South America’s largest country, Brazil, has a rich and vibrant culture stretching from the beautiful golden coast of Rio de Janeiro to deep within the Amazon Jungle.
Brazilian food is as interesting and lively as Rio de Janeiro on Carnival day!
With influences from the native Indian, Portuguese, African, Middle-Eastern and Japanese communities in Brazil the samba rhythm of Brazil has added flair and flavors to explore. In spite of this exciting and lively melting pot of cultures that has made Brazil into the energetic and flamboyant country it is today, you will almost always find your food is garnished or made with the staple ingredient of manioc or yucca! Enjoy our whirlwind tour around the beautiful country of Brazil as we explore all the flavors, cultural roots and the best of Brazilian food!
The Jungle of Northern Brazil
The Northern region of Brazil perhaps demonstrates the very beginning of Brazilian food, with the biggest influence coming from the native Indians. With their culture, traditions and cooking methods safeguarded from exterior influences by the surrounding Amazon Jungle, the north of Brazil provides a unique insight into the indigenous population of Brazil.
From guarana to the superfood, acai berry, the Amazon and northern region of Brazil can be characterized as being the home of exotic, mouth-watering fruits!
Don’t worry if you don’t have the chance or time to head into the Amazon Rainforest to try these delicious fruits as you can try most of them on the beaches of Rio at the many fresh juice and smoothie bars! While exploring the northern region of Brazil and the Amazon, make sure not to leave without having tried the Amazon-specific fish of Surubim which can grow to 80 pounds and is often grilled and served with rice and pirão (made from manioc flour).
Exploring the Bahia of Northeast Brazil
Further east from the fresh fruit region of the Brazilian Amazon you will find the picturesque region of Salvador de Bahia. As the home of sugarcane plantations, this region saw a great influence from the African slaves who were brought to Brazil in the 1500s. The seafood dish of moqueca meaning ‘stew’ is the most popular dish of the northeast of Brazil which features the ever present ingredient of coconut milk.
As one of Brazil’s most important and popular regional cuisines you will often find dishes from Bahia and northeast Brazil on menus across Brazil and the world.
The city of Salvador de Bahia which is also one of the most popular travel destinations in Brazil and is the best place to try the signature African infused cuisine and soak up the culture of northeast Brazil.
Eating your way through the Pantanal of central-west Brazil
The great Pantanal of Brazil is extremely similar to the Amazon Jungle in the way that the culture and cuisine was protected from outside influences due to the wildness of its surroundings. It wasn’t until Brasilia became the capital in the 1950s that the food from this region became more recognized.
The Pantanal in Brazil has one of the finest examples of game and fish not just in Brazil but in the world!
From eating your way through the wide variety of river fish, carne seca (dried meat) and the starchy yet delicious banana da terra plantains; the wild Pantanal is the best place to enjoy the natural ingredients of Brazil! An unforgettable and unique travel and culinary experience to have in the Pantanal is to go piranha fishing, which as you can see in the video below is a definite Brazilian highlight!
The golden coast of Rio in Southeast Brazil
Walking along the beautiful beaches of Rio de Janeiro while sipping the refreshing milk from your coconut and staring at the incredible scenery around you is certainly an experience you will not want to miss! Although many say that Rio doesn’t have exotic dishes similar to the rest of Brazil, you will be able to find traditional, homely comfort foods.
The true Rio experience is to sit at a beachside restaurant enjoying the spectacular sunset whilst indulging yourself in the long list of salgadinhos (finger food) such as fried cod cakes and washing it all down with a nice cold Brazilian beer or caipirinha!
If you are looking for something a bit more substantial, try a traditional Feijoada Carioca. This delicious bean stew which is usually served with white rice and farofa is made with different cuts of meat from pig’s ear and feet to beef, and is certain to fill and satisfy those hunger pains!
Saddle up in Southern Brazil
The type of Brazilian food you will most familiar with is from the south of Brazil in the gaucho filled region of Rio Grande. Similar to the Argentine Pampa, you will find Brazilian cowboys tending to their adored Churrascarias which is the essential Brazilian barbeque featuring the many cuts of meat being marinated in plain rock salt, Cognac or cachaça.
The delicious Brazilian meats are served with homemade salsas and be warned…lots and lots of cachaça and beer!
Along with the traditional Brazilian barbeque, Paraná and Santa Catarina saw the arrival of the immigrants coming to Brazil and therefore you can find German, Italian, Eastern European, Middle Eastern and Japanese influences in the dishes throughout this region. The melting pot of Brazilian culture is certainly evident in this beautiful region of Brazil.
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