Last week I wrote about a bunch of foods to try this summer in Brazil, which is hosting the Olympics and has temporarily waived its onerous visa requirements. But there’s plenty more where that came from, and when you’re tired of feijoada and pao de queijo (if such a thing is possible) here are a few more foods that you don’t want to miss.
Every country seems to have a food that is “like a hot pocket” and the pastel (plural: pasteis) is the Brazilian version. These delicious foods are a quick go to food that are sold at small shops, bus stations, and occasionally as street food. They’re often filled with various meats and cheeses, then fried. One particularly delicious variety is called the Romeo and Juliet, and is filled with cheese and a sweet guava paste called goiabada.
Caldo de cana
Caldo de cana is made by crushing sugar cane and collecting the liquid that comes out. In Brazil, street vendors and others make it using machines that run the bamboo-like canes through metal rollers. Some people serve caldo de cana mixed with other flavors, but it’s delicious just on its own as well.
Versions of this drink are served in other countries, but for whatever reason (perhaps the type of sugar cane they use?) I’ve never had it anywhere else that tastes quite like the Brazilian version.
Caldo de cana is often served at the same places that make pasteis.
“Sonho” in Portuguese means “dream,” which is a fitting name for the Brazilian donut. These are similar to American jelly-filled donuts, though in my opinion they’re better. They’re fried, often covered in granulated sugar, and are filled with cream, doce de leche, or chocolate.
Not all sonhos are created equal, so if at first you get one that’s not great, keep trying to find a bakery that does them well.
Açaì na tijela
A few years ago, açaì became a trendy health food in the U.S. But before that (and also after its popularity among Americans waned) , it was a popular food in Brazil.
“Na tijela” means “in the bowl” which I include here to emphasize my favorite way to eat it; though açaì is perhaps best know in the U.S. as a smoothie ingredient, it is also served as a kind of ice cream-like paste.
Banana pizza is common at Brazilian pizzerias. Usually it combines bananas, cinnamon, and cheese and is sweet, rather than savory. Though the idea of cheese on a sweet pizza may seem foreign to some in the Northern Hemisphere, I can assure you it’s delicious.
If you happen to be in Brazil and are especially hungry, most cities have all-you-can-eat pizza buffets where they bring slices around to the tables, much like they do with meat at a churrascaria. In many cases these are more mid-to-up scale places, and can be worth the splurge if you’re in the mood.
— Jim Dalrymple II