Eight Popular Brazilian Street Foods You Have to Try
Brazil’s great diversity is reflected in its music, architecture, traditions, art and, not surprisingly, in its delicious cuisine. Some of the country’s most popular regional dishes are flavorful street foods like pão de queijo and aipim frito.
Made with a variety of fillings, such as chicken, ground beef, shrimp, cheese, hearts of palm and vegetables, this deep-fried pastry was introduced to Brazil by Japanese immigrants. You can find them at fast-food places known as pastelerias or in São Paolo’s street fairs. Bars also sell pastéis by the dozen or half dozen for friends to share.
Potato chips are one of the world’s most widely consumed foods. In Brazil, cassava chips, or aipim frito, are found all over the country. Made from the cassava plant, also known as manioc, aipim, yuca and macaxeira, this ingredient is used to prepare all kinds of Brazilian foods, from main dishes to desserts.
Pão de Queijo
Cassava is used to make another delicious Brazilian street food — pão de queijo. These cheese balls originated in the state of Minas Gerais but quickly became popular throughout the country. They can be found in bakeries, supermarkets and even subway stations. Other fillings include catupiry cheese, goiabada and doce de leite, a spread made from sweetened condensed milk that’s cooked down until it’s caramelized and light brown in color.
Bolinho de Bacalhau
Originally from Portugal, these codfish balls are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. They are frequently served with fresh lime juice and a dip. Despite their lengthy preparation process, these snacks are a Brazilian favorite.
Açai na tigela
Açai in a bowl is made with granola, banana, guarana syrup and the key ingredient — frozen açai fruit, which grows in the Amazon rainforest. Considered a superfood because it’s high in antioxidants and vitamins and low in sugar, the fruit has been used by Brazil’s indigenous peoples for medicinal purposes for centuries. It’s popular in juice bars and beach kiosks in Rio de Janeiro, Florianópolis and in the coastal cities of Brazil’s northeast, where açai is still juiced and eaten raw.
Eaten with either ketchup or pimenta, a spicy oil, coxinha is filled with shredded chicken and catupiry cheese. The raindrop shaped snack is said to have originated in 19th century São Paulo, but there are different varieties around the country. For example, in Minas Gerais, the coxinha is filled with maize. People also make their own versions with carrots, mushrooms, peas and hearts of palm
Brigadeiro is Brazil’s most beloved treat. It’s made with sweetened condensed milk, butter and chocolate powder that’s rolled into balls and covered in chocolate sprinkles. The confection was invented after World War II, when it was hard to find fresh milk and sugar. People discovered that you could make a delicious dessert by combining condensed milk and chocolate. The treat is named after Brigadeiro (Brigadier) Eduardo Gomes, who ran for president in the 1940s. During his campaign, his wife would make the chocolate balls for fundraising events. Today they are an iconic part of Brazilian culture and served at special occasions like kid’s birthday parties.
Lebanon’s national dish, kibbeh, was introduced to Brazil by Lebanese immigrants. Kibe is prepared with minced lamb or beef that’s mixed with bulgur wheat and then fried, baked or eaten raw. Restaurants, bars and even some bakeries sell this popular Middle Eastern snack that’s often eaten as a main meal.