5 Brazilian foods you need in your mouth!
Brazil is full of amazing food. If you are coming to São Paulo, then some of the classics like feijoada and pastels are probably already on your radar. But, here a few more classics that you have to try on your next trip to Brazil.
Pão de Queijo:
Cheese bread! Need I say more? Bread…with cheese inside! And, yes, they are awesome!
These tasty little rolls are typically eaten for breakfast with a cup of pingado (coffee with milk) and can be found in every padaria (Brazilian bakery) which are on almost every street corner. Instead of wheat, they are made with flour that comes from mandioca (yucca). Did I mention that there is cheese inside?!
Where to eat pão de queijo in São Paulo: Lá da Venda
Bolinho de Bacalhau:
Nothing goes better with an ice cold beer than some fresh fish cake.
“Fish?” You ask, disbelief glossing your eyes, your nose scrunched up like you just smelled a rancid fart.
Yes, fish! Cod to be specific, and as strange as it sounds, it really is quite amazing. It’s not sweet and doesn’t have frosting. It’s not even baked. Why it’s called a ‘little cake’ is beyond me. A better translation, and one that is often used, is codfish balls. But a mouthful of fish balls doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? (Do fish even have balls?)
To make these pastries, the codfish is first soaked to remove the salt, then mixed with a variety of seasoning, rolled into a cigar like shape, breaded, and deep fried. A crispy crust envelopes a creamy center that tastes like codfish heaven. Squeeze a bit of lime on your bolinho de bacaulau, pop it in your mouth, wash it down with some cold beer, and repeat the entire process until the smile on your face hurts your cheeks.
Where to eat bolinho de bacalhau in São Paulo: Dona Felicidade
Imagine fresh fish slowly simmering in a large pot of spices, onions, garlic, cilantro, and coconut cream. Can you smell it? Now wipe that drool off of your chin!
Moqueca, pronounced moe-KAY-kah, is a popular fish stew that originated from the north part of Brazil. Typically it is made with cod or other kinds of white fish, but every now and then you will stumble upon moqueca de camarão (shrimp), a treat that you can not miss out on. If you love your tummy, go to Meaipe in Pinheiros and fill it up with some of their Moqueca Capixaba, the best in São Paulo.
Where to eat Moqeuca in São Paulo: Meaipe
An oxtail stew made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and a truck load of Brazilian spices that will have your taste buds singing the country’s national anthem and applying for permanent resident visas.
Rabada can be found on the daily lunch menu at most botecos (Brazilian diners), but the best version of this dish can be found at Dalva e Dito, a restaurant owned by renowned chef Alex Atala. Just thinking about all the flavors inside one bite of that tender meat sets my tongue to wagging like an overly excited puppy.
Where to eat Rabada in São Paulo: Dalva e Dito
If you’ve ever had a bad acarajé, you know already that your palate will never forgive you. Never. At least not until you have a good one.
Acarajé, pronounced a-car-uh-jay, is a staple of the northeastern part of Brazil. Especially Bahia, where it has the same kind of significance that the hot dog has for New York. The problem is that tourists are often blindly led to random food carts where, more often than not, the quality of the product is questionable at best. My first experience with acarajé was so bad that it took me two days in the toilet to get over it, and several years before I was brave enough to try it again. I was much luckier the second time around.
The crispy fried bean batter stuffed with thick fish sauce and dried shrimp is so flavorful and rich that it demands to be savored. Chewed slowly. Each bite relished. Because when it’s done right, the acarajé is one of the best Brazilian foods you’ll ever put in your mouth.
Where to eat acarajé in São Paulo: Join our City of Contrasts Tour and eat the best Acarajé in São Paulo!