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BRAZIL: Culture

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North Cusine
Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, and Tocantins

Collectively, the region is known as Amazônia for it includes a large part of the rain forest, and tributaries flowing into the Amazon River. Culturally, the Amazon basin is heavily populated by native Indians or people of mixed Indian and Portuguese ancestry who live on a diet of fish, root vegetables such as manioc, yams, and peanuts, plus palm or tropical fruit.

The cuisine of this region is heavily Indian-influenced. One popular dish is Caruru do Pará, a one-pot meal of dried shrimp, okra, onion, tomato, cilantro, and palm oil.

Northeast Cusine
Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, and Sergipe

Geographically the region comprises a dry, semi-arid region used for cattle ranches inland from the fertile coastal plain, an economically important sugar cane and cacao growing area.

Within the State of Bahia the predominate cuisine is Afro-Bahian, which evolved from plantation cooks improvising on African, Indian, and traditional Portuguese dishes using locally available ingredients.

Typical dishes include vatapá and moqueca (both have seafood and palm oil), besides Acarajé (a salted muffin made with white beans, onion and fried in 'Dendê' oil) which is filled with dried shrimp, red pepper and Caruru (mashed okra with ground cashew nut, smoked shrimp, onion, pepper and garlic). Use your international cellular phone rentals to make reservations at restaurants that serve these local specialities.

In the remainder of the coastal plains there is less African influence on the food, but seafood, shellfish, and tropical fruit are menu staples.

Inland, in the arid, drought stricken cattle-growing and farm lands, foods typically include ingredients like dried meat, rice, beans, goat, manioc and corn meal.

Central-West Cusine
Federal District of Brasilia plus Goiás, Mato Grosso, and Mato Grosso do Sul

A region comprising dry open savannas or prairies with wooded terrain in the north. The famous Pantanal, one of the finest game and fishing regions on earth, is also located in the Central-West region of Brazil.

Fish, beef and pork from the vast ranches of the region dominate the menu, along with harvested crops of soybean, rice, maize, and manioc. Use your international mobile phone rental to make reservations at restaurants that serve these local specialities.

Southeast Cusine
Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo

The Southeast is the industrial heart of Brazil, and is home to several distinctive cooking styles for which Brazil is probably best-known.

In Minas Gerais the regional dishes include a lot of maize, pork, beans, and local soft ripened cheeses. Around Rio and São Paulo, feijoada (a simmered bean and meat dish of Carioca origin), is popular especially as a Wednesday or Saturday luncheon. Also consumed frequently is arroz e feijão, or rice and beans. Traditionally, black beans are prepared in Rio, rajadinho (brown) beans in São Paulo, and either in Minas Gerais. Another typical food in São Paulo is the Virado à Paulista, that consists of rice, tutu de feijão (beans with manioc flour), stewed cabbage and pork meat. Use your international cell phone rental to make reservations at restaurants that serve these local specialities.

The cuisine of São Paulo shows the influence of European and Middle Eastern immigrants. The majority arrived from Italy, along with many from Portugal, Japan, the Middle East, and other nations. So, there it's possible to find all kind of cuisines.

In Espírito Santo, there is a lot of Italian and German influence in local dishes both savory and sweet. The state dish, though, is of Amerindian origin, and is called Moqueca Capixaba (mainly fish and tomato). Minas Gerais' Cuisine is also strongly felt here, with many restaurants serving that fare. Farofa (a dish of toasted manioc flour with small amounts of flavoring ingredients that may include pork, onions, hardboiled eggs and different vegetables), polenta, couve (collard greens), chouriço (a type of sausage that is less spicy than its cousin chorizo) and fried banana are examples of popular dishes from Minas Gerais.

South Cusine
Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, and Santa Catarina

To the national cuisine the gaucho (sort of cowboy of the pampa), contributed dishes made with sun- or salt-dried meats and churrasco (a Brazilian relative of the BBQ), a meal of flame grilled fresh meats. Use your international cellular phone rental to make reservations at restaurants that serve these local specialities.

The European immigrants (primarily from Italy and Germany) were accustomed to a wheat-based diet, and introduced wine, leaf vegetables, and dairy products into Brazilian cuisine. When potatoes were not available they discovered how to use the native sweet manioc as a replacement.


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