Delicious Brazilian Food From Each State of Brazil
- Wednesday November 8th, 2023
- Posted by: Amanda Ennes
- Category: Brazil
When it comes to food, Brazil takes the gold medal. From delicious appetizers to mouthwatering main courses and side dishes, and out-of-this-world desserts, Brazilian food offers something for every palate. But that is not all — the diversity of tastes and ingredients is also unbelievable. Being a multicultural country, Brazil offers different kinds of food in every state of the country.
From the delicious açaí from the North to the pão de queijo from Minas Gerais. From the pequi from Goiás to the churrasco of the Rio Grande do Sul. Let us take you on a trip to the flavorful world of Brazilian food from each state of Brazil.
Additional reading: Brazilian Food: Main Traditional Brazilian Dishes.
The States of Brazil
Before we start, let us give you a summary of the regions and states of Brazil. However, you can also learn all about it on our blog post Regions of Brazil: States & Main Characteristics.
The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) geopolitically divides Brazil into five regions. This division considers geographic aspects of the country, social and cultural elements, and economic factors. The five regions of Brazil are North, Northeast, Central-West, Southeast, and South.
Of course, the cuisine in these states is also diverse and rich. For the purpose of this guide, we will only share one dish from each state of Brazil. But do not hesitate to search for other dishes online, as you would not want to miss the delectable recipes from each corner of Brazil.
X-caboquinho is a sandwich and cultural heritage of Manaus. This delicacy is prepared with a bread roll, coalho cheese, fried pacovã banana, butter, and tucumã, an exotic tropical fruit.
Damurida is a hot soup made with tucupi, chicory, jambú, and a mix of different hot peppers.
Camarão no Bafo is a delectable seafood dish from Amapá. Fresh shrimp are marinated in a blend of local spices and herbs, then sealed in a container and gently steamed over an open flame. This cooking method preserves the shrimp’s tenderness, infusing them with aromatic flavors. The dish offers a taste of the sea, reflecting the vibrant culinary heritage of Amapá.
Açaí is a Brazilian fruit from the Amazon forest — it is considered to be a superfood because of all the nutrients and vitamins it has. In many parts of the country, people eat açaí as a smoothie or ice cream. However, in the North of Brazil, locals consume it in nature, not adding any sweeteners or salt.
Pará leads the production of açaí with almost 90% of the market. Over there, the plain açaí cream is served as a side dish to fish, shrimp, or farofa.
Amor Perfeito is a very popular type of biscuit in Tocantins. Tapioca starch, coconut milk, refined sugar, butter, and a pinch of salt are the few ingredients that make this treat famous in the state.
Tacacá is a popular traditional dish in Rondônia, featuring a flavorful soup made with jambu leaves, dried shrimp, yellow pepper, and tucupi, a sauce derived from cassava. The dish offers a unique culinary experience due to the tingling sensation caused by the jambu leaves. Tacacá showcases the diverse flavors and ingredients found in the Amazon region.
Baixaria is a traditional dish from Acre, known for its hearty and comforting flavors. Its preparation consists of mixing hydrated corn couscous with butter, well-seasoned ground beef, fried egg, tomato, coriander, and chives.
Sururu ao Leite de Coco is a beloved seafood dish in Alagoas. It features sururu, a type of small clam or mollusk, cooked with coconut milk, cilantro, onions, and various spices. The creamy and savory stew is often served with rice and accompanied by traditional side dishes like pirão (a thick fish or seafood gravy) and farofa.
Bahia is popular for its spicy food and bold flavors. If you are visiting this state, you should try a bit of it all. Just be aware if you have an upset stomach, as most food might be a little hard on you. Nevertheless, the Acarajé is definitely the star of Bahian cuisine.
Acarajé is a black-eyed peas doughnut that is fried in dendê oil. The doughnut, then, is cut in half and filled with chili peppers, dried shrimp, and vatapá (a traditional paste made of milled bread, coconut milk, peppers, parsley, and other ingredients).
You cannot visit Bahia and not try Acarajé. But here is a tip: If the server asks you if you want it ‘hot’ or not, be aware that they are talking about the amount of hot sauce in your dish. And when people ask for it to be ‘hot’, they are not kidding you. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Carangueijo, or crab, is a beloved delicacy in Ceará. The dish features succulent crab meat seasoned with local spices and served in its shell.
Guaraná Jesus is an iconic soft drink from Maranhão. Pharmacist Jesus Norberto Gomes created this drink to be refreshing with a unique flavor. Due to its exclusive formula and sweet flavor, it became one of the most recognized and loved brands in Brazil.
Arrumadinho is a popular dish in Paraíba, consisting of shredded sun-dried meat mixed with beans, manioc flour, diced onions, tomatoes, and green peppers.
Cartola became an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Pernambuco in 2009. This traditional dessert consists of roasted banana and Sertão cheese topped with cinnamon and sugar.
In Piauí, people craft Cajuína, a traditional beverage, by combining cashew juice, sugar, and water. They extract the juice from ripe cashew fruit, creating a sweet and refreshing drink. Cajuína is popular in the region due to its distinctive flavor, capturing the essence of tropical cashew fruit.
Read more: Brazilian fruits and where to buy them in Rio.
Rio Grande do Norte
Ginga com Tapioca is a popular street food in Rio Grande do Norte. It features small fried fish, the ginga (also called manjubinha), served with tapioca flatbread.
In Sergipe, they prepare Caranguejada, a flavorful crab stew, by cooking crabs with coconut milk, palm oil, vegetables, and spices. This cooking method results in a rich and aromatic seafood stew that showcases the region’s culinary expertise.
Arroz com pequi is a very traditional dish in the Center-West region of Brazil, where the pequi grows. The pequi is a Brazilian fruit, cooked together with white rice, giving it a yellowish coloration. The pequi is actually used for different Brazilian food all over the Central-West Region of Brazil.
In Mato Grosso, people prepare Doce de Caju, a traditional dessert, by cooking cashew fruit pulp with sugar until it thickens into a sweet and sticky preserve. The dessert highlights the natural sweetness of cashew fruit and is frequently enjoyed on its own or utilized as a filling for cakes and pastries.
Mato Grosso do Sul
Sobá is a noodle soup that is a popular dish in Mato Grosso do Sul. It consists of wheat noodles and omelette strips served in a flavorful broth made from pork and soy sauce. The soup is generously garnished with green onions, cilantro, and sometimes crispy garlic, adding freshness and crunch to each spoonful. Yes, this dish is of Japanese origins and was brought to Brazil in the 1950s. It became so popular in Mato Grosso do Sul that it became a historical and cultural heritage of the city of Campo Grande in 2006.
The Federal District of Brazil is a relatively new territory, and it seems there is no traditional Brazilian food originating there. However, there is a very popular dish in this region: Pato no Tucupi, from Northeast origins. It is a flavorful dish, featuring duck cooked in tucupi, a sauce made from fermented cassava. Seasoning the dish with local spices and herbs creates a rich and aromatic gravy.
Additional reading: All About Brasília: The Capital City of Brazil.
Moqueca is a fish stew. The base ingredients are onions, tomatoes, coriander, and pepper. This dish originated from the indigenous people. The type of Moqueca served in Espírito Santo is called Moqueca Capixaba, and they use ‘urucum’ among their ingredients.
Minas Gerais is the mother of comfy Brazilian food. It is so hard to choose just one dish from this state because it seems we are committing a big injustice to the other recipes. However, we can all agree the most famous dish from Minas (and probably Brazil, to be honest) is Pão de Queijo.
Pão de Queijo is a snack in which the main ingredients are cheese and manioc starch or tapioca flour. It is a popular treat all over the country, but Minas Gerais produces the best ones! The state itself is also famous for its good quality cheese and delicious food! The crust of the cheese ball is crunchy with a soft and elastic consistency on the inside.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is famous for its landmarks, beaches, and lively atmosphere. However, the state is not famous for its cuisine, that is true. Nonetheless, the Filé à Oswaldo Aranha is a popular dish in Carioca restaurants, especially for lunch.
Oswaldo Aranha was a Brazilian politician, diplomat, and lawyer. During the ’30s, he used to go to the same restaurant in Lapa every week and order a steak with garlic, potatoes, and farofa. People who also went to the same restaurant started ordering the same thing and it quickly became a popular dish around the city.
Read more: Carioca menu: 5 must-try food in Rio de Janeiro.
Virado à Paulista is a traditional Brazilian food from São Paulo popular for its hearty and flavorful components. It consists of rice, tutu de feijão (a creamy bean purée), sautéed collard greens, pork chops, a fried egg, and banana slices. The combination of these elements creates a balanced and satisfying meal, highlighting the diverse culinary influences present in São Paulo’s cuisine.
Paraná’s renowned slow-cooked beef stew, Barreado, features beef, bacon, onions, tomatoes, and various spices sealed in a clay pot with a dough made from flour and water. The dish simmers for several hours, melding the flavors and tenderizing the meat.
Rio Grande do Sul
Not like any barbecue, the Brazilian churrasco uses great cuts of meat grilled in a barbecue grill usually made of bricks. The cuts of meat used in a traditional Brazilian barbecue are picanha, alcatra, filet mignon, fraldinha, and cupim. Churrascaria is the name of a restaurant where you pay a fixed price to have all-you-can-eat churrasco. They also have a great buffet with lots of side dishes.
Rio Grande do Sul is famous for its good-quality churrasco and cuts of beef, as well as their unique way of preparation.
Tainha is a popular fish dish in Santa Catarina, especially during the annual Tainha fishing season. The fish is typically grilled or baked and seasoned with local herbs and spices.
Brazilian food you must try while in Brazil
We might be biased to say this, but Brazilian food is the best. There are different cuisines all over Brazil as each region has its own traditional spices, way of cooking, and special ingredients. Nonetheless, if this is your first time in Brazil, there are a few dishes you can not miss. Check this list of Brazilian food and drinks you must try while in Brazil. From savory dishes to desserts and sodas, there is something for everyone.
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