The typical foods of Brazil are a mixture of influences stemming from Africa, India and Portugal. Although you can now find restaurants with specialties from around the world, in this article we want to focus on the food that best represents the identity of Brazilians, which is to say, the dishes that you must try when you visit Rio de Janeiro.
This is usually made on Saturdays. It consists of black beans (feijão, hence the name of the dish) and white rice, foods which make up the base of the Brazilian food pyramid. They also add pork, usually bacon, cooked ground meat and / or sausage. Some people choose to add green cauliflower and there’s always a bit of orange. It is accompanied by another classic of Brazilian cuisine: the farofa, manioc (cassava) flour which is toasted and seasoned in various ways.
Churrasco, contrary to what you may think, doesn’t refer to a specific type of meat but rather any grilled meat. Barbecue joints are popular in Rio and they offer any type of grilled meat from chicken and pork to boar or even alligator! Salad or rice are served with the meat.
Leão Veloso Soup
This dish represents the abundance of good times, since it is a fish soup studded with quality seafood. The broth is made from shrimp heads and meaty fish, and the soups contains shellfish like lobster and shrimp as well as fried onion, tomato and saffron. If you want to try this soup, look for it in the best restaurants.
File a Osvaldo Aranha
By now you may have noticed that in Rio they like to give their dishes crazy names. This is because are named after people. In this case, Osvaldo Aranha was a politician of the 1930s. This dish consists of a steak garnished with yuca, white rice and fried garlic.
This dish consists of donuts made from black bean paste and stuffed with vatapá (vatapá is a sauce made with flour, peanuts, ginger, pepper, palm oil, coconut milk and onion).
This dish, which you will easily find in restaurants, is made of chopped crab meat served in its own shell with green sauce. It’s really quite good.
And finally, we should talk about juices, which are an important part of Brazilian cuisine. If there’s one thing of abundance in Brazil, it’s the tropical fruit. You’ll find plenty of “juice houses” in Rio de Janeiro where they serve freshly squeezed fruit juices. You can also sample cocktails (which are healthy and full of vitamins) like coconut milk, guarana or guava juice.
The Rio dessert par excellence is the ambrosia, which is made from melon and fresh grated coconut as well as any other fruits you wish to add.
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