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Brazil Food and Drink

Reflecting Brazil’s rich cultural melting pot, its cuisine is similarly diverse and flavoursome. Standards are generally very high, and there are dishes to cater for all tastes and appetites (huge portions in restaurants can usually feed two). European, North American, African, Middle Eastern and Asian foods are widely available in resorts and main cities.

The fruits and plants of the Amazon are widely available, such as the açai berry, served in cafes as a refreshing cool smoothie. Unsurprisingly for a country with a huge coastline and many rivers, fish and seafood are plentiful. Brazil’s African roots are strongest in the northeast, which specialises in spicy seafood stews, enriched with palm oil; while Amazonian freshwater fish are often turned into soups or steamed in palm leaves.

Although there is no definitive national dish, the hearty feijoada (a stew of beans, beef and pork) is a strong contender, and there are many traditional dishes and regional specialities.

Specialities

Feijoada: A rich stew of black beans, beef and pork, which can also contain sausage, pigs' ears and tail, white rice, chopped kale and orange slices, and often washed down with a shot of cachaça.
Moqueca: Fish or seafood stew from Bahia made with palm oil and coconut milk.
Vatapá: Shrimps and chicken in a creamy sauce made of fish oil, coconut milk, and manioc paste, and served with rice.
Acarajé: Mashed, deep-fried bean fritters often served with dried shrimps, okra, onions and peppers.
Churrasco: Mixed grilled meat served with manioc flour and salad.
Fresh fruit: Tropical treats include maracujá, cajú, jabuticaba, goiaba and cupuaçú.
Pão de queijo: Cheesy doughballs, a favourite snack at any time of the day; the best are freshly made, light, spongy and deliciously tangy.
Bar snacks: Finger-licking snacks served with chilled beer, including coxinha (chicken stuffed in mashed manioc) and kibe (meat rissoles).
Bolinhos de bacalhau: Cod fishcakes.
Romeu e Julieta: Guava jam and minas gerais cheese, a traditional breakfast favourite.
Chopp: Draught beer; Brahma is the most popular brand.
Cachaça: Fiery sugarcane spirit and often mixed with sugar, crushed ice and limes to make a caipirinha cocktail.
Batida: Another, equally potent cocktail, made of concentrated fruit juices mixed with cachaça.
Brazilian wine: Try white wines from Santa Catarina and quaffable red Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon varieties from Bahia.
Guaraná: Popular fizzy drink made with energy-giving extract from an Amazonian plant.

Things to know

Por kilo restaurants, where customers pay by the weight of their laden plates, are particularly good value, with many in Rio and other large cities.

Tipping

10% is usual for most services not included on the bill.

Drinking age

18.

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