There's this beautiful country in South America called Brazil -- maybe you've heard of it. Well, if you haven't, here's a secret: It has the best food (and people) in the world.
Prove it, you say? Okay. Here's everything you need to know about Brazilians' heavenly cuisine.
Brazilians know that there is never an inappropriate time to devour as many miniature cheesy breads
as your stomach can handle. Pro tip: an accompanying cup of coffee will do wonders for your soul.
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If your world is devoid of the chocolate truffles known as brigadeiro
or their coconut cousins beijinho de coco,
please fix this now. Warning: you will become addicted.
carlosoliveirareis via Flickr
Let's be real, orange juice is so
basic. Did you know cashew juice is a thing that exists and that it's unbelievably delicious? Take a cue from the Brazilians who are sipping on everything from cashew, guava, cajá, cupuaçu,
passion fruit and more.
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Brazilians were big fans of açaí
long before every smoothie place in the U.S. caught onto the trend. These bowls
are super fun to make and usually less expensive when whipped up yourself.
Coffee that isn't strong enough is referred to as chafé in Brazil, which translates to "tea-coffee." A true testament to the fact that they don't believe in weak brews or tea, really. You won't find too many vanilla lattes either, they're not ones for all that jazz. They thrive on the traditional cafezinhos, which are espressos with a splash of hot water.
Photo by Beedieu via Flickr
otherwise known as fried manioc flour, is one of the most beloved Brazilian eats. It's usually on every lunch table, especially when rice is involved because it's mostly used as a topping. Also, it's simple to make -- add in scallions, bacon, sausage, eggs and pretty much anything your heart desires for a savory outcome.
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If this is the first you're hearing of the black bean and meat stew called feijoada
then I am truly, truly sorry. It's a hearty, chili-like dish but with a wider variety of meats and seasonings. Serve with rice, collard greens and orange slices for optimum Brazilian-ness. The lesser known barreado,
also a traditional meat stew, is equally delicious and undoubtedly worth several tastes.
Fernanda Ramalho via Flickr
pepper is one commonly used in Brazil to make different hot sauces and add a kick to any dish. The Scoville scale, which measures the heat of chili peppers, rates the pepper at anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 units.
For reference, consider a jalapeño, which sits anywhere from 2,5000 to 5,000 units.
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Because let's be real: a big part of the Brazilian diet is just juicy meat that's been slowly roasted over a charcoal grill via sword-looking skewers called espetos
. It can be argued that the meat in Brazil is second only to Argentina's.
So, that aside, these are some of the finest cuts on the planet. Pro tip: always order the picanha
Guilherme Atencio via Flickr
In the state of Bahia, you'll find a lot of African influences. More towards the south, you may stumble upon some German-influenced dishes. A couple of Brazilian favorites even hail from the Middle East. Kibe,
a deep-fried, finely minced beef croquette, and tabouleh,
a salad containing various finely chopped vegetables, olive oil and spices, are both common and delicious.
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a popular street food, is similar to a crepe and comes filled with either sweet or savory goodness. These tapioca treats are made from manioc flour, the same thing that's used to prepare farofa
-- Brazilians love their manioc flour. And bonus: these babies are gluten-free.
Wallace Parreiras via Flickr
The word panqueca
translates to "pancake" and is pretty much only used when referring to a savory dish. Brazilian-style pancakes are thinner than you're used to, and they're both filled and topped with various types of meat, sauces and cheeses, then baked. It's basically the delightful pizza-lasanga-burrito hybrid you never knew you needed, but always secretly wanted.
Okay, they're actually quite similar. Except requeijão
is thicker, creamier, saltier and overall just tastier. The ricotta-like cheese, used to make spreads in mostly Brazil and Portugal, is especially delicious when spread over toast or crackers and accompanied with jam.
berry is known to be a natural source of caffeine and energy, and the sweetness of its flavor is actually quite "addicting." Brazil has a soda made from this stuff, and it's heaven in a can -- honestly, there is no U.S. equivalent.
is essentially Brazil's polenta. The dish is made from cornmeal and usually has a very creamy consistency. Angu is often served with chicken, meat and okra. Pirão de mandioca
is a puree made from yucca (cassava). It's usually thicker than mashed potatoes and has a stronger flavor and richness to it.
are folk celebrations that take place all over Brazil during June, and they center around some of the best traditional foods. Above is canjica
, a porridge cooked with milk, sugar and cinnamon. Other foods to look out for at these festivals are pé de moleque
, a hardened candy made from peanuts, sugar and condensed milk, and pamonha
, a paste made from sweet corn and milk, usually wrapped and served in husks.
Dois Espressos via Flickr
is a beautiful white cheese traditionally made in the state of Minas Gerais and used for a variety of snacks. It's particularly delicious in Romeo e Julieta
, a common dessert of a sliver of cheese and guava compote pressed together for a sweet, bread-less sandwich.
You won't find as many traditional sweet pies in South America as you do in the U.S. They more often cook savory tortas that are reminiscent of chicken pot pies, and every bit as delectable. Empadão
is one such pie. Made of chicken, corn, olives and hearts of palms, it's a dish perfect for anytime of the day. Also, their torta capixaba
is a savory seafood pie made with shrimp, cod fish, more hearts of palm olives and lime. And who doesn't love pie?
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Natural coconut water does wonders for your body and health, not to mention the occasional hangover. Unfortunately, most of the stuff that's packaged and shipped out is full of sugars and preservatives. Can you imagine living in a place where you could walk down the street with a fresh coconut in hand?
That pretty much sums it up... At this point you're probably thinking, "It's true, it cannot be denied: Brazilians win the food game."
YES! In fact, check out some other things that prove Brazilians are just better at living.