Here’s a list of Brazilian food and drinks you must try while in Brazil. Among savory dishes and desserts, there’s something for everyone.
Arroz com feijão
The classic rice and beans – the king and the queen of Brazilian food. Most Brazilians eat white rice and black beans every day – lunch AND dinner. That might sound crazy, eating the same thing every day, but rice and beans are one of the most complete dishes from the nutritional point of view. It contains lots of protein and fiber and also gives you lots of energy.
Farofa is a traditional Brazilian dish made mostly of manioc flour. It may be used as a side dish to almost every meal – that is because Brazilians love farofa so very much! Farofa can be plain and made only with manioc flour, butter, and salt, or have other toppings, such as banana, onions, sausage, eggs, and more.
Moqueca is seafood and its main ingredients are cuts of fish, a well-seasoned sauce, coconut milk, peppers, cilantro, and oils. Its consistency may resemble a soup, but it is mostly fish with a very thick and delicious sauce.
Pastel com caldo de cana
Although Pastel is not a Brazilian invention (it is actually an Asian snack), the combination of pastel and caldo de cana (sugarcane juice) is very popular in Brazil. The combo is often sold in food stands at any street market. Ground beef or cheese are the most popular flavors of Pastel.
Acarajé is a kind of doughnut made of black-eyed peas, fried in dendê oil, filled with chili peppers, dried shrimp, and vatapá (a traditional paste made of milled bread, coconut milk, peppers, parsley, and other ingredients). This is a traditional dish from Bahia, a state in the Northeast of Brazil.
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. Other kinds of meat used in Brazilian churrasco are pork sausage, chicken thigh, chicken wings, and chicken heart. 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.
Feijoada is the national dish of Brazil. It is a stew of black beans with a variety of pork or beef, including jerk beef, pork trimmings (ears, tail, and feet), bacon, pork ribs, and sausages. Brazilians usually eat Feijoada on Saturdays, along with rice, farofa, collard greens, and sliced oranges.
Pão de Queijo
Brazilian cheese bread from the state of Minas Gerais. It is a breakfast dish or snack. Besides cheese, its main ingredient is sour starch. Pão de queijo is definitely one of the most popular Brazilian food.
Coxinha is a fried snack made of a potato and flour dough filled with shredded chicken meat. The shape of Coxinha resembles a chicken thigh – Coxinha means little thigh in Portuguese. Just go to any snack bar or cafe and you will find Coxinha there. Just give it a try!
Açaí is a Brazilian fruit from the Amazon forest. It is usually consumed as a smoothie, served in a bowl for you to eat with a spoon. It is commonly topped with granola and banana.
Romeu e Julieta
The most common Brazilian dessert. It is very simple to make: just take a slice of Goiabada (guava paste) and a slice of Queijo Minas (white Brazilian cheese made in the state of Minas Gerais, southeast of Brazil) and eat them together. This dessert has the name Romeo and Juliet because the cheese is very savory and the guava paste very sweet.
Just like açaí, guaraná is another fruit from the Amazon forest. It is mostly used to make beverages, such as juice, soft drinks, and syrup.
Biscoito Globo com Mate Leão
This is the most traditional food from Rio de Janeiro. Biscoito Globo is a well-known and popular brand of this ring-shaped Brazilian snack made of manioc starch. Mate Leão is a popular brand of iced yerba mate tea. Together, they are the favorite duo on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, sold by beach vendors.
One of the most loved Brazilian food – or better, Brazilian dessert. Brigadeiro is a chocolate fudge ball made of condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter, and chocolate sprinkles. You can find Brigadeiro in every birthday party, but Brazilians also eat them casually at home – you just do not need to roll it into a ball, just eat it out of a plate with a spoon.
Caipirinha is the most traditional cocktail from Brazil. It is made with cachaça (a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented sugarcane juice), limes, and sugar. It is the first thing people order when they go out at night to a bar (well, if they are not having a beer – Brazilians absolutely love a cold beer). You probably know caipirinha, right? If you ever heard anything about Brazil, Caipirinha is probably the first thing you have learned about this country.
Bonus: We could list more than 100 amazing Brazilian food for you to try. But that is a little too much, so here are some more you should check out: strogonoff, pudim de leite, empada, cocada, carne de sol com aipim, creme de papaya com cassis, tapioca, salpicão… The list goes on…
Discover other Brazilian food: Check our blog post Brazilian Food: Main Traditional Brazilian Dishes.
Learn Brazilian Portuguese in the best Portuguese School in Rio de Janeiro. Caminhos Language Centre is the best option if you are looking for Portuguese Courses for Foreigners in Brazil. Check our Student Visa for Brazil and Homestay in Rio de Janeiro pages.