Visiting Rio for the Olympics this summer? You must try some local dishes that really showcase the flavor and flair of this beautiful country. Here are some unique flavors and dishes that you should sample while there.
While the award for best barbecue in South America has been in hot contention for years between Brazil and Argentina, Rio certainly gives them a run for their money with large portions of beef at premium cuts. You’re most likely to see picanha (rump cap) seasoned with salt and grilled over charcoal or wood. If you visit someone’s home, you’ll most likely be treated to sausages, queijo coalho and chicken hearts; in barbecue-style steak houses, called churrascarías, you’ll be able to order able anything from pork to lamb to wild boar. The waiters even slice up your meat at your table while you watch. Other good dishes to try include Frango churrasco (grilled lemon and garlic chicken) and oregano cheese skewers.
Here in Rio, fish stew is known as Moqueca, usually served in a hot clay pot filled to the brim with stewed fish, diced tomatoes, onions and coriander. Depending on the origin of the stew, you may get the addition of annatto seeds, or palm oil, coconut milk and peppers. Moqueca is paired with rice, farofa, and pirão – a flour fish porridge.
Pão de Queijo
This is a simple cheese and bread dish that couples Brazil’s two favorite foods. It’s a snack served before the main meal, similar to the bread baskets we are served here in America when we sit down at a restaurant – except this cheese bread is light years better. You may even see it served at breakfast, it’s that flavorful and light. These gluten-free bread balls are crispy outside and soft inside, crafted from tapioca flour, eggs and grated cow’s milk cheese.
Known as Brigadeiros, these are easy to make and are found at all sorts of parties – even children’s parties! They are created from simmering a blend of condensed milk and cocoa powder, which are whisked with butter and shaped into balls. This to-die-for concoction is then rolled in yummy chocolate sprinkles. If you really have a sweet tooth, you’ll love this dessert.
Black Bean Stew
Feijoada is a dish beloved by many all across Brazil for its hearty mix of black beans, sausages and pork. This is a traditional dish that takes up to a day to make, so patience is definitely one of the ingredients. It’s typically eaten at restaurants on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with side servings of rice, kale, orange slices, farofa and pork scratchings, with cachaça (made from sugarcane juice) to wash it all down.
Hungry yet? To help you further prepare for your trip to Rio, BRIC Language Systems can assist you in learning Brazilian Portuguese online from teachers based in Brazil.