All things Brazilian will be under global spotlight as the Rio Olympics kick off next week. There is no better way to explore the Brazilian culture than through its rich cuisine, which includes deeply savoury stews and theatrical dining experiences.
Whether you’re lucky enough to be headed to the center of the world next week, or looking to get in the Olympic spirit from home, here are a few signature Brazilian dishes to try throughout the games.
Widely considered Brazil’s national dish, feijoada is a rich, deep, black bean stew slow cooked with meats like salted pork, smoked sausage, bacon, pork trimmings, or aged, dried beef.
In Rio de Janeiro, the dish is considered the Brazilian equivalent of England’s Sunday roast dinner, and traditionally eaten during a leisurely, drawn out Saturday afternoon. Feijoada is often served with rice, sauteed greens like kale or collard greens and is upheld as Brazilian soul food.
Carnivores will want to remember this word, as it translates roughly to meat heaven. That or barbecue in Portuguese. While Brazilian churrasco features everything from pork, sausage, and chicken hearts, you’ll want to order the irrefutable star of the show, picanha, referred to as rump cap in English and considered the best cut of beef in Brazil.
Characterised by a thick layer of fat, the meat is skewered on swords and seasoned with just a sprinkling of coarse salt so as not to mask the flavor of the meat. Churrascarias or barbecue restaurants are all-you-can-eat affairs and feature waiters who glide about the room carrying swords groaning with thick cuts of meat and carve slices tableside for hungry diners.
Pastels are deep fried pies that come with a variety of fillings. (Istock)
When you’re peckish, look out for a fast-food pastelaria which sells deep-fried pastry pies filled with everything from ground meat, cheese, chicken, shrimp and hearts of palm. The rectangular treats are made with Chinese wonton wrappers and are traditionally washed down with sugar cane juice or caldo de cana.
Moqueca is a stew with fish or seafood. (Istock)
Brazil’s version of fish stew, moqueca, is a national favorite for its savory flavors. Seafood like white fish and shrimp is stewed in coconut milk, onions, garlic, tomatoes and coriander to create a rich, flavorful soup.
A caipirinha is one of Brazil’s best known gastronomic exports. (Istock)
If there’s one cocktail you’ll want to mix in batches for an Olympics-themed drinking game, it’s the caipirinha. Perhaps one of Brazil’s most successful and popular gastronomic exports, caipirinha is the country’s national cocktail, made with cachaca or sugar cane liquor, sugar and lime.
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