Brazil is a rich and tantalising recipe of colourful cities, awesome beaches, wild rainforests and authentic cuisine. Food is a treasured part of Brazilian culture and the restaurant scene here is booming. To find out more, we ask Carolina Hue, a member of the Kuoni team in Brazil, to take us through her top 10 must-try local dishes – from black-eyed-pea fritters and deep-fried pies to tempting chocolate truffles…

Dish 1: Feijoada (bean and meat stew)

Where are you likely to find it?

It’s available in all areas of Brazil. Local restaurants usually serve it on Saturdays as the ‘dish of the day’. In Brazilian barbecue restaurants, feijoada is also often included in the Saturday buffet, together with salads and side dishes.

What’s the dish made from and how is it cooked?

Pork, beef and sausages are cooked in a black bean stew and served with rice, toasted manioc flour, sliced oranges and sautéed kale.

Why do you like it?

Brazilians have a tradition to eat rice and beans everyday as part of our main meal. For me, it’s one of the dishes I really miss when I travel abroad. It makes me think of home.

Feijoada

Dish 2: Pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread)

Where are you likely to find it?

Pão de queijo originated in the state of Minas, but it can be found all over Brazil, in coffee
shops, airports and restaurants, where it’s usually served before a main meal.

What’s the dish made from and how is it cooked?

It’s a savoury dough made with tapioca flour, eggs, oil and cured Brazilian cheese, then rolled into small balls and baked until golden. The texture should be fluffy inside and have a good crust on the outside.

Why do you like it?

There’s nothing better than a combination of fresh coffee and pão de queijo for a great afternoon snack.

Pão de queijo

Dish 3: Brigadeiro (chocolate truffle)

Where are you likely to find it?

They’re very popular at birthday parties. You can buy them in cake shops and bakeries all around Brazil.

What’s the dish made from and how is it cooked?

Brigadeiro is just butter, condensed milk and cocoa powder – it’s really easy to make. You heat the ingredients in a saucepan until the mixture starts to pull away from the bottom, chill it for a couple of hours, then roll it into little balls. You can also add chocolate sprinkles.

Why do you like it?

Brigadeiro always takes me back to my childhood, and reminds me of celebrations and birthday parties.

Brigadeiro

Dish 4: Bobo de camarão (creamy prawn chowder)

Where are you likely to find it?

Bobo de camarão is a dish from the northeast of Brazil, but you can order it at most seafood restaurants around the country.

What’s the dish made from and how is it cooked?

It’s a hearty stew made with prawns and cooked in coconut milk, ginger, herbs and dendê palm oil.

Why do you like it?

I love everything about bobo de camarão – the smell, the texture, the flavour. It’s out-of-this-world.

Bobo de camarão

Dish 5: Tapioca crepes (Brazilian crepe-like pancakes)

Where are you likely to find it?

Tapioca crepes are almost always served as part of a buffet breakfast in the hotels across Brazil. They usually come with fillings like cheese, ham or scrambled eggs.

What’s the dish made from and how is it cooked?

Grains of coarse tapioca flour are sprinkled over a hot griddle, creating a pancake-like shape, which is folded over and stuffed with savoury meats and cheeses, or sweet flavours such as banana, coconut and chocolate.

Why do you like it?

Tapioca crepes are one of those things that are typically Brazilian, and they remind me of my breakfast routine at home. They’re also gluten free.

Tapioca crepes

Dish 6: Acarajé (black-eyed-pea fritters)

Where are you likely to find it?

Acarajé is a popular street food in Bahia. This dish is a guilty pleasure for me, as it’s very
calorific – but so delicious.

What’s the dish made from and how is it cooked?

It’s a bun made of black-eyed-pea dough, which is deep fried in red dendê palm oil and stuffed with tomatoes, sun-dried prawns, a spicy paste of peanuts and cashew nuts, hot sauce, and caruru (stewed okra).

Why do you like it?

I get one every time I visit Bahia – it’s the flavour of one of my favourite states in Brazil. And the Baianas (the women that sell the Afro-Brazilian snack in the street markets here) are incredibly charismatic.

Acarajé

Dish 7: Pastel (deep-fried pies)

Where are you likely to find it?

It is traditionally sold on the streets, in open-air marketplaces, bars, and also in fast-food shops known as pastelarias.

What’s the dish made from and how is it cooked?

A pastel is a thin and crispy pie, shaped into a semicircle and packed with tasty fillings such as beef, prawns and cream cheese.

Why do you like it?

Pastéis are amazing on a hot summer night, especially with a cold draft beer. They also go well with sugarcane juice, which you can find in open markets.

Pastel

Dish 8: Açai (fruit smoothie)

Where are you likely to find it?

You can usually pick up a glass or bowl of açai in juice shops, beach kiosks and natural food restaurants.

What’s the dish made from and how is it cooked?

Açai is a dark purple berry grown on the açaizeiro palm tree and used in both sweet and savoury recipes. It’s famous all over the world for its health benefits. When served sweet, açai is mixed with guaraná syrup, other local fruit, and drank or eaten cold.

Why do you like it?

Like a hot chocolate after skiing, in Brazil, açai is what you drink after a day on the beach. It’s so refreshing.

Açai

Dish 9: Churrasco (barbecued meat)

Where are you likely to find it?

It’s everywhere in Brazil. ‘Churrascaria’ is the name of local restaurants that specialise in this cooking style. Most people go for the freshly-grilled meat, but churrascarias also have fantastic buffet salads and vegetarian options, too.

What’s the dish made from and how is it cooked?

These days, the Brazilian churrasco is associated with the all-you-can-eat barbecue restaurants now found all over the world, but the origins of this style of meat preparation came from the cattle ranches where meat was roasted near an open fire.

Why do you like it?

A churrasco is a very social occasion where family and friends get together to enjoy great food. It’s very Brazilian.

Churrasco

Dish 10: Cocada de quindim (baked custard dessert)

Where are you likely to find it?

Cocada de quindim is a popular dessert in the northeast of Brazil.

What’s the dish made from and how is it cooked?

It’s made with shredded coconut, which is sometimes toasted, then cooked with sugar and egg yolks.

Why do you like it?

It’s coconut and sugar, what’s not to like! It is as sweet as can be, so a bottle of water is always needed after a cocada.

Cocada de quindim

Inspired?


We’re the experts in creating luxury tailor-made holidays, and have travelled all over Brazil to hand-pick the finest hotels, small group tours and experiences to share with you. Our Latin America brochure is packed full of ideas, so have a browse and when you’re ready to chat to someone who’s been there, search for one of our Brazil experts or book an appointment in your local Kuoni store.

This feature was published on 5 October 2018. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print.

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