My friends often think that Brazilian dishes are your typical South American dishes, but they’re not. I like to think of Brazilian culinary as the Super Smash Bros of Portuguese, African, Italian, Arabic and Japanese cuisines. I know, I know. A lot of my favourite Brazilian dishes are improved versions of Portuguese/African/Italian/Arabic/Japanese dishes.
For better understanding, I’ll give you a few examples. Let’s take the Italian, Arabic and Japanese dishes into consideration:
- You will NEVER find any pizza alike Brazilian pizzas. In fact, the city of Sao Paulo is actually known for having some of the best pizzas in the world (take that, Italy) mostly because of the unbelievable variety of flavours and toppings.
- I have been living in Toronto for about 6 years and there is a large Arabic population here. I thought it was great because I love Arabic food. It turns out that Brazilian Arabic food is similar, but tastes very differently – often because it’s cooked with Brazilian techniques. I will never find kibbeh or sfiha that warms my heart as much.
- Do not get me started on the Japanese cuisine in Brazil. My mouth WATERS when I think of the Brazilian handrolls… they are HUGE. There are SO MANY extra ingredients, other than your typical handroll ingredients. Our temakis are honestly out of this world!
But enough about the Super Smash Bros of world cuisines… Let’s talk about dishes that are specifically Brazilian! These are my favourites:
Churrasco is the classic Brazilian barbecue. If you’re a meat eater, I cannot recommend this enough — find your nearest good quality Brazilian Steakhouse and go for the all-you-can-eat. You WILL NOT be disappointed. If there aren’t any in your area, that’s okay! Check out this recipe!
I haven’t eaten feijoada in possibly 2 years, and that kills me. It’s the most typically Brazilian meal ever: rice, black beans, pork, sauteed greens and farofa (toasted cassava flour). Some people like to eat it with an orange slice or even some banana slices. I think it’s delicious either way! Check out this recipe!
Just thinking about moqueca makes my mouth water. It’s a fantastic fish stew typically cooked in Northern Brazil, with tomatoes, onions, garlic and coriander. Yum! Check out this recipe!
If the Portuguese ever did have any influence in Brazil, bacalhau was it. Bacalhau is a salted codfish, and it can be cooked in countless ways. I personally love this recipe, but you can definitely play around with it! So long as you pair it with potatoes, you’re GOLDEN.
Finally, something I’ve eaten recently! Coxinhas are the most popular chicken croquettes ever. Trust me when I tell you it will blow your mind away. Here is a good recipe for authentic coxinhas!
I never know how to describe a pastel. It’s basically a crispy pie fried in vegetable oil, filled with the yummiest fillings — usually cheese, ground beef, tomatoes… all the good stuff. They’re basically considered fast food back home. Here’s a recipe.
7. Pao de Queijo
Pao de Queijo is a Brazilian cheese bread, which generally melts in your mouth when fresh. Some people like to eat it with requeijao, which is the Brazilian cream cheese equivalent. Here’s a recipe.
Brazilian culture can be defined by birthday parties involving brigadeiro. Here’s a recipe.
9. Pudim de Leite
Pudim de Leite is the flan equivalent in every Brazilian home. It’s SO smooth, and soft, and it honestly feels like your biting into a cloud. Here’s a recipe.
10. Mousse de Maracuja
Alas, my all-time favourite dessert: the passionfruit mousse. This is the ultimate simple dessert that should be in everyone’s bucket list to try at least ONCE. Here is a recipe!