Category Archive: Food and drink

Aug 15

Brazilian Chillies

Brazilian-chillis

 

Before I get going, I guess I should address the question of spelling. You know those super spicy peppers that make curries hot? Well there are a bunch of different spellings: chili, chile, chilli. According to Wikipedia, the word originates from the Nahuatl word “chīlli”, so I’m going with the chilli / chillies form.

Anyway, a little while back, my friend Patrick from Como Sur put me on to a pretty cool article at the Saveur website – a Chilli Pepper Guide listing more than 40 varieties. It’s pretty cool, with nice pictures and descriptions, but I noticed that only a couple of Brazilian varieties were on the list. Well, in the interests of filling in the blanks, I thought I’d give you my thoughts on a few of those fiery beauties that grace the pimenta stalls of Rio’s street markets.

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Aug 12

Guelaguetza: dancing with turkeys and fun with hats

Oaxaca-Guelaguetza-crowds

 

We arrived in Oaxaca with very little idea of what this ‘Guelaguetza’ thing was. All we knew was that it was an annual cultural event and we had tickets. The town was abuzz with visitors and colourful flags celebrating the event, but as we approached the venue, we were still guessing exactly what we were going to see.

We stepped out of a taxi outside a stadium-like structure which was perched on top of a hill overlooking the city. As we passed through the turnstiles we were handed what turned out to be a standard party-pack:

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Aug 11

Micheladas and Cubanas

michelada-with-cucumber

 

Well, time got away from me today – I was going to publish my final post on our trip to Mexico at around lunchtime, but then a bunch of other things came up and now the clock is striking 6pm. That final post will have to wait until tomorrow, but I’m still going to throw in a mini-post about one of my favourite Mexican treats: Micheladas and even better, Cubanas.

According to Wikipedia, the exact ingredients and definitions of a Michelada vary according to your location in Mexico, but in general we are talking about a beer mixed with lime juice, served in a salt/chilli-rimmed glass. Then a bunch of other extras are optionally added such as clamato (tomato juice with clam broth), chilli powder, Worcestershire sauce, Maggi sauce. The Cubana variation (which ended up being our favourite) tended to have loads of extra chilli sauce and extra spices and seasoning.

All this backs up the point I made in the previous post about peanuts – why have a boring old beer when you can have a spicy, sour, salty beer instead? Here were a few of our Michelada / Cubana highlights:

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Aug 08

Eating Oaxaca

oaxaca

 

After 6 days in Mexico City (aka DF), we decided it was time to get out of the big city and see a bit more of Mexico. We had heard that there was some big annual cultural event going on in Oaxaca (a city located in the state of the same name, around 500km southeast of DF), so we hopped on an overnight bus and rolled into town at 6.30am.

Feeling shattered from a bad night’s sleep on the bus, we stumbled into our hostel and asked if we could check in early – we were desperate for a shower and bed. The woman at reception looked as us impassively and said check-in was at 3pm. Urgh! Six and a half hours to kill!

We dumped our bags and sloped off into town to see if we could find breakfast. What we found was a city with almost no buildings higher than 2 stories, full of markets, crafts and street food. We wandered into the first market we found and had what turned out to be a very traditional Oaxacan breakfast.

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Jul 31

Eating out in Mexico City

The-angel-of-independence-mexico

 

We ate a LOT in Mexico City! In fact we ate so much good food in that pretty much every day involved the same conversation at some point: “Man, when we get back to Rio, we’re going to have to get in shape”.

Yeah, “when we get back to Rio” …but in the meantime:

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Jul 29

Eat Rio Eats Mexico

Even though I’ve been running my own culinary tours in Rio for almost a year, I had never been on a food tour as a guest until just a few days ago. Mrs Eat Rio and I put ourselves in the hands of the good people at Eat Mexico Culinary Tours and we did not regret it!

Here are a few of the highlights:

anais-eat-mexico

This was our guide, Anais. First stop: a street stall for seafood tostadas.

 

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Jun 24

Cutting Crispy Couve

feijoada

Photo: Rodrigo Moreira

 

If you’re visiting Rio for a few days and you’re interested in eating some typical dishes, one of the items that should be near the top of your list is feijoada (pictured above). It’s a rich, heavy stew of black beans, carne seca, linguiça (sausuage) and various cuts of pork, not unlike the French dish cassoulet. Traditionally, it is served with rice, torresmo (pork scratchings/pork rind), farofa, orange slices and couve.

Couve is that shredded, green vegetable you can see at the top of the plate above. In the US they call it Collard Greens which is basically the same as what the British called Spring Greens – basically it’s a thick, slightly bitter green leaf from the Brassica family, not a million miles from Kale.

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Jun 06

Babilônia Feira Hype

Photo: I Hate Flash (Filipe Marques)

Photo: I Hate Flash (Filipe Marques)

 

Hi everyone. Well, it’s Friday and I’m running very late on about 3 jobs, so I only really have time to quickly tell you about something fun happening in Rio this weekend. Babilônia Feira Hype is a huge market that was first held back in 1996. Back then it was a smaller affair and was held on Aterro da Flamengo. Over the years it has grown, changed and switched locations so that what we have today is more than just a simple market.

Photo: I Hate Flash (Filipe Marques)

Photo: I Hate Flash (Filipe Marques)

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Jun 04

Cachambeer: Pleasures of the flesh in Zona Norte

Brazilian-beef

 

Much as I love many Brazilian cuisine, I think very few people would described it as ‘sophisticated’. That’s not meant as an insult, but I think it’s fair to say that most Brazilian dishes fit into the category ‘comfort food’ rather than, say, ‘delicate and complex’. And although Brazil has 7,500km of coastline (more than twice that of Peru), many visitors are surprised at how little seafood finds its way onto Brazilian menus – meat usually takes pride of place.

Brazilian eating culture also places a lot of emphasis on dishes that are bem servido (served in generous portions) – restaurant menus often include suggestions for how many people main dishes will serve, but unless you’re a powerlifter you can safely multiply the suggestion by 2.

Well a couple of years ago I heard talk of a bar/restaurant way up in Zona Norte that took the Brazilian predilection for huge portions and roast meats to extreme levels and last weekend I finally got to visit.

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May 16

Galinha ao Molho Pardo

santa-teresa

Feeling lazy and hungry?

OK I’ll hold my hand up – from time to time I succumb to the temptations of exaggeration and hyperbole. When you’re trying to write about something in an entertaining way, it can feel a bit flat to say something is “nice” or “fine” or “pleasant”. That’s when I come out with phrases like “this is my favourite Brazilian dish ever!!!“. So, today I’m going to try to stay calm and keep the exclamation marks to a minimum.

About a month or so ago, Mrs Eat Rio and I were feeling both hungry and lazy, so we decided to wander up into Santa Teresa and find somewhere to eat out. We didn’t really have a plan, but we found ourselves in a low-key kind of place called Bar do Arnaudo. Well it might look low-key, but it turns out this place is amazing!!! good.

We ordered a nice cold beer and perused the menu. Arnaudo’s specialises in comida nordestina (dishes from the north-east of Brazil). One classic dish from the north-east is Carne de Sol and I love it, but Mrs Eat Rio has had just about enough of it as I went through a bit of a phase where it’s all I wanted to eat. So instead we went for a rather special chicken dish.

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