10 best dishes to try when traveling to Brazil

One of the best parts of traveling abroad is trying new dishes. There is nothing better than sitting in a restaurant and browsing through the menu. We find it very exciting and always order too much to be honest, don’t you? We search beforehand, what are the best dishes in the specific country and try to eat them all. It is also good to ask some locals to tell you what you should eat during your stay in their hometowns.

As we are here to help you organize your stay in Brazil (and we are those locals :)) you do not have to google the best dishes in Brazil. We will write them down for you. Enjoy your stay in Brazil and bon appetit.

Moqueca

 

This dish comes from the state of Bahia, which is located in the Brazilian Nordeste (in the North East). It is famous for its beautiful beaches and it is a favorite vacation destination for both Brazilians and many Europeans and Americans. 

The dish came to Brazil with African slaves. Moqueca can be prepared from fish, shrimps or a mixture of both. The seafood is dipped in a sauce based on palm oil ‘dendê’ (widely used in the state of Bahia), coconut milk and onions, tomatoes and peppers. We love this amazing mixture of flavors and often cook it at home as it is really easy to make. 

Feijoada

 

This delicious bean stew with beef or pork is our national dish. The name feijoada comes from the Portuguese word feijão meaning beans. The dish comes from Portugal, which being a colonial country for many centuries, has spread its culinary tradition all over the world. However, in Brazil, feijoada has become a national dish. How did it happen and what is the story behind it?

The legend says that the poor slaves needed nutritious and cheap food, which is why they mixed meat leftovers with protein-rich beans. Nowadays it sounds terrible, but slaves only got meat that was not eaten by their masters. So they only had ears and pigtails left.

 

Modern researchers, however, consider this story untrue. It is much more likely that the creation of feijoada is associated with the cultivation of beans in Brazil. Due to the low cost of production and the ease of growing this legume, bean grains have become the primary food product for European settlers. It was the wealthier inhabitants of Brazil at that time who ate a dish similar to modern feijoada because they had access to expensive meat. In contrast, poor settlers mixed beans with cassava flour.

Brazilian feijoada is prepared from black beans and salted pieces of pork or beef. In some regions of the country, smoked sausage is added to it. In regions of north-eastern Brazil, such as Bahia and Sergipe, cabbage, kale, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and even bananas are added to the dish at the end of the preparation.

 

Ready feijoada is served with white rice and oranges. A common addition to the dish is also chopped greens and manioc flour.

Vatapá

 

Vatapa is a time-consuming dish and therefore it is eaten rather on holidays. It consists of shrimps or other fresh or dried crustaceans, nuts, palm oil and vegetables which are enriched with bread, coconut milk and greens. The vatapa consistency resembles soup-cream as the long-cooked ingredients create the tasty puree. You can buy acarajé which is filled with vatapa at the street stands.

Tucupi

 

Tucupi is a sauce made from cassava root. It is characterized by intense yellow color and a long preparation process due to the poisonous cyanide present in the juice, which disappears after properly cooking the sauce.

It is often served with fish and duck dishes, but can also be used as a base for various soups.

Coxinha 

 

Coxinha is a popular delicacy served in pubs, as street food and everywhere as we love it. Coxinha consists of shredded pieces of chicken with various additions (e.g. cream cheese) which are enclosed in dough-based on broth and then deep-fried. Coxinhas are often served in the shape of small thighs (hence the name). Yummy!

Brigadeiro

 

This delicious chocolate-milk cake was created in 1940 in honor of Eduardo Gomes, a Brazilian politician, and soldier – “Foreman alias Brigadeiro” – his nickname became the name for the cake. 

 

Brigadeiros are probably the most known and liked sweets of every Brazilian. They are sweet, intensely chocolate, energizing and instantly raising blood sugar levels. Their main ingredients are chocolate, condensed milk, butter, cocoa and chocolate sprinkles for decoration. You have to try them. Yummy!

Acarajé

 

If you plan to visit Bahia, you have to try acarajé. Those bean chops (feijão-fradinho) with onion and salt are deep-fried in dendê palm oil. They are filled with vegetables or shrimps, depending on your preferences. If on a hot afternoon you see traditionally dressed bahianas on the street, frying something in a deep pan, this is how acarajé is made.

Feijão tropeiro

 

You will find this traditional dish in the state of Minas Gerais. It is a dish invented by cattle rangers (tropeiros) during the Brazilian Colonial period. It consists of beans cooked with salted or dried meat, cassava flour, various herbs, and vegetables.

Açaí

 

If you take care of your health and like discovering new recipes which are not only tasty but also very healthy, you have to try açaí.

Ripe açaí fruits have a dark purple color and look a bit like American blueberry. They grow on one of the world’s most fertile soils and that is why they are packed with nutrients. In the açaí berry pulp, you will find a huge dose of antioxidants, phytosterols, as well as mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids – omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9. The fruits also contain vitamins A, C, and B (B1, B2, B3). What is more, açaí berries are a rich source of fiber and minerals such as potassium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium.

In Brazil, you can try the so-called açaí na tigela. It is a frozen açaí mousse with guarana syrup, sprinkled with granola or muesli. It is usually served with bananas or other fruits.

Creme de cupuaçu

Cupuaçu is a fruit that tastes both sour and bitter-sweet. Therefore, in the north, it is used in both savory and sweet recipes. It can be used in cakes or just as ice-cream (when you put it in the freezer, it looks and tastes like ice-cream).

This is what traveling is about – an amazing experience of getting to know new food and flavors. We hope that you will find this list of the best Brazilian dishes useful. Enjoy 🙂