Category Archive: Food and drink

Apr 22

The Chowzter Awards in London

 

England-in-springtime

I love England in the springtime!

 

Well, it’s that time of year again – I’ve soaked up a few last rays of sunshine and I’ve packed my bags (not forgetting my umbrella!) for what promises to be a thoroughly enjoyable few days in London.

The last few times I’ve visited England it’s been in the depths of midwinter, so I’m really excited to be seeing a genuine springtime for the first time in a few years. Rio has some wonderful weather but it doesn’t really do a proper spring.

But I’m not going back just to enjoy the seasonal weather – I have work to do!

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Apr 16

Brownie do Luiz

Brownie-do-Luiz

Sweet, sweet temptation…

 

I waited across the street from the small shop in Laranjeiras and watched. In just 20 minutes I saw more than a dozen people enter with cash and leave moments later, hurriedly tucking tins or small foil envelopes into their bags and pockets. The clients were content for another day now that they had their fix.

This dangerously addictive substance, known as veneno da lata (literally ‘poison in a tin’, but meaning something closer to ‘good stuff in a tin’), is sweeping across the city of Rio and it has been winning over thousands of fans. But who is responsible for this and what should be done about it? The trail leads back to a guy called Luiz Quinderé, and it all started when he was just 15.

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Apr 10

Comida di Buteco 2014 is nearly here!

 

If you like to eat, drink and have fun, Rio really is a great place to live. Sure it might not have the range of cuisines and night life of a cosmopolitan city like New York, nor the levels of culinary sophistication of a city like Paris, but what it lacks in those departments, it makes up in sheer gusto.

It’s only been a month since the excesses of carnaval died down, and already the spectre of the World Cup is looming (62 days and counting!). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – this Friday (11 April) sees the start of everyone’s favourite bar food competition – Comida di Buteco 2014!

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Apr 03

Waiting 60 years for a Toddy

Toddy-antigo

 

-What’s the difference between a blogger and a journalist?

-Bloggers read and respond to their readers’ comments, journalists don’t! 

OK, please relax journalists, I understand that there are plenty of other differences such as a proper education and training in journalism, journalistic standards (properly citing sources, etc) and accountability. But there is a real point here – bloggers place far more importance on reader comments and interactions with their readers; journalists tend to adopt a more unidirectional approach.

I always like receiving comments on Eat Rio, but every so often something extra special comes in that stands out from the rest. And just such a comment appeared exactly a month ago.

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Mar 28

Feira das Yabás

Portela-Madureira

The home of Portela samba school is here in Madureira, Zona Norte. See from the other side here!

 

Carnival in Rio means different things to different people. Some look forward to the blocos which make up the Carnaval de Rua (street carnival), while others just want to get the hell out of town until it’s all over. Then there is another group for whom carnival is all about the Sambódromo and the competition between the samba schools. The people in this latter group often support a particular samba school in a way more commonly associated with football fans.

Personally I can’t pretend that it bothers me much who wins, but in the same way that I’ve picked a football team to nominally support (Botafogo), I’ve also picked a samba school – Portela. And the main reason I picked Portela was that it shares a home with Feira das Yabás.

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Mar 21

Curry Clube and Favela Brass

Curry-clube-rio

 

A couple of years ago I was introduced to a friend of a friend of a friend in a bar in Rio. When I told her I lived in Santa Teresa and had a food blog, her face changed and she went “Ah! You must be the guy that does the Curry Club thing, right?”. Well, that was confusing! After further chat we established that there was another English guy called Tom who lived in Santa Teresa and he ran something called Curry Clube, a regular get together that involved curry and music.

Well, after I’d got over the fact that I was not the only English bloke called Tom in Santa Teresa, my mind turned to food. In fact it turned to curry! I know many foreigners living in Rio who pine for a decent curry – it really is one of those dishes so packed with flavour that when you get a hankering, nothing else will do. I decided I would have to meet this Tom fellow and go along to his Curry Clube. And do you know what? Approximately 2 years later, I finally made it!

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Mar 18

British Bangers in Rio

Over the last 6-12 months I’ve come across some individuals living in Rio whose culinary activities have made me feel joyous and inspired. Joyous because they’re bringing something new and delicious to the table in Rio. Inspired because they have confirmed my growing belief that people who make great food and possess an entrepreneurial spirit can be successful here in Rio, without needing to have thousands of dollars to invest.

First there was Sei who set up Ferro e Farinha to introduce Rio to two new concepts – great Neapolitan style pizza and the Food Truck model. F&F is now doing so well that the lines of hungry customers start forming before Sei and his team even arrive!

Then there was Daniel and Luis whose Mexican food project, Fiesta Mexicana Autêntica Comida Caseira, has been drawing people from as far away as Niterói and beyond!

Last weekend I met my newest Rio food hero – Jane:

Jane-British-Bangers

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Mar 12

Expats doing it for themselves

Marmite

 

In contrast to scaremongering right-wing politicians, I believe that immigrant communities make big cities better. Imagine London without its rich pockets of immigrants from the Caribbean, China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Turkey, and so on. It might still be a good city, but would it be a great one? I doubt it.

As an immigrant myself, I have first hand experience of some of the challenges and emotions faced by people living in a new country. Of course some of the classic economic difficulties that immigrants face have been easier for me because I have the advantage of a good education, but I’ve felt homesick, lost, confused and isolated at times and I’ve even had people tell me to go back to where I came from. Once I was even on the receiving end of that classic accusation: You’re stealing our jobs and our women! (“women” plural? Don’t tell Mrs Eat Rio!). Happily most of my interactions with the locals have been far more positive!

But however much we enjoy our new life, I’m sure all immigrants/expats miss things that they can’t get in their new home. To be honest with you, I never bothered that much with Marmite back in London, but once I moved to Rio I found myself longing for the stuff. And what do we do when we can’t have something from home? We fill our suitcases or we make those things ourselves!

Sadly I haven’t succeeded in formulating my own Marmite (Mrs Eat Rio would probably leave me if I did!), but recently I decided to have a go at making another British favourite – crumpets!

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Mar 10

Temos Carne de Rã! …Huh?

 

For people learning Brazilian Portuguese, one of the first unintuitive pronunciation lessons you need to learn is that in certain contexts, Rs sound like Hs. “Rio”, “Barra” and “Rato” sound respectively like “Hee-o”, “Ba-hah” and “Hatt-o”. This can lead Brazilians to utter rather amusing mispronunciations of English words such as ‘Hock and Holl’ (popular music that emerged in the 1950s) and ‘Hugby’ (contact sport involving an egg-shaped ball).

The subject of today’s post is another such word: . Probably the easiest way to describe the pronunciation of rã is to say that it sounds almost exactly like the English quizzical “Huh”. But what is it? Rã is the word for frog and you find this word in some unexpected places!

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Feb 20

Kebab Chic and a Mexican Correction

travessa-do-comercio

 

One of the things I try to do with Eat Rio is publicise food-related projects that I think deserve support and recognition (my motives are entirely selfish – as a resident of Rio, I want the food scene to improve in terms of variety, quality and value for money). So when I hear about something interesting – someone making neapolitan style pizzas in a mobile pizza oven; a couple of guys making authentic Mexican food in a Favela – I’m always keen to know more.

Last week I had a call from Yves (remember the Cheese Maverick?), telling me that he was about to start doing something new – he was calling it Kebab Chic. My curiosity was well and truly piqued, so I took a friend down to Travessa do Comércio to find out more.

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