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When I announced my trip to Rio de Janeiro, it was very clear that I wanted to discover Brazilian cuisine.
Sometimes, I think the most adventurous expats are the best persons to show us a new culture, because they know what is interesting for foreigners. When people ask me what they should eat in Montreal, I never really know what to say… Sure I wrote a guest post about 6 Delicious Food you Have to Eat When You Visit Quebec, but I had to ask around me to be sure that what I suggested was a good choice of Quebec cuisine. On the other hand, I’d have no problem writing about Portuguese cuisine. Meh…
So, when I met Tom, a British expat in Rio de Janeiro, and guide for the Eat Rio Food Tour, I knew he would exactly know what we need to taste while visiting Brazil… and it’s not just beans and rice!
Update on July 26th, 2015: Note that the Eat Rio Food Tour is is no longer offered on a regular basis. It can be booked in private with the customer support of RDJ4U.
It’s very cliché to talk about fruits when you think about a Southern country, but Brazilians are really big fans of fruits! You’ll find Juice Shops at every corner, and fruits everywhere.
Tom made me taste fruits I’ve never heard about before:
Atemoya: A green fruit on the outside, and white on the inside, very sugary.
Acerola: A cherry-looking berry tasting like sour candy.
Jaca: This one is very particular… I’d say it smells like garbage (yeah you read it right), has the texture of a banana, and tastes like a weird pineapple.
If you’re located in a North American country, you may not find these tropical fruit, but a very easy way to get a little taste of Brazil is to make a pineapple juice with mint. Just put pineapple, mint, water and a pinch of sugar in a blender and there you go! You have the drink served everywhere in Rio de Janeiro!
If you feel more wild, you can of course try the traditional capirihna, a drink made with cachaça (an alcoholic beverage made of sugarcane juice), lime and sugar.
Some delicious weird stuff
My favorite part of a Food Tour is when things go wild and people go out of their comfort zone. Don’t worry here, I’m not talking about eating insects…’cause this would be a little too much out of MY comfort zone!
Tacacá: A very salty Amazonian soup with dried shrimps. The funny part about that soup: it contains Jambú, an herb that makes your tongue tingle. You HAVE to try it!
Açaí sorbet: Have you heard of the Açaí diet that is supposed to help in weight loss? Well, in Rio de Janeiro, they make ice-cream with this fruit. So, I’m not sure who use it the right way, but I have absolutely no problem in believing in a weight loss ice-cream and I totally join this diet.
Tapioca: Yummy!!! This was my best food discovery! I’m used of tapioca in some kind of pudding, but tapioca in Rio de Janeiro means something totally different. They use the floor to make a pancake and fill it with meat or cheese, and spice. After the food tour, I ate a tapioca each and every lunch. My friend was just desperate to see me eat it every day but I just couldn’t stop! I wanted to bring back tapioca flour in Montreal, but I figured out that trying to pass a big bag of white powder at the airport was probably not a good idea. I’m on the hunt of tapioca flour in Montreal now.
….and beans and rice
Okay, there was beans and rice, because tradition is tradition and you can find it in every restaurant, but I hope I convince you to try something different.
Essential Infos about the Food Tour
Tom is very generous, in food and in time, so be sure to come with a lot of appetite, and a full free day. My tour took from noon to 7pm, including a big meal at the end of the day.
I suggest to do this tour at the beginning of your trip, so you will get to know the local food and be more at ease to order it after.
You won’t sit in a restaurant all day. It’s a walking tour and you’ll have the chance to see different places and markets. Put sunscreen and wear comfortable shoes! ;)
You will visit the Selaron Step, a world famous piece of street art. Yay!
There’s no problem if you have allergies or intolerance. The tour can be adapted.
You might like these other posts about Rio de Janeiro:
- 8 Things You Need to Know Before Going to Rio de Janeiro
- Rio de Janeiro – How to Stay Safe at the Beach
- Getting the Carioca Vibe and Learning Samba in Rio de Janeiro
- First Impressions of Rio de Janeiro
- Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden – I Don’t Get Plants… Or Do I?
Thanks to RDJ4U for having me as a guest in the Eat Rio Food Tour. All opinions, as always, are my own, regardless of who pays the bills.