LOS ANGELES (BDCi) – While most people are already familiar with the Brazilian churrasco and the açaí berry craze, there are other, lesser-known foods that you should try if you ever find yourself in Brazil.
1) Similar to yucca or potatoes but derived from the manioc root, mandioca is an essential side dish that can be boiled, fried or baked. Most menus will feature “mandioca frita,” comparable to our French fries.
2) Pasteles come in different forms all over the world, but the Brazilian version is a flaky fried pastry filled with meats, veggies or cheeses. They are often eaten as snacks and can be found being sold on many streets.
3) Yet another fried favorite, coxinhas are also popular with street vendors, but can also be found in restaurants. Crispy on the outside and filled with a soft dough and shredded seasoned chicken (or cheese), these are a great starting-off point for the less adventurous eater.
4) The unofficial national dish of Brazil is often considered to be the feijoada (pictured above), a stew made from beans, beef and pork. Throughout Brazil you can find restaurants that specialize solely in this authentic dish.
5) Acarajé is a popular dish found in Bahia state, where a strong Afro-Brazilian culture is present. These black-eyed pea fritters are deep-fried and then split in half and stuffed with spicy pastes made from cashews, okra and cassava. Fried shrimp and tomatoes are often served on top, with onions and cilantro adding the final touch.
Though Brazilian food is becoming more and more common in Los Angeles, Miami and other parts of the U.S., nothing can be beat the taste of Brazilian food made (and eaten) in Brazil.