World Cup Food: 9 Brazilian Foods You’ll Want to Try
World Cup Food: 9 Brazilian Foods You'll Want to Try
This year Brazil is hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup — here are some incredible local dishes to help you channel that Brazilian spirit.
This delicious bean stew is often referred to as the national dish of Brazil, so you should try it at least once when you visit the country. It’s made with black beans and a plethora of salted pork and beef products (like pork trimmings, smoked pork ribs, bacon, smoked sausage and jerked beef), all cooked up in a big clay pot. In some parts of the country, they also add vegetables like cabbage, kale, potatoes, carrots, okra, pumpkin and sometimes even banana. These are often added at the end of the cooking process so the juices from the stew can infuse them without making them limp. The end broth is usually a glorious, dark-purplish brown color.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Carlaarena
Moqueca de Camarão
This Brazilian fish stew with fried shrimps is one of the country’s most famous dishes. It’s easy to make, has great texture, and is full of flavor. The shrimp is fried in palm oil with spices and coconut milk added at the end along with tomatoes, peppers and vegetables.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Fran's Restaurante Tarituba
Romeu e Julieta
This is a quick and quick traditional dessert of guava paste and white cheese stacked on top of each other. The paste has a sweet, slightly gritty quality that, combined with the saltiness of the cheese, makes it a big winner. Brazilians eat it as a kind of dessert sandwich or with a piece of paste and a piece of cheese on a fork… no definitive word, though, on why it’s named after the famous Shakespeare play!
Image Credit: Flickr/ Felipe Flores Ferman
This tasty meal is made from shrimp, coconut milk, bread and a special paste made from finely ground peanuts and palm oil. The shrimp can often be swapped out with chicken, tuna or cod if you want a heartier meal and it’s often eaten with white rice or acarajé.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Roberto Guglielim
Peeled black-eyed peas are mashed into ball then deep-fried (similar to falafel balls) in palm oil. They’re then split in half and stuffed with green and red tomatoes, fried shrimp, spicy pepper sauce and a variety of other ingredients.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Leonardo Araujo
Pão de Queijo
This is a simple but popular dish, often eaten as a snack or just before a meal (or as a meal depending on how many you eat, really). They’re really just little, doughy buns with cheese in the middle, baked until they’re golden brown. They’re crispy on the outside but fluffy and juicy on the inside.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Jeanette Pantani
This is really Brazil’s answer to the chicken pot pie — it’s a baked casserole usually made with chicken, olives, hearts of palm, corn and other fillings. If you’re not keen on chicken you can use beef, shrimp or any other type of meat instead.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Noelle Aduino
Chocolate lovers are in for treat when they visit Brazil — the country takes their chocolate very seriously! This bonbon dessert is a hot favorite year-round: They’re chocolate truffles made with cocoa powder and condensed milk instead of cream and covered in chocolate sprinkles.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Rodrigo Senna
A baked dessert made of egg yolks, sugar and ground coconut flakes baked into a round cake-like shape… it’s seriously sweet, and seriously addictive.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Debora Diensmann
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
It's almost time for the FIFA World Cup, the football spectacle that is hands-down the biggest and most expensive sporting event in the world, more so than even the Olympic Games. Almost half a million soccer fans are expected to descend on host country Brazil in June this year to watch the soccer tournament, experience the South American culture and, hopefully, sample the local fare.
Brazilian food is a big part of the country's culture — it blends together flavors from all over South America as well as Portugal, Spain (countries that colonized the continent and left their marks on the culture, cuisine, and language), and Africa (many African slave were brought over to work the plantations and brought many local flavors with them). The combination of native dishes with the immigrant-influenced flavors, and those continental influences make Brazilian food unique, complex, and deliciously rich.
Vegetables and fruits play a big role in almost every Brazilian dish — the dozens of varieties of potato across the continent (from buttery to waxy and on to starchy) — are all used in multiple combinations as a hearty base for many meals. Then there's cassava, guaraná, açaí, cumaru and tacacá, all ingredients that differ between locales but feature heavily in Brazilian cooking.
Brazilian food is generally rich and spicy. Much of it is either fried or slow-cooked to bring out the flavors. Palm oil is often used for the frying and coconut oil is added to bring all the flavors together. Vatapá, for example, is a creamy but fragrant dish made from shrimp, bread, and of course, coconut milk. The milk is also added to moqueca de camarão, a traditional fish stew with big flavors and spices.
No matter how your team does in the World Cup, one surefire bet is that the Brazilian food will not disappoint and with so much variety, anyone should be able to find a local specialty to tempt their palates. And if you can't afford to go Brazil this year (again, it's one of the most expensive sporting events in the world), then try out some of these Brazilian favorites in your country to create your own South American taste adventure.
Check out the slideshow above for the best Brazilian foods.