Ah, Brazilian food. Rice and beans, acai, seafood stew, barbecued meat, fresh coconut juice, and the dozens of crazy fruits I’d never seen or heard of before–all of these were glorious. One of the greatest parts about traveling is getting to experience new foods and culinary traditions from around the world. Brazil did not disappoint. Here are some of the staples of the Brazilian food experience that I enjoyed the most, and may or may not have eaten or drank on a daily basis:
– Acai na tigela: To call this a smoothie does not do it justice, but it’s the closest thing to it. It’s blended acai fruit, with guarana syrup to sweeten it. But it’s not a smoothie, because good acai has got to be thick–you can’t suck this stuff up with a straw. Gotta eat it with a spoon. Preferably with banana slices and granola (without raisins).
– Feijao: In Brazil I discovered that I actually like beans (feijao) a lot more than I thought, because the Brazilians make it much better than anywhere I’ve ever tried it. I gotta say it: Mexican rice and beans don’t hold a candle to Brazilian feijao.
– Coconuts! I’d never tried fresh coconut water before going to Brazil, but it may be the most refreshing liquid to have ever existed, especially while enjoyed on the beach. Take a chilled whole green coconut, punch a hole in the top so you can drink the water inside with a straw. The idea is so genius… so simple and so so good. The coconut water is slightly sweet, but very natural tasting. After you’ve finished the water inside, you can ask the vendor to cut open the coconut so you can scoop out and eat the inside, which tastes just like the water, except it’s a thin layer of jelly. I can’t describe it well enough, so you’ll just have to try it for yourself one day!
– Sucos (fruit juices): I read somewhere that Brazil is home to more fruits than any other country in the world. Fruit is a very central part of the culture; there are sucos stands on every street corner that churn out the most delicious freshly squeezed fruit juices of all time (can you tell I am prone to hyperbole? except it’s not actually an exaggeration, because they’re really that good). Acerola, graviola, goiaba, maracuja, capuacu, jaca, caju, mangaba, siriguela… just a sampling of the dozens of fruits that you can choose from to get a delicious and nutritious fruit juice, and all of these are fruits that you definitely can’t find in the U.S. Brazilians love fruit so much, they even blend it into their alcoholic drinks! You can get any of the above fruits mixed in with your caipirinha or caipiroska as well.
– Churrasco. Brazilians do a damn fine job of grilling meat. I admit I didn’t eat that much meat while on my trip because I’d been all meated out from Argentina (er… that’s awkward. Also Deniz, that was basically for you… since you love all things “meat” so much HA). But, the few times I ordered grilled chicken or grilled beef it was seriously tasty. And combined with some feijao with thick-cut bacon bits in it? Yea, you do the math. DELISH.