat, rabbit, cacoila, milho frito (Portuguese cubed fries) and rice. Plus, as a bonus, you get to sit down under the pavilion in the shade."

Ready for the good stuff? Prepare your tastebuds and dive into these delectable, must-try dishes at The Feast.

5 Underrated Foods at New Bedford's Portuguese Feast

Besides the bifanas, cacoila and carne de espeto, here are five underrated Portuguese dishes and treats you have to try at the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament.

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