Brazil is a big country with 5 different regions: North, Northeast, Center-West, South-East, and South. As a matter of fact, the people, traditions, customs, and food in these regions are very different and they are all mesmerizing when you come to experience it all. We use to say there are “lots of different Brazils within Brazil”. Therefore, these differences impact the many traditional Brazilian foods we have here.
Brazil is a rich land — rich in culture, natural resources, and diversity. Brazilian people love their food. And they should! Indeed, Brazilian food is usually healthy, well-seasoned, and very tasty.
We could make a list of hundreds of typical Brazilian food. But let’s check a few of the most famous traditional Brazilian dishes you will find all over the country:
Brazilian Food: Appetizers
Pão de Queijo (cheese bread or chesse balls)
Cheese and manioc starch or tapioca flour are the main ingredients for this snack. 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.
If you want to learn more about the famous coxinha, you should read Gringo-Rio’s article about it. Coxinha is a very popular snack in Brazil. Everyone loves it! Coxinha is a fried dough filled with shredded and well-seasoned chicken breasts. Coxinha means “little tight” in Portuguese because of the shape of the dough, resembling a chicken thigh.
Queijo Minas (cheese from Minas)
This Brazilian cheese is very popular in Brazil. It is original of the state of Minas Gerais, in the South-East region of Brazil, hence its name. The cheese comes in three varieties: fresh, half-aged, and aged. Queijo Minas is a popular choice for breakfast in Brazil. Its characteristics are tenderness, moistness, and spongy texture.
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). Acarajé is a traditional dish of Bahia, a state in the Northeast of Brazil.
Brazilian Food: Main Course
Arroz com feijão (rice and beans)
This is the basis of a daily meal in Brazil. Many foreigners find it weird, but it is true — Brazilians tend to eat rice and beans every day of their lives, for both lunch and dinner. A typical meal in Brazil consists of rice, beans, some kind of meat and some kind of vegetable.
Probably the most famous of all traditional foods in Brazil, Feijoada is a bean and pork stew. The main ingredients for a true Feijoada are black beans, sausages, bacon, pork’s feet, ears and tail, pork’s ribs and jerked beef. It is customary to serve it with white rice, collard greens, oranges, and farofa.
Farofa is the most popular side dish in Brazil. Manioc flour is the base ingredient for the Farofa. The flour is roasted in butter until golden brown and crunchy. People also use different toppings to make their farofa taste even better, such as scrambled eggs, bacon, onions, banana, and nuts.
Carne-de-Sol is some kind of jerked beef widely used in the Brazilian Northeast cuisine. It is a heavily salted beef that had been exposed to the sun for a few days to cure. Carne-de-Sol is usually served with fried manioc, farofa and clarified butter.
Moqueca is a fish stew. The base ingredients are onions, tomatoes, coriander, and pepper. This dish originated from the indigenous people. There are two kinds of Moqueca: Bahiana, from the state of Bahia; and Capixaba, from the state of Espírito Santo. The difference between the two of them is the Moqueca Capixaba only adds urucum to the ingredients mentioned above. Meanwhile, for the Moqueca Bahiana, cookers also add bell peppers, palm oil, and coconut milk.
Tacacá is a kind of soup. The main ingredients are tapioca flour, shrimp and tucupi (a thick yellow broth made of manioc and seasoning) and seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper, and an herb called jambu. This dish is traditional in the North of Brazil.
Arroz com Pequi (rice with pequi)
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 the white rice, giving it a yellowish coloration.
Brazilian Food: Dessert
Açaí is a Brazilian fruit from the Amazon forest — it is considered to be a superfood because of all nutrients and vitamins it has. In many parts of the country, people eat açaí as a smoothie or ice cream. The pulp is mixed with fruits, syrup, or honey and served in a bowl. Common toppings for açaí are granola, banana, and powdered milk. However, in the North of Brazil, locals consume it in nature, not adding any sweeteners or salt. For lots of people in the North, açaí is a side dish for fish, shrimp, or farofa.
Brigadeiro (chocolate fudge balls)
Brigadeiro is a chocolate fudge ball made of condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter. Then, it is rolled in chocolate sprinkles.
Paçoca is a candy made out of ground peanuts, sugar, and salt. You can find paçoca in candy stores all year long, but this dessert is very famous during the traditional Festa Junina during June and July in Brazil.
Romeu e Julieta (Romeo and Juliet)
Romeu e Julieta is a very simple dessert, yet very popular in Brazilian homes. Just take a slice of Minas Cheese and a slice of goiabada (known as guava cheese for English-speakers) and eat them together. Voilà! The cheese represents Romeo and the guava represents Juliet — opposite ingredients because one is savory and the other is sweet.
How many of these Brazilian dishes have you already tried?
Caminhos Language Centre is the largest Portuguese school in Brazil. We offer group and private classes for you to study Brazilian Portuguese with native and qualified teachers. Caminhos also offers online Portuguese classes, using a digital platform that works just like a virtual classroom. Keep studying Portuguese at home!