What to eat in Rio de Janeiro: here are the most typical and unmissable dishes

What to eat in Rio de Janeiro: the best typical Brazilian dishes

Choosing what to eat in Rio de Janeiro, especially if you don’t know the carioca culture, might not be so easy.
For this reason, we have compiled for you a list of the delights of the carioca gastronomy that you absolutely cannot miss during your vacation in the wonderful city.

With strong African, Caribbean and Portuguese influences in its culinary history, Rio’s best dishes will not only fascinate you but make you want to eat plenty of them.

The Brazilian açai
Acai berries are the fruit of a palm tree which grows in the Amazon region, that is in the northern forests of Brazil. These berries, in the aspect and in the taste, are very similar to our blueberries.

In Rio açai is omnipresent and it is eaten as ice cream. Most Cariocas eat at least one açai a day, which is served in a container mixed with fruit, muesli and condensed milk. With that first bite of cold, lush açai, you’ll wonder why you weren’t aware of this delicacy!

Brazilian snacks: pastéis and salgados for all tastes

The smell of fried pastéis comes up every time you pass in front of any restaurant in Rio. Similar to Argentine empanadas, pastéis are small sweets that are fried until crispy. They can be filled with ground beef with eggs, ham and cheese, chicken or, as a vegetarian option, just tomato and cheese.

As for salgados, instead, they are Brazilian appetizers stuffed with ham and cheese.
Coxinha, moreover, is a typical Brazilian appetizer stuffed with chicken which reminds, especially for its shape, our Sicilian arancini. The term coxinha, which in Portuguese means small leg of chicken, indicates the shape of these morsels, which resemble a small leg.

If there is one thing Brazil is known for, it is the passion of its inhabitants for everything that has to do with meat. The churrascarias, restaurants found all over Brazil where you can eat to your heart’s content, are true temples of worship for Brazilians.

Especially during sunny Sundays, it is very typical for Brazilians to get together with family and friends to have a churrasco or a feijoada in company.

The national dish par excellence: the Brazilian feijoada

If you are wondering what you should absolutely eat in Rio de Janeiro, the answer is simple: the famous Brazilian feijoada. It is among the most famous and representative dishes of the entire country, and for this reason it is considered the national dish par excellence.

Feijoada is a dish made of black beans, with different cuts of pork. It is usually served with boiled white rice or farofa, that is manioc flour worked with butter.

In its vegan version, feijoada can be cooked without meat by using smoked seitan instead of bacon, tofu instead of pork loin and sausages or vegetable sausages instead of pork sausage.

The caipirinha is a typically Brazilian cocktail, based on cachaça, lime, brown sugar (white) and ice.

In Rio de Janeiro they sell caipirinhas in every corner of the city: on the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, in the city center (Lapa), at the subway stop, and in any bar or restaurant.

Usually, when you buy it at any street vendor on the street with his cart, its price is 10 reais, or about 2 euros.

If you want to try different types of cachaça, even more expensive and sophisticated, then you should definitely go to the “Academia da Cachaça”, a bar and restaurant located in the Leblon district. Here you will also find an excellent feijoada as well as many different varieties of cachaça.

From our correspondent in Brazil Lucia Schettino


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