Christmas Culinary Adventures in London



Hi everyone! Remember me? Well I wouldn’t blame you if you’d forgotten all about Eat Rio – it’s been a shameful 4 weeks since my last post. I’ve never left it that long before and such a long hiatus deserves an explanation. How about tell you what’s been going on since this time last month?


Eat Rio Food Tours


Going from strength to strength. Eat Rio Food Tours are currently sitting at #14 in TripAdvisor’s list of activities in Rio!

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A Very Foodish Boy

One of the perks of having a blog is that you have all kinds of interesting encounters with people who share similar interests. I get a steady trickle of correspondence from people asking for advice on moving to Brazil or wanting a particular recommendation for their trip, but once in a while I hear from someone doing something completely different.

For instance, a few months ago I was contacted by Stacy, who lives in the US. Stacy has a pet capivara (capybara) and was visiting Southeast Brazil on a mission to see a wild capybara in its native habitat. Thus ensued a long and hilarious correspondence regarding the best places to spot the world’s largest rodent.

More recently I met someone doing something that made me green with envy. People who follow the Eat Rio Facebook page will have seen that last weekend I had a very late night and this was due to my latest fascinating encounter: a very Foodish Boy.


That’s not a typo – though I’m sure Alex himself would admit that he’s not beyond a little foolishness from time to time! Read on…

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Rio after Melbourne (Part 2)

In my last post I showed you some of the culinary highlights of my trip to Australia. Today I wanted to show you some of the other things that caught my eye. I’m aware that this is a blog about Rio, not Melbourne, so I promise that after this we’ll be back in Brazil for the foreseeable future!


Beaches and coastline

With the beaches being such a central part of life in Rio, Mrs Eat Rio was very keen to see how the beaches of Melbourne compared. Although St Kilda was nice, it didn’t really come close to the city beaches of Rio. Once we got out of town we saw some much nicer beaches, but I still think Rio wins this contest!


Along the Great Ocean Road lies the beach town of Lorne. Pretty quiet this time of year and not an umbrella or beer seller in sight!



Nice waves for surfing in Lorne.

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Bahia in Brief

Hi everyone! After 5 days in Bahia I thought I’d attempt a mini-post to tell you about how things have gone so far. I only have my phone, so please excuse weird typos…

We flew into Salvador, state capital and first capital of Brazil (replaced  first by Rio and then more recently by Brasilia). Salvador reminded me a bit of Panama City – large, rather ugly outer city, surrounding a beautiful, historic area that is popular with tourists. In Panama City, Casco Viejo is a lovely wreck of a neighbourhood full of beautiful crumbling facades. The perimeter is guarded by heavily armed police to keep the rich tourists safe.


Check out the phone boxes that look like coconuts!

Salvador’s equivalent is called Pelourinho and is far prettier and better maintained. Lovely old colonial houses, painted in complementary shades, line steep, cobbled streets. The heavy police presence (coupled with frequent warnings from random people) remind you that there are people who’d like to take your valuables if given the chance, but the overriding sense is that this is a city rich with music, history and culture.

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Brazil’s Coca Cola Rivers

Hello there. It might seem like I am typing this to you from my normal seat (you know, the one at the table in the dining room), but that is actually a cleverly constructed illusion. In reality I am miles away. In another state no less. That’s right, I am finally going to Minas Gerais, Brazil’s state of Cheese and Cachaça (that’s not the official state logo, those are just the two things I’m most excited about).

Though in reality, that is also a bit of an illusion (OK, let’s drop this ‘illusion’ talk, it’s a lie, a straight out lie). Because I am in my normal seat in the dining room as I type this, but using the power of delayed publishing (I set a time in the future for this post to be automatically published), when you read this I will be in Minas Gerais. Basically I’m going to be away from Computer-Land for a while, so I’m writing a post before I go away. Everyone clear on that? Great.

The plan is to spend the New Year holiday in Ibitipoca (sounds like i-bitchy-POCK-a). Ibitipoca, or more properly Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca, is a forest park created back in 1973 and covering 1,488 hectares. You have to buy a ticket to enter the park and the number of visitors is limited to 300 per day. You can camp (we will be) and apparently these numbers are limited also.

That's a LOT of Coca Cola...

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Essential for a Brazilian Christmas?

A little while back I gave you my top Brazilian supermarket survival tips, born from many hours wandering around supermarkets here in Rio. I remember as a young kid, on some of my first trips abroad, being fascinated by the supermarkets of France (anyone remember Hollywood chewing gum?) and Germany (those yummy ginger cake/biscuits covered in chocolate – yum!). 

And I remember, aged 9, being awestruck the first time I saw Fluff: 


Are you a Fluffer-nutter? (

Even today I enjoy checking out the weird and wonderful products when I visit a new country. I remember noticing last Easter that all the Rio supermarkets took the same approach to Easter-eggs. They built a kind of wooden framework (a bit like a Pergola) and then hung the eggs at about face-height, meaning you have to duck under the eggs if you want to get past!

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Sexy times at the airport

I know. Airports aren’t generally thought of as sexy places. I guess there must be a few ‘aerophiles’ out there, a few lonely people who sit for hours on end identifying passenger jets and writing down aircraft registration numbers in books. But for the rest of us, visiting an airport is a fairly unexciting experience of waiting for people or planes.

Well here in Rio there is another, infinitely more tedious experience waiting for you at the airport: the offices of the Polícia Federal (PF). The Federal Police are responsible for dealing with visa applications and other issues related to estrangeiros (foreigners) and my wife and I have spent many, many hours sitting, waiting, pleading and complaining in their offices. Maybe I will bore you another day with a more detailed account of my experiences at the PF, but for now let’s just say that it’s a painful experience and usually leads to stress, exasperation and arguments.

‘So where does the sexy part come in?’ I hear you demand with libidinous impatience. Well that’s where this smoky-voiced lady comes in…

This was Íris Lettieri back in 1974. She has a sexy voice.



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The Canonball Tree

Often your expectations of another country aren’t quite matched by the reality when you finally arrive. It’s like that classic story you hear about the disappointed tourist asking the taxi driver in Sydney where all the kangaroos are hiding. Turns out most cities have the same ugly buildings around the airport, the same traffic jams and the same billboards advertising Coke and McDonald’s. Reality can be underwhelming can’t it? 

Well you needn’t worry about that on your drive into town from Rio’s airport. Sure there’s traffic and billboards, but there’s also a massive (and stinky) favela to see/smell – now you know you’re not in London/New York/Kansas anymore..

But often I find it’s the less obvious differences that really pique my curiosity. Like what are those things on the side of bus and truck wheels for?

I was surprised how many people I asked didn’t know what purpose these cable things served. It turns out they are used to regulate pressure and alert the driver when a tyre deflates

On your feet – I’m obese!

The transport system in London is not renowned for being spacious, airy or comfortable. Neither is it known for being efficient, punctual or good value for money. It’s not all bad – I wish Rio’s subway network was as extensive as London’s – but it’s a constant source of complaint and discussion for Londoners.

London buses can get a little crowded

One perennial discussion centres on giving up your seat. If you travel between 8-10 in the morning or 5-7 in the evening you will have to stand most days. So when you manage to grab yourself a seat it can feel pretty good! Then you see a frail old guy, or a mother holding a child and you hop up to offer your seat right? …Right?!

Well yes, I think most of us do and (let’s be honest) we give ourselves a little mental pat on the back for being ‘a good person’ when we do it. In fact I find that it rather brightens my day, feeling that I’ve done something amazing for a helpless stranger in distress (keeping this little scene in my head allows me to really go to town on transforming myself into an urban transport hero).

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Plugging hell…

I’ve never really understood the science behind electricity. When I hear the word Resistance I think of French freedom fighters, Voltage is an Olympic event that requires a pole, Amps say “Marshall” on the front.



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