Brazilian beaches make for a pretty sight. And it’s more than the sun and sand, if you know what I mean (wink). But the food table in Brazil offers equally tempting sights. Dishes in Brazil are varied due to African & Portuguese influence.
The hero of Brazilian cuisine is ‘Feijoada’ considered the country’s national dish. Most Brazilian’s swear by it, and some don’t remember a single day when they have missed the flavorful stew of lentils, pork and beef. However, Brazil has many more dishes to offer beyond this famous stew. Here are seven dishes I will go back to Brazil for.
Brazilian breakfast is usually light as lunch is the main meal for most Brasileros. But that does not mean that it is not delicious. Quite the contrary, actually. One of my personal favourites is Tapioca, which are crepes made out of Tapioca flour. These thick, crumbly and supremely delicious crepes are served with cheese and doce de leite(creamy caramel sauce).
These crepes are also available through the day with a variety of fillings like chocolate, cream, coconut cream and others.
This dish traveled from Northern Africa through the slave trade to Brazil. This dish is very famous in the north eastern part of the country and is usually served for breakfast. Cuscuz is made of cornmeal, which is then steamed and served with butter and sometimes sugar.
It is light, fluffy and a lovely start to the day.
This one of up is right up there in the list of my Brazilian favourites. After a swim, nothing can beat the taste of spicy Moqueca with rice. This stewy delight is made with onions, tomatoes, salt water fish, shrimps all cooked with coconut milk.
Heavenly, is a pretty apt word to describe the resultant stew. They say that the best Moqueca to be had is in the island of Itaparica just off the coastal city of Salvador in north eastern Brazil.
This is another hot favourite of Baianos(people from the north-eastern state of Bahia). Made with okra, onions, shrimps, palm oil and toasted nuts, it is a popular dish in Candomble and Umbanda festas(Afro-Brazilian religions).
Caruru also becomes a part of a snack called Acaraje which is next up on this post.
Image credit: Fiesta Hotels Brazil
This dish will always hold a special place in my memories. I was learning to play drums in Salvador as a part of the 12 challenges I was taking around the world. Back then every evening I would have this filling snack for dinner from a stall. Even thinking about Acaraje makes me long for those days.
But Acaraje serves more than just nostalgia. It is a mish-mash of vegetables, dried shrimps, vatapa and caruru, all packed into a thick fritter made of black eyed peas. Some say it is an acquired taste, but for me it was love at first bite. And, though sipping beer with your Acaraje is not really a thing in Salvador, I found the combination to be pure joy.
Pizza at ‘Restaurante Seara’ in Salvador, Brazil.
Brazilians have this unique ability to take anything and make it their own. Take their pizza for instance, apart from their wide range of savoury toppings, they do sweet pizzas. Yes, sweet pizzas!
The best known sweet toppings are Banana com Canela(Banana with Cinnamon), Brigadeiro(mixture of sweetened condensed milk and chocolate powder) and Romeu e Julieta(guava marmalade and white cheese). When I was first told about this, I wasn’t sure if sweet pizzas were a good idea. But after eating at my friend Brene’s ‘Restaurante Seara’, I have changed my opinion forever.
Some non-Brazilians refer to this as Acai bowl. But during my stay in Brazil, I don’t remember locals calling it anything but Acai. This thick smoothie made from Acai berries from the Amazon is a health kick starter. These berries are known for being anti-oxidants and wildly delicious.
At any local juice joint in Rio, you can ask for bowl of Acai and top it up with mouth watering condiments. It is one of the few dishes that fills you up, is delicious and yet only good for you body.
So these were my top seven picks for dishes from Brazil beyond the Feijoada. There are many more delicacies in the melting pot called Brazil. So get there soon, even if food is the only reason.
Hope you liked the post, if you have any favourite Brazilian dishes, share with us in the comments. Also, feel free to ask us questions about food or Brazil in general and we will be happy to answer 🙂
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