Barbecued meats with white rice and black beans, salty bar snacks to help the caipirinhas flow, fresh tropical fruits: all are synonymous with Rio de Janeiro. And although the city may be most famous for its beaches and nightlife, Rio is also a marvelous, if oft-overlooked, food destination. Here are some of the best gastronomic offerings to sample on your next trip.
Ask any local to make a lunch recommendation, and you’re bound to hear a chorus singing the praises of the Brasilerinho, a steak with French fries, rice, beans, farofa (toasted seasoned cassava flour), and a fried egg. On weekends, it’s customary to eat feijoida, a comforting pork-and–black bean stew that’s served with rice, farofa, collard greens, and orange slices (and usually followed by a nap). Vegetarian feijoadas made with tofu can be found in an increasing number of restaurants. In the evening, Cariocas (Rio locals) accompany their cold beer with petiscos, salty fried bar snacks. Juice bars, with their freshly squeezed pineapple and mint or orange and acerola juices, are another favorite, as is anything made with acai, a Brazilian superfruit.
Discover the region’s fruits, vegetables, grains, and flours on a tour of a local market.
Master the feijoada, Brazil’s national dish, in a cooking class.
Try a bunch of new dishes (some suitable for vegetarians) at a kilo buffet restaurant, where you just pay for what you put on your plate.
Challenge yourself to an all-you-can-eat feast at a churrasceria, which specializes in grilled and roasted meats.
Explore the city’s bohemian neighborhoods and learn the secret to a great caipirinha.
Walk along the beach and try an acai at one of the many juice bars.