Trying the local dishes is one of the best ways to experience a new country. And some countries have a long, delicious list of delicacies that leave you mouth-watering – that is the case of Brazil. Traditionally a country of immigrants, the local cuisine reflects its history and borrows elements from Europe and Africa, blending them with the indigenous traditions. Here is a list of the local foods and drinks you need to try on next trip to Brazil.
One of the most popular fast food items in Brazil! Literally, the name means “little tight” and it consists of shredded chicken meat mixed with herbs and creamy cheese wrapped in a dough in a shape of a chicken leg. The ensemble is battered and fried, resembling a nugget. Brazilians eat coxinhas at any time of the day and this is one of their most famous dishes, by far.
Pão de Queijo
Most of the world likes bread and cheese. However, the Brazilians take it to the next level. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, Pão de Queijo consists of small balls of goodness made with eggs, grated Minas cheese (typical from the Minas region in Brazil) and cassava flour, making it gluten-free.
Quintessentially Brazilian, farofa consists of fried cassava flour that can be enriched with small pieces of bacon or egg. It is served sprinkled over rice and beans (which are part of almost every Brazilian meal) and the average Brazilian cooks farofa at home on a regular basis.
A dish that is eaten throughout the whole country, feijoada is a hearty stew of black beans, sausages and cuts of pork. They serve it with rice, kale, orange slices and farofa on the side. Leave this dish for a time you are very hungry, as it is quite filling. And eat it like a typical Brazilian: slowly, enjoying it as part of leisure time with family and friends.
Moqueca de Camarão
This dish is typical from the region of Bahia but loved throughout the country. It is a sort of fish stew with prawns, coconut oil and milk, and vegetables. The delicious taste comes from the way it is cooked: slowly, in a terra cotta casserole. You can accompany it with rice and farofa.
Barbecue-style steakhouses, or“churrascarias” in Brazil, are heaven for meat lovers. The portions are huge, and the meat is extremely varied and, normally, of very high quality. The most typical meat is the “picanha” and you will definitely want to try it if you visit Brazil. Other meats include sausages, pork, lamb, wild boar and chicken hearts. Brazilians love their barbecue and usually enjoy it at a leisurely pace.
Think of french fries reinvented. These chunks of fried cassava are crispy, delicious and extremely popular in Brazil. You can eat them guilty-free: they’re a healthier option than regular french fries.
Romeu e Julieta
Incredibly simple but super delicious. It consists of guava paste and white cheese stacked on top of each other, a bit like a finger sandwich. You can eat it just like that or as part of cakes and pies.
You only need a few ingredients to make this typical dessert: sugar, egg yolks and ground coconut. It stands in the intersection of the influence from Portugal (that has many sweets with egg yolks) and from the African slaves’ cuisine, which had large quantities of coconut and sugar available. Quindim is either made in individual servings or in a large ring mold and served in slides.
This dessert is pure heaven. Small sweet balls that give you an instant sugar high but will always leave you wanting another one. Very easy to make, the brigadeiro has only four ingredients: cocoa powder, butter, condensed milk and chocolate sprinkles. The traditional one is the milk chocolate version, but you can find some with white chocolate too.
This superfood berry originates in the Amazonia and you can find it everywhere in Brazil but mostly in the coastal areas. It’s a great source of energy and you can eat it in several ways. The yummiest one? An açaí bowl! Add some banana, granola and nuts on top of it and you have the perfect healthy meal to replenish your energies. You can also try it on its own, in smoothies, juices or… in vodka and beer!
This is Brazil’s national spirit. Invented in the 1500s, it is made from fermented sugarcane juice. Brazilians have it simple or mix it in cocktails, like the typical caipirinha. Cachaça has between 38% and 48% alcohol. If you go too heavy on the cachaça, then try to hydrate yourself with some água de coco (coconut water), available everywhere in Brazil.