Have you ever wondered what to eat in Brazil? If so, you have come to the right place! From the white-sand beaches of Rio de Janeiro to the remote villages in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil has a wealth of culinary delights waiting to be crunched, munched and slurped.
Brazilian cuisine is the perfect combination of traditional and modern, local and international. It’s full of flavour, colour and spice and is bound to get you going up for seconds (or thirds). From iconic dishes such as feijoada and moqueca to the Brazilian spin on sushi, here’s a guide on what to eat when travelling in Brazil. Bom appetite!
Feijoada is Brazil’s national dish. There are different variations of the dish, but it’s essentially a stew of black beans and pork meat, though offal is used traditionally. It’s served with rice, sauteed greens, farofa and an orange wedge to balance the flavours.
This mouthwatering seafood stew is loved all over Brazil, but especially in coastal regions. There are different versions that express the cultural diversity of the Brazilian people, but the basic recipe is prawns cooked in a creamy sauce of coconut milk, tomatoes, chillies, garlic and various herbs and spices. It’s cooked and served in a clay pot and served with fluffy white rice.
Is it even a Brazilian meal if it doesn’t come with farofa? If you ever crave some extra crunch, look no further than this quintessential Brazilian side dish. It’s made by toasting cassava flour in butter, garlic, onions and bacon. Vegetarian farofa is also popular. Farofa is a staple accompaniment for feijao (rice and beans) and churrasco (barbeque), but it tastes great on just about anything else!
There’s no need to go to fast-food chains in Brazil when you have finger-licking snacks like this being cooked up on almost every street corner. Pastels are made by stuffing a parcel of thin-crust pastry with cheese, creamy chicken or whatever other filling you fancy, and then deep-frying until crispy. They're filling and seriously moreish.
Vatapá is another classic fish stew that hails from Bahia on the northeastern coast where the dishes have been influenced by African cuisines. It’s made by cooking fresh fish and prawns in a delectable sauce of coconut milk, palm oil, cashews and spices, as well as bread or manioc flour to thicken it up.
6. Pao de queijo
Pão de queijo is another crowd-pleasing snack that is usually eaten with a cafézinho (small coffee). It’s essentially a baked dough ball stuffed with mozzarella, parmesan or a mix of both. The contrast between the crunchy exterior and gooey centre never fails to hit the spot. Locals often cut it open and add a knob of butter or requeijão (Brazilian cream cheese) to the centre – because why not?
There’s steak, and then there’s picanha. Cut from the rump cap, this cut isn't widely known outside of Brazil, but there’s no going back once you take a bite. It’s grilled over hot coals and cut into small strips to share with friends. Wash it down with a caipirinha for the full Brazilian experience.
This scrumptious chocolatey treat is one of Brazil’s most beloved sweets. It's made with only three ingredients – condensed milk, butter and chocolate – which are heated and whisked together until smooth. The mixture is then left to cool and rolled into bite-sized balls.
Acarajé is one of the most popular snacks in Bahia. It's made by deep-frying balls of creamy black bean paste, cutting them open and then stuffing them with vatapá, grilled prawns and salad. The best acarajés come from local street vendors. Trust us when we say it’ll be love at first bite.
Japan might be the OG of sushi, but Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan and you’ll find heaps of incredible Japanese restaurants, particularly in Sao Paolo. Brazilian sushi is quite different to traditional sushi and includes generous amounts of cream cheese, batter and tropical fruits. The hot roll (sushi rolls deep-fried with breadcrumbs) is huge in Brazil, as are deep-fried fruit rolls drizzled with chocolate sauce.
Hailing from Sao Paolo, coxinha is a deep-fried, teardrop-shaped croquette filled with shredded chicken and cream cheese. Other popular fillings include beef, fish and creamy mushroom. Eat coxinha plain or with a dipping sauce like mayo, chimichurri or ketchup.
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