What to eat in Rio
Rio de Janeiro is a city to enjoy in every way you can. And food is not a detail to leave behind on your list. Just remember, it’s not only about fancy restaurants. There’s plenty of choices available on the street, where you can find some quick snacks that you devour as you walk by (Check our Free Walking Tours!). Here are some of the best choices for what to eat in Rio de Janeiro:
The name itself gives you a little clue, “feijões” is actually Portuguese for “beans”. Brazil’s main dish, a delicious casserole filled with beans and pork meat, normally with rice on the side. It comes from the times of slavery in Brazil, when it was common to mix any meat leftovers with beans.
You’ll often find it with slices of orange, tomatoes, onions and pepper. Some people believe that the idea of adding slices of orange was a way of preventing vitamin C deficiency (to avoid scurvy), and ended up becoming a typical trade of this dish. Today, plenty of people get their vitamin C with limes in Brazil’s signature cocktail, Caipirinha! (keep reading…)
Attention all meat lovers! This is one you definitely won’t ignore. Mouthwatering meat on skewers, usually served with a side dish of potatoes, onion rings, rice, beans, and other great combinations. You’ll get to experience one of the best Brazilian dishes in the famous Churrascarias (barbecue styled restaurants). These places tend to offer a great variety of meat, and there’s plenty of wine to go with it as well. The challenge is to save some room for dessert afterwards!
These are somewhere in between crepes and pancakes, and one of the best street snacks you’ll find. You can choose to try the savoury ones, filled with shredded meat, chicken, or ham and cheese. And for your sweet tooth, try them with strawberries and chocolate, banana caramel, or even nutella. The combination of flavours and fillings is basically endless.
Pão de queijo
The literal translation is “Cheese Bread”. A typical snack for any moment of the day, but you can find them quite often served at breakfast. Soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, made with tapioca flour. They’re pretty good at room temperature, and seriously addictive when they’re a bit warm. Nothing beats getting some of these delicious bites from some of the street stands near the beach as you enjoy your day sunbathing! Check out the best beaches in the area here.
Cachaça, sugar, lime, ice. And fun. Lots and lots of fun! That’s how you enjoy it. Cachaça is a distilled beverage made of sugarcane juice. It’s produced exclusively in Brazil, and worldwide is often confused with rum. Every bar in Brazil will have this drink available for you!
The lime is part of the original recipe, but plenty of bartenders like to experiment and replace it with other fruits, like strawberry, tangerine or plenty of other choices. If you replace the cachaça with vodka, the result is the also popular Caipiroska.
This dessert is easy to find in restaurants, bakeries and kiosks. Aesthetically, it looks like a flan, although it often has a much stronger yellow tone. It’s an incredibly simple combination: egg yolks, sugar and shredded coconut. The origin is probably based on the influence of Portuguese desserts (where egg yolks are very common). Originally it had almonds but the African slaves in Northeast Brazil replaced them with coconut (as there was plenty available!).
Quite similar to truffles, these sprinkle covered bites are prepared with cacao powder and condensed milk (instead of cream). Available in bakeries and kiosks all over the city, they are typical of festive days, but easy to find whenever you want. Like many traditional recipes, there’s a lot of experimenting so you can often find different fillings and toppings: instead of chocolate sprinkles, maybe you’ll see crushed Oreo cookies, nuts or coconut flakes.