Exploring the main dishes of Brazil

Exploring the main dishes of Brazil

Brazil is a country known for its vibrant culture and diverse cuisine. From the flavorsome feijoada to the mouthwatering pão de queijo, Brazilian main dishes offer a unique culinary experience that is sure to delight your taste buds. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most popular and traditional main dishes of Brazil, uncovering their rich history and the ingredients that make them so special. Whether you are a food enthusiast or planning a trip to Brazil, this guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the delicious main dishes that this South American country has to offer.

Traditional Brazilian Main Dishes


Feijoada is considered the national dish of Brazil and is cherished by locals and visitors alike. This hearty and flavorful stew consists of black beans cooked with a variety of pork cuts, such as bacon, sausage, and different cuts of pork meat. It is traditionally served with white rice, collard greens, farofa (toasted cassava flour), and orange slices. The combination of tender beans and richly seasoned meats creates a delicious and comforting dish that represents the cultural diversity and culinary heritage of Brazil.


Moqueca is a delicious and aromatic fish stew that originates from the coastal regions of Brazil. This vibrant dish is typically made with fresh fish, such as cod or grouper, cooked in a fragrant broth of coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and palm oil. The addition of bell peppers, cilantro, and lime juice adds a burst of freshness to the dish. Moqueca is often served with rice and farofa, allowing you to savor the delicate flavors of the fish and the rich, creamy texture of the broth.

Bobó de Camarão

Bobó de Camarão is a delightful shrimp dish that showcases the flavors of Brazil’s northeastern cuisine. This creamy and aromatic stew consists of shrimp cooked in a velvety sauce made from yucca (cassava) puree, coconut milk, dende oil (palm oil), onions, garlic, tomatoes, and various spices. The combination of the naturally sweet shrimp and the rich, savory sauce creates a harmonious blend of flavors that will leave you craving for more. Bobó de Camarão is commonly served with white rice and pirão, a thick sauce made from shrimp broth and cassava flour, enhancing the overall taste and texture of the dish.

These traditional Brazilian main dishes exemplify the diverse and vibrant culinary scene of Brazil. Whether you’re a fan of hearty stews, flavorful fish dishes, or creamy shrimp delights, exploring the main dishes of Brazil will undoubtedly be a gastronomic adventure worth experiencing.

Regional Main Dishes

Acarajé (Northeast)

Acarajé is a traditional main dish from the Northeast region of Brazil. It is a deep-fried ball made from black-eyed pea dough and stuffed with a flavorful mixture of shrimp, onions, tomatoes, and other spices. The dish is typically served as a street food snack and is popular in cities like Salvador and Recife. Acarajé has influences from African cuisine, particularly from the Yoruba people, who brought it to Brazil during the colonial period. It is often enjoyed with hot pepper sauce and is a must-try for anyone visiting the Northeast region.

Churrasco (South)

Churrasco is a mouthwatering main dish that originated in the Southern region of Brazil. It is essentially a barbecue-style meal that features a variety of grilled meats, including beef, pork, chicken, and sausages. The meat is typically seasoned with salt and cooked over an open fire or charcoal grill to perfection. Churrasco is known for its tender and juicy cuts of meat, which are often served alongside traditional side dishes like farofa (toasted cassava flour), chimichurri sauce, and vinaigrette salad. This beloved Brazilian barbecue tradition is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Vatapá (North)

Vatapá is a popular main dish hailing from the North region of Brazil, particularly the state of Bahia. It is a rich and creamy dish made with a base of bread, shrimp, coconut milk, palm oil, peanuts, and various spices. Vatapá has strong African and indigenous influences, reflecting the diverse cultural heritage of the region. This flavorful dish is typically enjoyed with rice or as a filling for acarajé, a popular street food snack. The combination of unique ingredients and aromatic spices makes Vatapá a true culinary delight that showcases the rich flavors of the North region.

Popular Street Food Main Dishes


Pastel is one of the most beloved and traditional street foods in Brazil. This deep-fried pastry is made with a thin and crispy dough that is filled with a variety of savory ingredients. The fillings can range from cheese, meat, chicken, shrimp, or even a combination of these flavors. Pastel is typically served hot and is often accompanied by a tangy dipping sauce, such as molho de pimenta, a spicy pepper sauce. It is a common sight to see food vendors selling pastel in street markets, fairs, and even on busy city corners. The irresistible aroma and delicious taste make pastel a must-try street food when exploring the culinary delights of Brazil.


Coxinha is another popular street food dish that can be found all over Brazil. Shaped like a small drumstick, this delightful snack is made with shredded chicken that is seasoned with herbs and spices. The chicken is then enclosed in a dough made from mashed potatoes, which is coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried to perfection. The result is a crispy and golden exterior with a savory and moist filling. Coxinha is often enjoyed as a quick bite on the go or as a party snack. Its unique shape and delicious taste have made it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.


Tapioca is a versatile and gluten-free street food dish that has gained popularity in Brazil. It is made from cassava flour, which is extracted from the root of the cassava plant. Tapioca is prepared by spreading the flour on a hot griddle, where it forms a thin and flexible pancake-like crepe. It can be filled with a variety of ingredients, such as cheese, coconut, chocolate, or even savory options like ham and cheese. Tapioca is folded over to create a pocket, similar to a quesadilla, and is often enjoyed as a light meal or snack. Its simplicity, delicious taste, and the ability to customize the fillings have made tapioca a beloved street food option in Brazil.

These popular street food main dishes of Brazil, including pastel, coxinha, and tapioca, showcase the vibrant and diverse culinary scene of the country. Whether you’re exploring bustling city streets or local markets, these delicious treats are sure to satisfy your cravings and provide a taste of authentic Brazilian flavors.

In conclusion, the main dishes of Brazil offer a vibrant and diverse culinary experience that reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage and natural resources. From the iconic feijoada, a hearty black bean stew with various meats, to the mouthwatering picanha, a juicy and flavorful cut of beef, Brazilian cuisine never fails to satisfy the taste buds. Whether you are a fan of seafood, vegetarian options, or indulging in decadent desserts like brigadeiros, Brazil has something for everyone. So, if you ever find yourself in this beautiful South American country, don’t miss the opportunity to explore and savor the delicious main dishes that make Brazil a true gastronomic paradise.

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