Category Archive: Food and drink

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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Feb 11

Brazilian Peppers: Biquinho and Ubatuba Cambuci

pimenta-biquinho

 

People just love to take things to extremes don’t they? Whether it’s buildings, cars or paella dishes, it seems like there’s always someone who feels the need to make them taller, faster or wider. So when it comes to chilli peppers, I suppose it’s hardly surprising that there is a constant drive to come up with the new ‘Hottest Chilli in the World’ (in case you’re interested, the ‘Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’ was recently beaten into second place by the ‘Carolina Reaper‘).

Now don’t get me wrong, in the right context I’m all in favour of the spicy hit of a good hot habanero, but I certainly don’t sign up to this ‘hotter is better’ attitude which seems to be far more about macho posturing than anything culinary. Instead I’m going to tell you about two of my favourite Brazilian pepper discoveries, both of which sit way down the other end of the Scoville Scale.

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Jan 31

A Tapioquinha for brunch

avocado-tomato-coriander

 

Mrs Eat Rio and I are off to São Paulo this weekend to enjoy the culinary delights that Brazil’s largest city has to offer. Sadly the Eat Rio budget won’t stretch to D.O.M. this time, but our greedy stomachs are quivering in anticipation of a visit to the highly rated Mocotó. Speaking of food, I’ve been playing about in the kitchen myself recently and I thought I’d share my results.

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