What I knew about Brazilian food before my recent work trip to Sao Paulo could be written on the back of a stamp. In large writing. What I now know about Brazilian food can be written in two blog posts with a few photos.
The various breads, cakes and pastries served as breakfast were definitely to my liking. I particularly enjoyed the banana-filled bread, corn cake, and bread filled with dulce de leche.
Other breakfast treats included the ubiquitous pao de queijo. The trick is to wait for a fresh batch of these cheesy bread balls to be served at the buffet before pouncing!
Like many other countries, but sadly not Britain, lunch is taken very seriously in Brazil i.e. a proper sit down meal is the norm. Many lunch places are buffets or buffets augmented with cooked to order food. As there are throngs of office workers at these places, the buffet doesn't get too tired and wilted. In fact, there seems to be none of the stigma that can be attached to buffets elsewhere.
A typical lunch might consist of a self-serve helping of salad, feijao com arroz (rice and beans), and fried eggs. And as if by magic, when you return to your table, mixed platters of fried chicken, bbq beef brisket, pork loin and ribs are waiting to be devoured. Better than a sarnie, that's for sure!
I also went for a buffet, one night for dinner, as it's a good way to sample a wide range of food when dining solo. For a fixed price of R$23 (£9), you can order drinks from the bar up to this value as well as tuck into the buffet for 'free'.
As you can see, there was a lot of meat including beef skewers, ribs, fried chicken and sausages. However, it was croquette corner that grabbed my attention. The bacalhau croquettes were my favourite.
The city's Italian food is also very good, which should come as no surprise as Sao Paulo is Italian in the same way that Boston is Irish, if you catch my drift. I enjoyed pizza from wood-fired ovens as well as pasta with a local twist of being mixed in with bacalhau.
Regrettably, I didn't get a chance to go to Liberdade, Sao Paulo's Japanese quarter, but suffice to say, the sushi and sashimi that I did sample was very good.
As good as the food in this post is, I'm afraid you're going to have to wait for Part 2 for the really good stuff such as feijoada and churrascaria. Excited? You should be.
Postscript: A friend of mine expressed surprise that I ate salad in Brazil, as he believes their tap water isn't safe enough for vegetables to be washed in. He kind of has a point as I only drank bottled water in Brazil. That said, I think his point of view is over-cautious and offensive. Or to quote the exact words I used in the pub, I told him that he was being a complete knob.
The irony of it all is that my friend has the cojones to climb Kilimanjaro, yet is scared shitless by the thought of eating lettuce in Brazil. Anyway, what do you think? Am I being harsh? Or is my mate right to fear salad in certain countries? Vote Now!
Would you eat salad in Brazil?
Thank you for voting!