The other must eat in Brazil has to be churrascaria. To the uninitiated, these are steak restaurants, where passadores (meat waiters) come by with giant skewers of different cuts of beef, along with various other treats such as sausages and chicken.
I was lucky enough to be invited to Fogo de Chao, an esteemed Sao Paulo churrascaria (muito obrigado to my colleagues, I really am lucky to work with so many great people around the world).
As I'm a great believer of 'when in Rome', a caipirinha was duly ordered. And then the onslaught began with a giant pao de queijo.
What happened next is a blur, as a swarm of passadores descended to push various cuts of beef, whose Portuguese names I can't remember. Locals consider the Picanha (rump cover) to be the best, but I'd be hard pushed to name a favourite. Every cut was amazing, with so much beefiness that I dare not eat steak in London for a good while. I also sampled the sausages and chicken, and they were damn tasty too.
With hindsight, I should have had a better strategy in terms of pacing the meal. After all, the green and red cards that signify whether you want more food or a breather are there for a reason. I also shouldn't have eaten so much from the salad bar either, although Brazilian salads are excellent (and I'm glad that you voted in favour of eating salad in Brazil in my recent poll). Unlike Botica do Quintana, I'd make a special effort to visit Fogo de Chao, and as there are three branches in Sao Paulo, there's a chance that you won't spend too long in the notorious traffic getting there.
I fell for Brazilian food on my trip to Sao Paulo in a way that I didn't for Turkish food when I was in Istanbul. Whilst it'd be fair to say that it isn't the most delicate or the most refined cuisine, there is an endearing, honest and hearty quality about Brazilian food. My only criticism is that it can sometimes be over seasoned and too salty. That aside, I've taken a shine to this cuisine, and I'm very keen to check out what London's Brazilian joints have to offer. Any ideas where to go?