In a previous post (‘Feathers, tassles and barely there-beachwear’), I mentioned that I’d been to a Churrasco. A churrasco is a Brazilian BBQ, which is quite traditional here in Brazil. You will find a ‘Churrascurria’ anywhere you go in Brazil. It’s not, however, the typical BBQ you’re probably thinking of. It’s in a restaurant, for a start, indoors, not outside. I’m not entirely sure if the meat is cooked on a BBQ grill, but I know it’s put on skewer and cooked like a rotiserie (‘Churrasco’ actually means rotiserie, but it’s known as a Brazilian BBQ). The churrascurrias ar buffet restaurants that serve a variety of salads, pastas, rice, and we even had fish at ours too. There are also accompanying sauces to the salads. The waiters come around with the various meats on the large metal skewers and cut you a slice, if you desire. There are all types of meat, and most of them are delicious. We also had grilled banana and chips with the meal too.
Another Brazilian dish is an actual BBQ. Apparently, Brazilians are crazy about BBQs, and again, a variety of salad, pasta and meat is served at these.
Feijoada is another typical Brazilian dish. This consists of rice and a black-bean sauce with a variety of meats in it. I liked it, but I wouldn’t rush to eat it again. I prefer the black-bean sauce just without the meat, for some reason, it tastes nicer that way.
Empanadas are big in Brazil too, you can find them at most bakeries, also known as establishments that serve ‘Lanchon’- I guess this is the Brazilian way of saying bakery, but I’m not entirely sure on that. You can get empanadas with cheese, meat or chicken. They’re all quite nice, but it’s a lot of pastry. They are a bit like pasties, just not so heavy, in my opinion anyway (I’m not a big pasty eater at home, but thats the best way to describe them).
Like in Perú, churros are pretty common in Brazil, but I found that they are only mainly available in Río, so I’m not sure if this is just a Río thing or tourists, but nonetheless, they are available.
On two occasions, I’ve also discovered a ‘Buffet sorvete’, which means ‘ice-cream bufet’, and yes, it is as good as it sounds. It’s basically ‘make your own ice-cream combo and add whatever sweets, sauces and toppings you want’, and you pay for it based on weight (a bit like an ice-cream pick n mix). I found this on Ilha Grande, and again in Paraty, though again, I’m not sure if these are common or just area-exclusive, but if you are ever passing through there, I’d recommend it, even if you do end up with a mixture of rum and raisin, chocolate, mint chocolate chip, lemon, merangue and a load of random sweets as toppings. It makes for an interesting flavour.
Sticking with the theme of buffets, I’ve seen a lot of ‘pay per kilo’ buffets around Brazil. I’m not entirely sure how economical/nice the food is, as I’ve never been, but they are everywhere you go.
And now for the drinks. The main alcoholic drink in Brazil is Caipirihna. It’s a mixture of a certain type of rum-based licor, ice, limes, sugar, and more rum-based licor. And because it’s not the UK, there are no measured spirits, it’s free-pour, and it’s strong. And it has a nice lime flavour to it. Despite my insanely sweet tooth, I did find after a while (and a night of drinking about five of them) that they can be a bit too sickly. Definitely worth a try though.
As far a lager goes (which is cheap in Brazil), there is Brahma, Skol and Intaipava, all nice, as far as I’m aware. I’ve tried them all, but I’m no lager expert.
Another popular drink in Brazil (non-alcoholic), is té maté. You’ll find people carrying around their flasks of hot water and their proper maté cups (which are wooden or metal cups without a handle). As maté is made of leaves and natural plants, it is drank using a straw that acts a sieve. The part you put in your cup is covered over, but has holes in it so you can drink the liquid, which also means the leaves etc are stopped from going into your mouth. I haven’t tried maté in Brazil, but I do know the Argentinian version is delicious (and really good for you).