Short answer: delicious things, because Brazilian food is super tasty. They have traditional meals like feijoada, barbecue (churrasco) and more meats. Lot of food to try, My boyfriend is Brazilian, so he knew what to eat and drink 🙂
My favourites were the fruits, fresh juices and salgados and …. So hard to pick. Read my food and drink guide and choose yours.
Best food and drink on the Brazilian beach
Look for the huge Açaí signs on the beachside and you won’t regret it. The original açaí bowl is served with frozen açaí, granola and banana. At some places, you can change the banana and top up with condensed milk. For me, condensed milk is too sweet, so I prefer without it. The bowl can cost 10, 15, 20 reais depending on the size. The frozen açaí is made of the purple açaí berries, which is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. The berries are very sensitive, that’s why it’s frozen.
Suculé is frozen fruit shake. I tried the passion fruit mousse and açaí flavours. Both are very delicious. First, it looked weird, I thought it has a wooden stick like the ice creams. Just open the plastic with your teeth, suck out the ice cream and enjoy.
Milho verde (Sweet corn)
You can feel the corn scent from far away. They take out the fresh corn from a hot bowl and remove the corn pieces for you 🙂 It’s good, but I prefer the cold açaí on the beach.
In Guarujá the coconut and the corn shared a truck.
Água de coco
You can buy coconut water (água de coco) almost in every kiosk on the beach in Rio. We visited other beaches (Bertioga, Guarujá) in São Paulo region. I couldn’t find coconut in Bertioga, but in Guarujá lot of little kiosks can be found at the beach.
The coconuts are hung on the side of the kiosk, I always had to stare it. The others are kept in the fridge, so its water will be cold. One coconut costs around 6,00 reais. At some places, they cut it after drinking if you ask. A piece of coconut can work as a spoon, don’t miss the creamy coconut. Delícia!!!
The guys can do the opening with a knife or can drill it (in the last case don’t hope for the coconut cream). In Rio, it’s forbidden to carry a knife with you, so some places don’t have knives.
In Guarujá one guy had a big curved knife, so he cut the creamy coconut as well.
A cold mate during the day feels very refreshing. Vendors sell it from their orange Matte Leão bags. The drink is in a plastic box and you have to stab the cover with a straw. Read more info about mate at the “Drinking” part.
Brazilian breakfast (café de manhã)
Fresh fruit and juice – My favourite!!!
The Brazilian breakfast (for me) contains fruits, fresh juice and salgados (salty snacks).
I ate fruit every day, I was obsessed with fruits. I thought I know banana, mango and orange, but in Brazil the fruits are different. The taste is so intense!!! Daily one mango (manga) was required for me, it is so good, not a surprise this is the origin country.
Also for this fruits: cashew apple (cajú), acerola, jackfruit (jaca), guava (goiaba), passion fruit (maracujá), pineapple (abacaxi), banana, lime (limão), orange (laranja) and papaya (mamão), just to mention some of my favourites.
I will write another blog post about the Brazilian fruits, my experiences don’t fit only into one post 🙂
Salgados are salty snacks usually eaten between meals. There are many kinds of shapes and the fillings.
We had this amazing breakfast in São Paulo at Charme da Paulista opposite MASP: salgados and papaya juice.
Coxinha (croquette) is a drop shaped salgado filled with cheese and meat, mostly chicken. It’s melting in your mouth. Delícia!
Pão na chapa (grilled bread) is made of buttered French bread (pão francês).
Pão de queijo (cheese bread) is so cheesy and delicious. Can’t be to get bored of it. In the supermarket, the frozen version is also available, if you want to start the morning with pão de queijo. I found a recipe, I’ll have to try it when I miss it very much.
Empada is like a mini pie with different fillings. I very like the one with shrimps (empada de camarão). It can be filled with palm heart (palmito), cheese (queijo) and other meat as well.
Pastel is made with different flavours. We tried the one filled with bacalhau and cheese.
Bolinho de feijoada is a ball of mashed bean and meat. We had this balls at Bar do Mineiro at Santa Teresa as a starter. Very tasty!
If you choose to eat at home, just buy some fruits and other Brazilian delicious pieces. When we had breakfast at home, we bought bisnaguinha, requeijão (creamy cheese cream) and queijo minas (cheese from Mina region). And fruits of course: mango, papaya and banana.
For lunch (almoço) and dinner (jantar)
Brazilian barbecue – Churrasco
Churrasco places are the most traditional restaurants in Brazil. They work like an all you can eat, which contains the meat and the side dishes. The meal for 1 person costs 40 reais. You grab your salad, rice, farofa and whatever you want, then wait for the meat. The waiters go around with the different kind of meats. You have tongs to grab the slice of the meat and put it on the plate. Use the green “sim, por favor” sign, when you are satisfied change to the red “não obrigado” sign, so they will know not to bring more meat.
They also serve grilled cheese, must try. In the supermarket, you can buy it and grill it at home.
Tendall grill Bela Vista was the closest to our place.
Feijoada, the black bean stew
Feijoada is another Brazilian national dish, its name comes from feijão, which means bean in Portuguese. It is a stew made of black beans and pork (or beef).
We choose Feijoada especial com carnes nobres (noble meat), couve (wild cabbage), farofa, torresmo (pork rind), laranja (orange) e arroz (rice). This is the version with the selected meat, it doesn’t contain the ear, feet and other weird parts of the pig, just the best bites. Choose the feijoada completa, if you want to experiment.
We had feijoada for lunch at Consulado Mineiro restaurante in São Paulo. This restaurant chain has many places in the city, it offers other traditional Brazilian meals. The portion was very big, it costs 108 reais. The feijoada completa costs 104 reais.
Carne seca (jerked meat / dried meat)
Another meat in the row 😉 Carne seca com aipim (jerked meat with cassava) is also very good. They serve different kind of potato to various meats. The restaurants know what they do. We had this meal at Bar do Mineiro at Santa Teresa. The place was decorated with small bondinhos, the yellow little tram which goes up to Santa Teresa. Mineiro means food from Mina, they had more traditional food.
First, we tried the Frango com batata barôa (chicken with mashed barôa potato). It was sooooo good so we had to eat another one, Carne seca com aipim (dried meat with cassava). The mashed potato is so creamy 🙂
Rice, rice and rice
Brazilians eat rice for everything, for me, that’s not usual. In restaurants, rice is served for almost every meal. I like rice, don’t misunderstand me, just not every day…
I guess every Brazilian home has a rice steaming machine to prepare the perfect rice.
It was weird to see eating lasagna with rice. I don’t mix pasta with rice, but for them is natural. In supermarkets, you can buy rice in 5 kg packages.
Try the famous mortadella sandwiches at Bar do Mané in Mercadão Municipal de São Paulo, the sandwiches are amazing and super tasty. They offer different variations: cold, hot, with cheese, with salad etc. We asked for the traditional warm version with cheese for 22 reais. The bread is cut half, so we ate half-half, totally enough (for me).
Bar do Mané doesn’t serve food after 4:30 pm, be there in time to grab your sandwiches. The market is open from 6 am to 6 pm, but a lot of places close before 5 pm.
Another not that famous sandwiches are at Estadão bar & lanches. We had mango juice and Sanduíche de Pernil (pork sandwich). These Brazilian meats are just super tasty!
My Brazilian friends told me pizza is best in Brazil 🙂 It was very very good. I can’t say it’s the best because I haven’t tried all the pizzas of the world (yet) 😉 It was very rainy, just arrived from our walk in the rain (without an umbrella) so didn’t want to go out again. We ordered pizza from Pizzaria Fratello Bertioga. Here you can order half pizza, so we choose 2 types, both with the Brazilian cheese called catupiry. Frango com catupiry (chicken with catupiry cheese) and Lombinho (lombo com catupiry=pork loin with catupiry cheese).
One night in Rio we tried the hamburger at T.T Burger. These hamburgers are different because the bread is made from sweet potato and they use chuchu instead of pickles. The place has its own ketchup from guava: Goiaba ketchup.
Desserts and sweets (sobremesas)
Brigadeiro is the most famous Brazilian dessert. The original version is made from condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter, and chocolate sprinkles. There are many variations, it can be covered with shredded coconut or ground biscuit. Can be mixed with fruits or peanut butter. Try some and tell me what was your favourite 😉 Photo from Wikipedia.
Torta de coco
I didn’t take any photos because it didn’t look that nice, but when I started to eat it was too late for photos…. The coconut cream was sooooo delicious. I had it at Consulado Mineiro restaurante in São Paulo, where we tried the feijoada.
It means sweet milk in rough translation, which is true, it’s from caramel and milk, a very good one. Works individually and as a topping.
Pudim de leite
The pudding cake is also very popular, it’s similar to the Spanish flan, which means this is also tasty.
Quindim is super delicious (yes, for me almost everything is delicious, I recommend you only delicious foods and drinks 😉 …) It contains coconut so it can’t taste bad. The coconut bottom is topped up with egg cream, nice combination! I’ve already checked few recipes, and I prepared my own version with less sugar.
Must-try Brazilian drinks
Caipirinha, the original Brazilian cocktail
Caipirinha is a must-try drink in Brazil because it’s made of cachaça, which is the most famous alcoholic beverage of the country. Cachaça is a distilled sugar cane liquor. It is mixed with sugar, ice and lime.
Also possible to mix it with different fruit (but those aren’t original caipirinhas). My other favourite version was with passion fruit. We tried it with tangerine, but for me, it was too sweet.
Available almost everywhere: beach, bars, restaurants. In the kiosks of Ipanema, one caipirinha costs 10-12 reais. I drank my first at Bar e Restaurante Urca after visiting Pão de Açúcar, that cost 17 reais.
I’ve heard about another place in Rio, which has the best caipirinha. We wanted to visit Kiosque do Português at Lagoa, but they closed the bar. They have more locations, so maybe next time 😉
We had the most expensive caipirinha in São Paulo, at the rooftop bar of Hotel Unique called Skye. The glass was big, but we paid 35 reais for it. The bar has a big indoor area and a smaller part outside with a swimming pool. Enjoy the skyline of São Paulo, view to Ibirapuera Park, the skyscrapers of Avenida Paulista and even more skyscrapers. It was nice there, but I expected a better view.
The most famous brand is Skol. I don’t like beer, so no idea about the taste, but almost everyone drinks it, so I guess it’s good. For me, it was very funny, that a can contains 269 ml of beer. The cans are small to avoid warming up because of the warm weather.
Juice (suco) or smoothie (vitamina)
Juices from fresh fruits are almost as good as the fruits. Many restaurants serve fresh juices, but you can find places specialized for juice.
Today, Brazil is the largest producer with its 53%. It is very popular to drink mate tea mainly in South-Brazil. As I mentioned earlier at “What to eat and drink on the Brazilian beach?” paragraph, Matte Leão is very popular on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.
There are 2 more famous chains: Mate do Vovô and Rei do Mate. I tried their traditional mate tea, but more versions are available in different flavours. They also serve sandwiches and snacks.
Água de coco
Yes, again… Never enough of coconut water (água de coco). My favourite drink on the beach. It is also available in the cities at breakfast places and kiosks.
I finished my list, you must be very curious if you reached the end 🙂 Thank you and try out these amazing foods and drinks!
Which one is your favourite? Can you recommend to me any new one for my next trip to Brazil?
Interested in more Brazilian travel and foodie guides?
- Ilhabela travel guide – what to do and where to go
- Best beaches in Rio de Janeiro
- Specialty coffee shop guide to São Paulo, Brazil