Known for geographic and cultural diversity, Brazil is somewhere that has culinary traditions that match those of any country. By combining this with the influences that have been part of the development of the country, each region has ingredients, flavors and staples to their diet.
Brazil is a large country with many different ethnic influences depending upon the region. In most meals, however, you will find rice and beans. Another very typical Brazilian food that is found in most meals is farofa. This is a flour made from manioc root and seasoned and sauteacute.
Similar to Argentina, there are grilled meats like grehlada or churrasco that are eaten regularly. Either pork, chicken or beef are the options. In the north, meat is commonly salted and dried, creating carne seca (dry meat). The national dish is called feijoada and is a stew made from meat and beans and served with farofa, rice, kale and orange. This dish was originally created by slaves to use the left over meat parts given to them by their masters.
African slaves also led to the creation of Bahian cuisine.
Among the specialties in this type of cooking is moqueca, a seafood stew made with spicy peppers, palm oil and coconut milk. On the street, one can purchase acaraje, fritters that are made from brown beans, shrimp, tomato and okra.
If you’re heading to the Amazon, there is a different type of fish stew called caldeirada. Pato no tucupi is another Amazonian dish that is a treat. This includes duck (pato), garlic, herbs, manioc juice and lemon juice.
Fruit juices and shakes are a specialty, featuring fruits from the jungle. It’s a treat to sample mango, passion fruit, guava and other varieties of fruit that are fresh in a way that you can’t find them outside of the country.
There is also the açai berry, now being marketed in many parts of the world as a superfood. Guarana, another local berry, is used as an energy stimulant. Coffee is very commonly drunk but is typically served with a lot of sugar so you need to ask for it without if that’s how you prefer it.
When it comes to alcohol, Brazil is a beer-drinking country. Due to German immigration, Brazil has had beer breweries since the early 1900s and is actually the 4th largest market for beer consumption in the world. Pilsen is the most common but you can get other darker varieties, and in some cases, find microbreweries. The national drink is the caipirinha which is made with an alcohol made from sugarcane called cachaça, aguardente or pinga. It’s made with sugar, crushed lime and ice.
A common restaurant style is called comida à quilo or comida por quilo where the food is served buffet style and you pay by the weight. There are other buffets that are all you can eat types where you pay a set price for the meal. Another common style is called rodízio where you pay a set price and the servers go from table to table with the food. This is particularly common in the barbecue restaurants called churrascarias.