The Friday 5 #42 Brazilian food special
Crispy, crunchy and - more often than not - cheesy too
I don’t know what I expected of Brazilian food. I only remember eating it once before and being besotted with the cheese bread, an obsession that has continued on this trip.
But it’s not the only seductive thing on offer, Brazilian food is full of outrageously good crispy, crunchy and often cheesy elements like deep fried polenta, cassava chips and the puffed up lascas de polvilho above (imagine a giant prawn cracker without the prawns) I had at Manioca. Or killer snacks as Eater describes them in their guide to Brazilian restaurants in London which I shall be working my way through on my return.
Of course not all Brazilian food is the same. It’s a vast country. Where I was in wine country down in the south at the beginning of the trip it was strongly Italian-influenced. In São Paulo where you can eat anything and everything including what is generally considered the best Japanese food outside Japan the food is more African in style. Some of the most interesting dishes apparently come from the north-east.
I didn’t have a meal in a churrascaria (barbecue restaurant) because I was told it would be unlikely I’d be able to eat anything for 24 hours afterwards and that seemed a waste of an eating opportunity. For similar reasons I also skipped a feijoada, the famous Brazilian dish of pork and beans which tends only to be served on Wednesdays and (better still) Saturdays so you can sink into a comatose slump afterwards. (Eater recommends Tia Maria’s in Vauxhall)
But here are 5 highlights to inspire your cooking …