Brazil Trip – Food Edition

by Stephanie on May 4, 2011 · 0 comments

in Food & Nutrition, Travel

Bom dia (or good morning) from Brazil! 

So far my trip is going wonderfully.  I had a 9 hour training session with my colleagues here yesterday.  It went very well.  I was treating to a shopping trip afterward with a very nice girl from work named Lais.  I fell in love with a fairly expensive purse by a popular Brazilian designer.  It’s so pretty though!  I did some checking online and it’s virtually impossible to get this designer outside of Brazil so I’ll probably be coming home with a fancy new purse (good thing this isn’t a finance blog!).

Food is always such a big part of vacations to new places.  I love eating local cuisine and trying new things.  I’ll try just about anything once.  It’s true… I tried both haggis AND black pudding when I was in Scotland!  Not only is some of the food different, but food that you think would be the same is prepared or tastes different.  So, I thought I’d share of the new foods I’ve been trying and some of the differences between items here and in the States.

Different Flavors, Same Food

  • Fruit is amazing here.  So much better than in the Midwest.  As the locals say, “it doesn’t travel”.
  • Limes here are not as bitter as US limes.  They are sweeter, kind of like key limes.  I actually like them here!
  • The pineapple here is white, not yellow like ours.  It’s sweeter and less tart.
  • Avocado is considered a sweet fruit here.  Where we have salty guacamole, they have avocado smoothies and ice cream.  I can’t wait to try it!

The Local Cuisine

  • They eat a lot of rice and beans at their meals.
  • Polenta and risotto are much more popular here than in the States.
  • There is a large Italian influence and several Italian and pizza restaurants
  • Ethnic food, such as Mexican or Asian, is very very rare. 
  • They drink much smaller amounts.  The cups at the cafeteria at work (where you have 4 juices to choose from if you want a beverage) are only 4 ounces and I saw almost no one go back for seconds.
  • The rumors are true – I had the best steak of my life last night! 

New and Interesting

 

  • Guarana – a very small fruit here that has more caffeine than coffee beans.  They make Guarana soda (yum!) and they sell 5x more of it than they do cola flavored sodas.

 

  • Cassava – a woody shrub native to South America.  It is a root vegetable like a potato.  They cut it in smaller pieces, boil it, and pan fry it.  Delicious!

 

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  • Caipirinha – the national cocktail of Brazil (do we even have a National cocktail in the US?).  It’s very much like a mojito but without the mint.  Mint is not a popular flavor in Brazil!  It is made with Cachaca (Ka-sha-sa), a favorite white liquor made in Brazil.
    • Here’s how you make it as told to me by a local.
      • Quarter a lime (use a couple of key limes if you’re in the U.S. because they’re sweeter)
      • Put in empty glass and crush with a pestle
      • Add sugar (raw sugar is better than refined due to the bigger crystals) and crush some more
      • Add Cachasa and crush some more
      • Fill glass with ice
      • Let drink settle and chill for a few minutes
      • Serve
    • They tell me that you can make it with other fruits (passionfruit, pineapple, etc) and with other alcohol like rum or vodka if you prefer or if you don’t have access to Cachaca.  They warn it is not as good though!  I had one last night and it was pretty tasty! 

U.S. Chain Restaurant I was Surprised to See – Applebee’s!  Lais said she loved their lemonade because they don’t have that in Brazil. 

Needless to say I’ve learned a lot about food in my first three days here.  More to come later =)

Until then, I’d love to hear your experiences with South American cuisine!

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