And I can say that with certainty, 5 lbs. and counting later.
Brazil is meat country and one important thing every traveler should know is that their servings are deceiving. Like if you order a dish good for one, most of the time, that dish can actually feed two to three people. And during our three-week stay in Brazil, we never got our orders right haha. Our table always seemed like we were feeding a whole village instead of just five people :p
So, what are the must-haves when you visit the largest Latin American country? Here's my personal list.
This is Brazil's version of barbecued meat.
Churrascarias, restaurants that serve eat-all-you-can meat, are everywhere. It's either you line up for your slices of meat or there will be
chicken, mutton, or fish cuts freshly out of the charcoals, going around to serve you your preferred cut.
This type of service is called the rodízio.
TIP: Often, in churrascarias, you will find red ("stop") and green ("go") signs on top of the tables. After you've been served your first round of meat, make sure you raise the red sign to hold'em waiters back and allow yourself some time to chew and swallow.
My personal favorite is the picanha which is the rump cover or rump cap of the cow. (Read more here.)
|Picanha, the rump cover or the rump cap of the cow.|
TIP: Order a little of every cut so you can taste all of them. Then later on, you can choose which cut you like best and order more of that.
2. Pastéis (Pastel)
Pastels are deep-fried pastries filled with savory fillings like cheese, chicken, shrimp, hearts of palm, or ground beef.
While pastels can be quite filling, in Brazil, they are actually eaten as appetizers. So don't get carried away with the goodness of this pastry and save some room in your stomach for the main dishes.
Feijoada is a stew of beans with beef and pork, which is a typical dish in Portugal and former Portuguese colonies. This is usually served with boiled white rice and sauteed shredded kale.
It's not a taste that would suit everyone's palate. I've personally hunted down this dish during our vacation just because it's one of Brazil's must-try's. But after I've tasted it, I never really craved for it again after.
Still give it a try, though. In my uncle's words, "It takes a while to get used to it, but once you do, hold your horses. This was the weapon the old-time slaves invented to dominate their masters."
4. Romeu e Julieta (Romeo and Juliet)
Who would've thought that guava jam and white cheese would blend well together? I definitely didn't! This guava and white cheese "finger sandwich" can raise eyebrows or even turn off the non-adventurous eaters but I absolutely loved it. Hats off to whoever thought of this combo.
5. Pão de Queijo
|(Photo by Ainna Vidad.)|
Little rolls of bread with cheese baked into it. Little rolls of bread with cheese baked into it! How can you not like that?!
These are chocolate balls made with condensed milk (instead of cream) and sprinkled with a variety of flavors.
Forget the calories! With every chocolate ball bursting with creamy goodness, you'll even forget your name ;)
7. Sucos (Fresh fruit juices)
I'm a juicing advocate that's why going to Brazil was like going to juice heaven! Fresh (Yes, emphasis on fresh!) fruit juices are a staple in restaurants and there is an abundance of casas de sucos (juice bars) everywhere.
Açaí is a superfood berry (which is actually the fruit of a palm tree) used to make fruit bowls and smoothies. This concoction is usually semi-frozen and served cold. It's quite similar to a sorbet but this one can be served with bananas and granola on top.
Caipirinha is Brazil's national cocktail (Yes, they have a national cocktail!) made with cachaça (a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice), sugar, and lemon.
You can order caipirinha in different flavors. Cachaça can also be replaced with vodka and Japanese sake.
TRIVIA: When vodka is used instead of cachaça, the name is changed to caipiroska or kaipiroska. When sake is used, it is called caipisake. And when crushed fruits are used in stead of lemon, it is called caipifruta.
The most popular fresh fruits used to create caipifrutas are tangerine, lime, kiwifruit, passion fruit, pineapple, lemon, grapes, mango, cajá, and caju (cashew fruit)
10. Brazilian coffee
You cannot go to Brazil and not taste their coffee! Most of the coffee I've tried were rich and bold, just my type. And Brazilians are strong coffee drinkers so better prepare you body for some high caffeine boost with every cup.
TIP: In Brazil, coffee is typically served cafezhino-style (espresso-style). So if you want a regular cup of coffee with milk, you have to be specific with your order and say that you want a cup of cafe e leite.
11. Brazilian beer
Whenever I go to a different country, I always make it a point to try two things: their local coffee and local beer. While beer is not necessarily Brazil's strong suit, I found a couple of brands that the beer-drinker in me enjoyed.
Bottom line is, if you're on a diet, forget about going to Brazil. Or better yet, if you're going to Brazil, FORGET ABOUT YOUR DIET. Because really, this South American country's line up of traditional food is just as colorful as its culture ;)
|Diet? What diet?|