6 Essential Brazilian Dishes You Have to Try

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As the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil often tends to march to the beat of its own drum. The country has developed its own sign language, uses a specially adapted type of electrical socket, and of course, has a rich and delicious history of amazing cuisine. Here are six essential Brazilian dishes that you have to try.

Churrasco

Traditional churrasco beef on a skewer, being sliced with large knife
Credit: rocharibeiro/ Shutterstock

You might just have to fly to Brazil to experience Brazilian-style barbecue. Brazil and Argentina have even had an ongoing competition as to who the true barbecue king of South America is. While the barbecue in Brazil will vary from city to city, you can always expect massive quantities of fresh beef, pork, lamb, sausage, and chicken. Some of the finest cuts are seasoned with only sea salt to let the true flavors shine through. However, no matter how it’s prepared, you will always enjoy some of the best street barbecue in the world.

Brigadeiros

Rows of traditional brigadeiros covered in sprinkles, chocolate, and nuts
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Anyone with a sweet tooth will love brigadeiros — small chocolate truffles with sprinkles that are a staple of Brazilian pastry shops and birthday parties. Brigadeiros are made by heating condensed milk and adding cocoa powder. The mixture is then whisked in butter and shaped into tiny balls, which are rolled in sprinkles. While the sweet-on-sweet flavor might be too much for some people, brigadeiros are very popular with kids and can be made at home without much fuss.

Pão de Queijo

Pão de queijo cheese ball puffs placed in a serving basket
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These crispy-on-the-outside and chewy-on-the-inside cheese ball snacks are a classic example of Brazilian cuisine. While there are many wonderful recipes for making them at home, they can also be found in the freezer section at just about every grocery store in Brazil. While most pão de queijo recipes are made with basic ingredients such as tapioca flour, grated cheese, and eggs, some are filled with savory ingredients such as cream cheese or ground meat.

Farofa

Up close view of farofa grains in a bowl, showing detailed texture
Credit: Thais Ceneviva/ Shutterstock

This Brazilian side dish is made by toasting maize flour or manioc with butter, palm oil, and bacon fat. The resulting mixture has a crispy texture and a distinct nut flavor that goes well with flavor enhancers such as raisins, parsley, eggs, and onions. Farofa is often added to beans and rice to give the simple dish a bit more bite and complexity.

Feijoada

Traditional feijoada in a white serving dish, showing meat and vegetables
Credit: Paulo Vilela/ Shutterstock

Feijoada is a hearty black bean stew that usually has cuts of pork and sausage added to it. It is a traditional dish that is enjoyed across every tiny town and major city. While feijoada has a long legacy as a family dish, the 24 hours often required to cook it means that most modern Brazilians do not have the time to make this dish at home. These days, feijoada is traditionally served in restaurants on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Açaí Bowls

Several fancy bowls filled with acai, berries, and garnishes on a wooden table
Credit: SUPERGAL/ Shutterstock

This Brazilian snack bowl is popping up in most cities across the United States, so if you want to try a true South American specialty, you can probably find an açaí spot nearby! The açaí pulp is frozen and then mixed with guarana and water. The mixture is blended with bananas, but any amount of granola or fruit can be added to achieve the desired composition and flavor. Açaí is very healthy and can give you an energy boost the next time you want a fruity and delicious treat.

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