Brazil is a very diverse country, and this also reflects on its culinary scene. African, European and Indian influences are melting together with the native foods to create some delicious and unique dishes:
Pão de Queijo
Pão de Queijo originates from the southern region of Minas Gerais, and it’s a type of cheese bread, made from tapioca flour and Minas cheese. Usually, Pão de queijo is a breakfast item, but also a snack Brazilians have through the day. You can find them in every bakery at every corner in Rio de Janeiro, but for the best Pão de Queijo, go to Casa do Pão de Queijo.
Pao de Queijo from Explorepartsunknown.com
This is the national dish of Brazil, from north to south: a hearty pork stew, cooked with black beans (feijão), rice, collard greens or kale, orange slices and farofa (manioc flour). It takes 24 hours to be properly cooked, but the result is worth the effort. Traditionally, Brazilians eat Feijoada only on Saturdays or on special occasions, but lately, you can spot this dish in many restaurants in Rio on every day of the week. Casa da Feijoada is one of the most famous places in Rio where you can have this Brazilian staple.
Feijoada from Foodtolove
You can’t go to Brazil and not have at least one Caipirinha! In Rio de Janeiro, there are Caipirinhas everywhere: in bars, cafes, restaurants, on the beach. And even at the corner of the streets, you can spot some improvised counters where locals make their Caipirinha.
Caipirinha is Brazil’s signature cocktail, made with cachaça (sugarcane liquor), lime and sugar. Caipifruta is a variation of Caipirinha, with crushed fresh fruits – passion fruit, strawberries, and kiwi.
The history of this drink dates from 1918: Caipirinha was a mixture of alcohol, lime, honey, and garlic, used as a medicine for the Spanish flu. Later, the garlic and honey were removed, ice was added, and a legendary cocktail was born!
Caipirinha from Haveacocktail
The round and full of chocolate dessert is a quintessential part of the Brazilian gastronomy. And, like many others iconic dishes do, Brigadiero has its story: in the 1940s, in the middle of the election campaign for Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, his supporters were looking for a new product that could be sold along with the electoral merchandise. They thought about a dessert, but it was a time of restrictions, after the war, and not so much fresh milk was on the market. So they used condensed milk and other four ingredients (cocoa, butter, vanilla, and chocolate sprinkles) to make the round sweet that was a success and remained in the history as “the candy of the Brigadeiro.”
Today, Brigadeiros are made in every Brazilian home, in more than 50 variations.
Brigadeiros from Food & Wine
Coxinhas (“little thigh”) are crunchy croquettes, made with shredded chicken, mashed potatoes, and catupiry, a type of cream cheese, coated in golden breadcrumbs. They have the shape of a teardrop or a chicken thigh (the main ingredient used). The story behind Coxinhas dates back in the 19th century. In the small town Limeira, near Sao Paolo, the son of Queen Isabel of Brazil, wouldn’t eat anything else except chicken thighs. But one day, the imperial cook run out of chicken thighs, but still had enough chicken meat, so she decided to make up something to resemble a chicken thigh. So she mixed some dough, shredded chicken, cheese, and potatoes, and shaped small croquettes in the shape of a drumstick. The little prince loved his new “chicken thigh,” and this is how a new traditional dish was born.
Coxinhas from Brazilianchef
Vitaminas are fruit juices mixed with milk, with the consistency of a smoothie. You can find them at juice bars, all over Rio. For Cariocas (residents of Rio), stopping at a juice bar for a healthy Vitamina and a snack is an everyday norm.
There are so many types of Vitaminas as the types of fruit are available on that day: Pineapple, Coconut, Melon, Guava, Avocado, Banana, Strawberry, Acai, Berries, Maracuja.
Vitamina de Fruta from Saborbrasil
Fried sardines with lime
Fried sardines are a simple but delicious dish you can find in small restaurants or on the beach. The sardines are served fried or grilled, with salt and a dash of lime.
Tapioca is a flour made from the manioc root, cooked like a pancake and served with different fillings. It originates from the North of Brazil, and it’s a popular street food and a healthy alternative to bread. Tapioca pancakes are usually sold in mobile stalls, with salty or sweet fillings: ham and cheese, condensed milk, coconut, chocolate.
Tapioca Pancakes from The Spruce Eats
Continue reading: TRADITIONAL FOODS & DRINKS IN RIO DE JANEIRO