As humankind strives to find cost-effective ways to transform itself into dragonkind, fire breathing has been delegated to expensive mini flamethrowers installed in mouths. Spit fire far more safely with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of Portuguese cuisine at Nando's Peri-Peri. This Groupon is valid at the Washington, DC 7th Street and 18th Street locations, and their Annapolis location. It is also valid at their newly opened Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, and Bethesda locations, as well as their National Harbor location, set to open on November 30th.
Nando's Peri-Peri, founded in South Africa in 1987, hopped continents to bring a toothsome menu of sandwiches, pitas, wraps, and salads starring Portuguese peri-peri flame-grilled chicken to diners north of the equator. Introduced to Western palates by Portuguese explorers perambulating Africa in the distant days of maritime exploration, peri-peri is a fiery chili pepper that adds a kick of capsaicin to any meal or trick chewing gum. Nando's fresh chicken luxuriates in its peri-peri marinade for 24 hours, resulting in dishes with a quartet of Scoville-scale-scorching spice levels including mild lemon and herb, medium, hot, and the daredevil-only extra hot. Noshers can fuel up for feeding frenzies and practice their dunking prowess with nibbles of the peri-peri hummus with pita appetizer ($3.95). For the entree, meat eaters can enjoy a grilled-to-order peri-peri half chicken with a side such as spiced rice or hearty coleslaw ($10.95), and vegetarians can fill mouth caves with veggie burgers ($6.25) as well as a host of premium salads ($5.75–$7.95). Alternatively, a toasted peri-peri chicken pita ($6.25) eliminates the need for a utensil-pilot’s license with a handheld dish full of salad and special Nando’s mayonnaise.
Even though Portuguese explorers couldn't pronounce the Swahili name for the African bird's eye chili—pili-pili—the sailors fully embraced its flavor shortly after landing in the region known today as Mozambique. Intrigued by the small, fiery pepper, they combined it with aromatic doses of herbs, garlic, and lemon to create the first peri-peri sauce. That sauce eventually became a wildly popular marinade for poultry, and the tasty concoction made its way to South Africa over the next several centuries. There, in 1987, two friends decided to honor this culinary legacy by founding the first Nando's Peri-Peri restaurant. The eatery continued to remain true to its South African roots, even while expanding to encompass locations in 24 countries across four continents.
Beginning with fresh chickens that never see the inside of a kitchen freezer, the chefs furtively marinate the birds in a secret peri-peri sauce for 24 hours before grilling them over an open flame. Diners dictate the heat level of their order, requesting that the grilled chicken arrive relatively mild or that wings be slathered with even more incendiary spices. The succulent chicken can be plated with hearty side dishes—such as Portuguese-style rice with herbs and peppers or peas with mint—or served in the form of a sandwich, wrap, or pita. To complement the menus' African flavors, Nando's worldwide locations collectively feature more than 4,000 pieces of African artwork.