Top 10 Brazilian snacks: Salgadinhos

Salgadinhos are small snacks with a savory filling, found in nearly all lanchonetes and padarias in Brazil. Brazilians eat it at any time of the day and salgadinhos are very popular at parties.


Abara
A banana-leaf-steamed Acaraje.
Acaraje
Black-eye pea cake deep fried in palm oil, then filled with dried shrimp topped with coconut, cashews, garlic, more shrimp and hot pepper sauce.
Bolinho de Bacalhau
Cod fish cake in ball format.
Bolinho de Aipim
Deep-fried cassava dough with a ground beef center.
Bolinho de Estudante
A dry tapioca pressed into shape, grilled then rolled in cinamon sugar.
Cachorro Quente
A variation of the hotdog: bread, hot dog link, tomato paste with onions and peppers, then optionals: corn, string potatoes, parmesan.
Churros
Deep fried dough filled with doce de leite. Then rolled in cinnamon sugar.
Coxinha
Spiced chicken rolled in manioc dough and then fried. There is also version with a drumstick.
Empada
Empada or empadinha is a small pie, which has various fillings such as carne (meat), palmito (palm heart), cheese and camarao (shrimp)
Esfiha
A tri-folded pizza of Arabic origin – savory pastry stuffed with spiced meat
Misto Quente
Ham and cheese sandwich, made with stringy mozzarella.
Kibe
Arabic snack made from deep fried whole-wheat surrounding a spicy ground beef center.
Pao de Queijo
Savory cheese puffs that goes perfectly with coffee.
Pastel de Carne
Fried, filled pasty.
Pastel de Forno
Oven baked folded pie with various flavor fillings.
X-Tudo
Double cheeseburger with: bacon, fried egg, sausage, pulled chicken, string potatoes, etc.

 

Top 10 best restaurants of Brazil

What is the top 10 of the best restaurants of Brazil? Let us start with a quote from Lonely Planet Brazil: “In Brazil, eating is, like so many other things, another pretext for pleasure taking. There is no such thing as Brazilian haute cuisine per se, but the food tastes good almost anywhere you go.”
We agree. Travelers in Brazil will find plenty of nice street food, fast food corners, coffee bars offering fried and filled pastries, pay-by-weight buffet restaurants, pizzerias and grill restaurants, but demanding food lovers that are looking for sophisticated restaurants might find themselves a little disappointed. Despite the abundance of natural products, gastronomy in Brazil is behind the culinary level of neighboring countries like Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Yes, São Paulo does offer sophisticated looking restaurants with beautiful architecture and well dressed servants and guests, sometimes run by a cook that has been on tv, and these are the ideal places to impress the people that you invite for dinner. But most impressive about the menu are the high prizes, as the plates are full of good food, but rarely haute cuisine according European cooking philosophy. You can however enjoy regional food when crossing Brazil, which can be different from anything you ever had, and that is what we recommend to demanding food lovers to go after.

Restaurants rating system in Brazil
“Incredibly enough, it’s hard to find reliable restaurant recommendations for Salvador on the web. There are listings galore, but… who to trust?” says Alexandra of braziltraveltips.blogspot.com.
Many countries have national organizations that rate restaurants and some even organize national gastronomic events. The largest culinary festival in Brazil is Brasil Sabor, a joint project by Abrasel (the Brazilian Association of Bars and Restaurants), the Ministry of Tourism and SEBRAE (Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Businesses). The participating restaurants offer a special dish which represents the local cuisine to promote the diversity of regional culinary traditions. But Abrasel does not give ratings. For as far as we know the only rating system available is done by the Quatro Rodas Guide.
So, we have followed some recommendations of that made-in-Brazil guide, and ironically ended up in places with food being prepared so badly we never imagined possible in Brazil. Goodbye to our conviction that Brazil restaurants always serve good food. This restaurant guide is not reliable, to say the least.
In the US and most European countries you find websites with ratings by visitors, alike Tripadvisor, and some combine it with jury ratings. This will be adopted in Brazil soon. For now, our favorite guides are Frommers and Fodor.

São Paulo
Although neither Rio nor São Paulo has a distinctive cuisine of its own, like all cosmopolitan metropolises they have various dining scenes. If you’ve got cash to splash, put on your nicest evening dress and try the often recommended restaurants DOM and Rubaiyat.
Some often recommended restaurants in Sao Paulo: ManiAntiquariusDOMFasano

Rio de Janeiro
Rio has many charming restaurants. We recommend you to read: Ipanema.com.
Some often recommended restaurants in Rio de Janeiro: OlympeSudbrack; Le Pré Catalan Mok Sakebar

Bahia
Travelling along the Bahia coast you will notice that most menus are tourist menus and start with the popular Moqueca dish and offer few interesting alternatives. For more varied plates you will be served well in Salvador. Some of the most often recommended restaurants in Salvador: Jardim das Delícias; Lafayette; Marc le Dantec; Yemanja; Dona Chika Ka; Pereira; Lambreta Grill; Casa de Gamboa; Sorriso da Dada; Maria Mata Mouro; Trapiche Adelaide; Galpão; Paraiso Tropical; Uauá.
Read more about Bahia food: passportmagazine.com
Some often recommended restaurants in Arraial d’ajuda: Morocha, Don Fabrizio
Some often recommended restaurants in Trancoso: Cacao, Capim Santo.
Read more about restaurants in Trancoso: braziltraveltips.blogspot.com

Amazonas
Amazonian cuisine is strongly influenced by the region’s native Tupi, people, who live largely on manioc, freshwater fish, yams and beans, and exotic fruit. Caldeirada is a popular fish stew not unlike bouillabaisse, and pato no tucupi is a regional favorite made with duck, garlic, jambu herb and the juice of both lemons and manioc roots.
Some of the most often recommended restaurants in Belem and Manáus:
Belém: La Madre; Lá em Casa; Beto Grill; Manjar das Garças; Remanso do peixe; Pomme D’Or; Dom Giuseppe.
Manáus: Moronguetá; Banzeiro; El Toro Loco; Village; Bernardino.

Typical Amazon food

Fish dishes
Fish is the king of the Amazonian cuisine. There are dozens of exceptionally tasteful species of fish: peixe nobre (noble fish), the pirarucu (the largest world freshwater fish), the tambaqui, are good examples. They are big fishes, almost boneless, delicious when grilled over charcoal.
Also exceptional are smaller fishes as surubim, curimatã, jaraqui, acari and tucunaré. The freshness and the special flavour of all those species of Amazon fish make the dishes based on them truly glorious. They are usually served grilled, but they can also be fried, or presented in tomato sauce (escabeche), or in coconut milk, or stewed in tucupi (a true marvellous sauce, made of fermented manioc juices).

Typical Amazonian cuisine
Manioc is also a major component of Amazonian cuisine, besides the Amazon fish. Many dishes include the manioc, as it is the case of pato no tucupi (duck in tucupi), a typical Amazon dish, certainly the most famous, based on the exotic sauce of tucupi. It’s also the case of tacacá, a shrimp soup, available everywhere, including street corners and docks. Or maniçoba, a dish including pieces of meat, sausage and chicory leaves (besides the manioc).
Also common in the Amazonian food is an adapted version of vatapá, a bahian seafood dish.

Tucupi
A traditional Brazilian sauce, tucupi is made from juice extracted from the manioc root. Yellow in color, the sauce is served over duck and fish, and it is used as a base for soups. The sauce is considered a basic element of Paras cuisine. The recipes for it have been developed and used over many generations, and still remain popular and sought out by both locals and tourists.
Making the sauce is a rather involved process. Without putting the juice through the proper cooking process, the juice is poisonous. What makes the uncooked juice inedible is the presence of cyanide. After it is put through a rigorous and lengthy boiling process, the poisons will no longer be present. What is left is then used to create the popular sauce.

Pato no tucupi,
Said to be the dish of northern Brazil, pato no tucupi, or duck in tucupi sauce, is a popular holiday favorite, although it is also served in some places year round. The duck was the first domesticated animal used by the natives as a source of meat, and so the dish has long been a local favorite. The duck is first boiled or roasted and is then shredded. Before adding the duck, garlic, chicory, and basil are added and cooked into the sauce, creating a deep savory flavor. The thin pieces are added to the sauce and then boiled before the dish is ready to serve.
Pato no tucupi is served over fluffy white rice. It is also served with a starchy flour called farinha d’agua, which is made from manioc that has been allowed to ferment. Commonly, hot pepper is added as seasoning. The dish is served piping hot and is recognized for its distinctive flavor.

Tacaca
Tacaca is a common food sold by street vendors and local restaurateurs and is another dish made with tucupi. It is a popular favorite in the state of Para, which includes the cities of Belem and Santarem. Made from a base of tucupi paste, it is a thick soup. Most often shrimp and jambu are added to the soup. Jambu is a native tree fruit that is sharp tasting. The combination of the sauce and the jambu causes a tingling and a numbness in the the mouth. This effect is caused by the highly acidic nature of tucupi and the jambu when combined. Tucupi is a popular addition to this regional food, and many people seek it out not only for its numbing effect but also for its distinctive taste.

Brazilian national dish: Feijoada

Feijoada, a flavorful stew of beans and pork, is called the national dish of Brazil. Typically served at noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays, this hearty meal is a thick mixture of beans, fresh and smoked meats plus seasonings. Feijoada is such a heavy dish that the only recommended activity after eating is napping. Also, it’s recommended to wash it down with caipirinha.

A popular myth states that the Brazilian feijoada was a luxury dish of African slaves on Brazilian colonial farms, as it was prepared with relatively cheap ingredients (beans, rice, collard greens, farofa) and leftovers from salted pork and meat production.
However, historians consider that feijoada is a Brazilian version of stews from Southern European countries and traditional Portuguese bean-and-pork dishes (cozidos) like those from the regions of Estremadura and Trás-os-Montes are the ancestors of Brazilian feijoada. The earliest printed references to the dish appeared in the mid-19th century, based on menus of upper-class. Source: wiki.
It has evolved to include Portuguese and native Indian influences. Nowadays it is elaborated with many different smoked and sun-dried meats, smoked sausage and served with a number of side dishes, including sliced oranges, cold cuts, farofa (stir-fried manioc flour), couve mineira (thinly sliced kale) and white rice.

The name is derived from the Portuguese word for bean, ‘feijão’. Black beans are most commonly used, but depending on the region, feijoada can be made with any dried bean. Some regional feijoadas may be accused of not being the  ‘true’ feijoadas,  i.e. Feijoada Completa,  as the peoples of the various regions use whatever local produce which is available,  but whatever the modifications, the basics are the same.
Here a simple recipe for feijoada as approved by a Brazilian feijoada restaurant.

Ingredients
1kg of black beans
250 g of dried beef (“carne seca”)
250 g of salted pork ribs
100 g of smoked loin of pork
100 g of smoked bacon
1 pork trotter
1 pork tail (or ear)
2 large pork sausages (“paio”)
1 Portuguese sausage
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 soup spoon of olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 orange

Preparation

The night before, clean the pork trotter and tail and soak them in cold water together with the already cleaned pork ribs. In a separate bowl, soak the dried beef cut into pieces. Change the water in each bowl at least four times.

Put the salted meats on the stove in a pan with plenty of water. Boil for 10 minutes, drain off the water, pour in clean water and cook. Use the same procedure for the dried beef, putting it to cook in a separate pan. When the meats are tender, but not shredded, drain off the water and cut the pork ribs into pieces. Set aside.

Cut the “paio” and Portuguese sausage into thick slices, the smoked bacon into small cubes, and the smoked pork into medium-sized cubes.

Place the beans in a large pan with a thick bottom. Add water, the bay leaves, and the orange cut in half, with the inner peel but without the outer peel. After cooking for 45 minutes, add the salted and smoked meats, the dried beef, sausage and “paio.” Leave to cook for 20 more minutes.

Remove two soup ladles of beans from the pan. Chop the onion and garlic finely. Sauté them, without letting the brown, in a skillet in the olive oil. Add the bean paste to the skillet and cook for two minutes. Return the entire mixture to the large pan, mix and taste for salt. Adjust the temperature as necessary and leave everything to cook 20 minutes more or until well cooked.

The meats can vary according to individual taste. It is very important that the oily build-up on the surface be skimmed off periodically while cooking.

Mandioca flour replaced wheat flour in Brazil

Mandioca Frita is Brazil’s answer to French fries. The tuber, also known as cassava root, was the main staple of the Brazilian natives at the time of discovery and has become an important food in all of Brazil. It is presented in several versions: as paçoca, carimã, mingau, beiju, farinha de mandioca and tucupi.

History
The coastal Tupi Indians were the first aboriginal people to interact with the Portuguese, and in general, these contacts were peaceful. For years, settlers came to Brazil without their women – wives, if they were married, or female relatives. They soon found that the native women were far from reluctant to assume the white women’s role in bed as well as in the kitchen. As a result, Brazilian cookery developed with a solid native core – the heritage of these first Brazilian cooks and mothers of the first Brazilians born in the New World.
Since the humid, tropical environment was unsuitable for wheat and several other crops the Portuguese men were accustomed to eating, they were forced to develop many new eating habits based on indigenous foods. Of the many foods introduced by the native cooks, the manioc tuber, or cassava root, was a profound dietary change for these colonists. It was the main staple of the natives, a carbohydrate-rich food that is easy to propagate but difficult to process, at least for the bitter variety, which is poisonous when raw.

Process
It is astonishing that the Indians determined that these tubers were edible at all. To detoxify manioc, the tubers had to be peeled and grated and the pulp put into long, supple cylinders – called tipitis – made of woven plant fibers. Each tube was then hung with a heavy weight at the bottom, which compressed the pulp and expressed the poisonous juice. The pulp could then be removed, washed and roasted, rendering it safe to eat. The product was a toasted, coarse meal or flour known as farinha de mandioca, which is as basic to the diet of Brazilians today as it was to the early Indians.
Starch settling out from the extracted juice was heated on a flat surface, causing individual starch grains to pop open and clump together into small, round granules called tapioca. The extracted juice, boiled down to remove the poison, was used as the basis of the sauce known as tucupi. In the northern region of modern Brazil, several noted and delicious dishes incorporate this traditional sauce.

Result
Manioc meal became many things in the hands of the Indian women. Pulverized meal was mixed with ground fish to produce a concoction called paçoca. For the children, small, sun-dried cakes called carimã were prepared. There was a porridge or paste known as mingau, and thin, crisp snacks called beijus, made of either tapioca flour or dough from a non-poisonous, or sweet variety of manioc known as macaxeira or aipim. These sweet manioc tubers, which are somewhat fibrous but considerably easier to prepare, were also pared, boiled for several hours to soften them and eaten like potatoes.

The popularity today of a snack of fried, sweet manioc strips, Brazil’s answer to French fries, further attests to the important contribution of this foodstuff to Brazilian cuisine by the Indians.

Corn was another Indian staple that the colonists used as a substitute for wheat. Learning from the Indians, the Portuguese made corn porridges called acanijic, which can be found today as canjica or mugunzá, and used corn husks as containers to steam a sweet mixture of corn and coconut called pamuna, which came to be known as pamonha.

The continuing preference for manioc and corn flours over wheat is apparent in many areas of Brazil today. A great variety of these flours is available, including the fine, sweet or sour types, called polvilhos, made from tapioca starch. Cheese rolls called pão de queijo made from polvilho flour and eaten while still warm are incomparable.