Food is probably one of the best ways of experiencing different cultures. In times when travelling is not possible or even safe, cooking can be a way of finding solace and keeping our wanderlust and curiosity alive. How awesome is that? We hope you are hungry – if not, you are about to be! Check out the very best of Brazilian food below:
Do you like carbs? What about fried food? What about a delicious mix of chicken and tomato sauce, sometimes even a bit on the spicy side? We hope we’ve got your mouth watering already. Coxinhas are a very popular Brazilian snack, often found at children’s parties or cafés. This cone-shaped potato dough – the literal translation of its name is ‘little chicken thigh’ – is filled with cooked chicken breast in a tomato sauce, then deep-fried for a crispy texture. It’s impossible to go wrong! The best serving suggestion is with a bit of chilli sauce and a cold drink. Yum!
Are you a cheese lover? Good. Pão de queijo, which translates as cheese bread, are not actually what they seem to be. To start with, these cheese balls are gluten-free since they are made with a traditional type of cassava flour – completely wheat-free! Secondly, their dough is usually airy and light, unlike any type of bread you have ever tasted. The cheese is also very mild, adding a healthy savoury flavour but not a crazy amount of grease. The reason? These Brazilian snacks are made with cured cheese that contains a higher protein to fat ratio. But here is the most important fun fact for you: they are delicious and almost addictive.
Brigadeiro was a recipe created by a woman named Heloísa Nabuco de Oliveira in 1946. This sweet was linked to the presidential campaign of Brigadier Eduardo Gomes – where it got its own name from. He lost the campaign, but the real winners were the Brazilian people, who got a new delicacy made from condensed milk, butter, and chocolate. After cooled, they are rolled in chocolate sprinkles and served in individual portions. These are a must at any birthday party, no matter how old the birthday person is! They are also sold in cafés and restaurants – in bigger portions – as a common dessert. If only Mrs de Oliveira knew how many lives she would change when she first created a brigadeiro…
If we had to choose one single street-food to eat for the rest of our lives, it would probably be acarajé. This Brazilian food is traditionally found in the north-eastern state of Bahia, in the city of Salvador. It’s nothing like you have ever tasted before: a crispy dough made from mashed black-eyed beans, fried in palm oil and then filled with two other north-eastern specialities: vatapá and caruru, two types of pastes made with ground cashews, dried shrimp, green tomatoes and hot chillies. Not only acarajé is one of the most delicious Brazilian delicacies out there, but it’s also listed as a federal immaterial asset by the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage in 2004. History and deliciousness!
Made with only three ingredients – ground peanuts, salt, and sugar – paçoca is a Brazilian candy loved by children and adults alike. They are often sold by the unit in cafés and supermarkets. A bit like peanut butter in taste, their texture is actually powdered instead of creamy, as the ingredients are pressed together in a cork or square shape. Paçocas can be a bit messy to eat, but absolutely delicious – especially if you are a fan of the sweet-salty combination. Let us know if you can eat only one single serving of this Brazilian food!
How can we begin to explain this peculiar Brazilian fast-food? They are usually sold during feiras – a mix of farmers’ market and flea market found during weekdays and weekends on many Brazilian cities. The dough is thin and crispy, with a wide arrange of possible fillings, including mincemeat with olives, hearts of palm cooked in tomato sauce, chicken and cream cheese, and many more. Pastéis (the plural!) are fried in vegetable oil, which gives them a particular type of blistered-crust. Although savoury fillings are the more traditional, sweet fillings are also popular, such as guava paste and cured cheese, banana, and even brigadeiro. Its origins remain obscure, but legend goes that Japanese immigrants create this now Brazilian food by trying to adapt a Chinese fried dish.
We hope you haven’t drooled on your phone or laptop by reading these Brazilian food descriptions! You will also find many interesting takes on food by people from around the world here. Have you had the chance to try any of them? If so, which one was your favourite? Which one are you looking forward to trying the most? Tell us in the comments and share it to make your friends hungry too!