Brazil is in the world spotlight this month as the hosts of the Summer Olympics. I grew up there and am thrilled that the attention has turned to my beautiful homeland.
When I think about my childhood, my memories are often of delicious meals and foods enjoyed with my extended family. In fact, I so missed many of my country’s popular dishes when I first moved to Portland, Oregon that it prompted me to start Brazi Bites, to bring Brazilian cheese bread to the US.
Here I’m sharing 7 Brazilian foods that I believe should be on everyone’s bucket list. Whether you’re traveling to Brazil or cheering on your team from the comfort of your home, these 7 dishes will give you a true taste of Brazilian culture. I hope you enjoy!
1. Pão de Queijo
Brazilian Cheese Bread
‘Pão de Queijo’ is available everywhere in Brazil for good reason. Soft and chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside, and full of flavor, ‘pão de queijo’ is my idea of the perfect food. If you have a gathering, which is a huge part of Brazilian culture, there’s going to be ‘cheese bread’ on the table. Brazi Bites brake straight from frozen are are ready to enjoy in minutes. Available in the freezer section of thousands of groceries stores nationwide.
Brazilian Chicken Salad
Salpicão is very popular served chilled and is eaten all over the country for lunch on hot Brazilian days. In addition to shredded chicken and mayonnaise, Salpicão has lots of pieces of fruit and vegetables and fresh lime juice. Another common addition? Using shoestring potatoes as a topper for a bit of extra crunch. Get the recipe here.
Brigadeiros — think fudge balls-meet-truffles — are very easy to make with only 4 ingredients. And they taste heavenly! The not-so-secret ingredient is sweetened condensed milk which is an ingredient of choice in so many of the desserts eaten in Brazil including tortes, flans and custards. Get the recipe here.
This is more than a beloved comfort food; it’s known as Brazil’s national dish and it is a tradition to make the slow-cooking stew at home with family on Saturdays. While every Brazilian household seems to have their own recipe for feijoada, the basic ingredients are black beans, pork (sausage or parts), onions and garlic. Get the recipe here.
This is an incredibly popular, traditional Brazilian accompaniment made by toasting manioc or maize flour in a skillet greased with palm oil, butter or bacon fat. It has a crunchy texture, a nutty flavor, and is often served alongside or on top of feijoada as well as beans and rice.
6. Arroz Doce
It’s sweet, creamy and is easy to make. Arroz doce, which is a favorite Brazilian dessert of almost everyone I know, can be made with rice, sugar, eggs, milk, cinnamon and lemon zest.
7. Açaí Bowls
Pronounced “ah-sigh-EE” – Açaí is a berry harvested from açaí palm trees, which are native to the rainforests of South America. Açaí is antioxidant-rich and a nutritious powerhouse. My favorite way to enjoy it is having an Açaí Bowl after a long hike or bike ride. I’m excited to see how popular it has become here in the US in recent years with companies like Sambazon bringing it to retailers everywhere local spots offering Açaí Bowls.