Now that the Olympics are wrapping up you may be thinking of visiting Brazil. While Rio is certainly what Brazil is famous for, you should not overlook Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo is the 12th largest city in the world and the largest in Latin America and the southern hemisphere. It is also home to thousands of fantastic restaurants and tourist sites. I spent a long weekend there in December and I would like to share it with you the way I know best, through my stomach.
As soon as you arrive in Sao Paulo you must go directly to Mercado Municipal. The Mercado Municipal is up there with the great markets around the world. Towering piles of fruits meet giant sides of freshly butchered pork and beef. Espresso stands crowd next to purveyors of dried fruits and nuts. There are stands dedicated to hot peppers, to candy, and to feijoada ingredients.
You can wander the aisles (loosely organized in sections including raw fish and meat; cheese, cured meats, and spices) sampling cheeses and vegetables, or go upstairs to the market’s mezzanine, park at one of the sit down restaurants, and enjoy a cold beer and salty snack. I went straight for Bar Do Mane. They have what is considered by most locals and tourists alike one of the most famous sandwiches in Sao Paulo. The grilled mortadella and cheese.
The sandwich is a long way from its cousin the bologna sandwich. Thin pieces of freshly sliced, porky mortadella are draped into mounds that are slapped on to a griddle and pan-fried to perfection—leaving the outer layers brown and crisp, and the inner ones supple and silken. Topped with layers of melted cheese and slung into an unadorned roll, the sandwich needs little accompaniment. Condiments are available, but the only really necessary pairing is a cold Brazilian beer.
BAR DO MANÉ
Rua da Cantareira, 306, Sao Paulo 01024 Brazil
Next up you must try Feijoada. Feijoada has been described as the national dish of Brazil. Brazilian feijoada is prepared with black beans, a variety of salted pork or beef products, such as pork trimmings (ears, tail, feet), bacon, smoked pork ribs, and at least two types of smoked sausage and jerked beef (loin and tongue). This stew is best prepared over a low fire in a thick clay pot. The final dish has the beans and meat pieces barely covered by a dark purplish-brown broth. The taste is strong, moderately salty but not spicy, dominated by the flavors of black bean and meat stew. It is customary to serve it with white rice and oranges, the latter to help with digestion.
The place to have this fantastic dish is Feijoada Da Lana. This is a great restaurant situated in Lana’s home in a suburban area. Place seats about 40 with indoor and out door seating. The whole meal is all you can eat and served in a buffet out of the kitchen. Grab a cold beer and sit outside and enjoy the sounds of the neighborhood.
Feijoada Da Lana
Vila MadalenaR. Aspicuelta, 421
São Paulo – SP
Phone number(11) 3814-9191
Finally for your grand finale meal in Brazil, I would highly recommend Mocotó. Mocotó is crazy, crazy good! Despite of the long drive and wait line from hell, it is all worth it, seriously!
First things first. You start off with the soup this place is named for. They don’t even tell you what’s in it but it was delicious.
Then you move along to some delicious chicharrones
Then if you’re a savage like myself, you have to try the fried tapioca and the fried cheese.
Our main course was a fantastic lamb dish that was enough for a family of 5.
Of course there’s always room for coffee and dessert. Nice milk jam creme brûlée and some terrific Brazilian coffee.
Av. Nossa Senhora do Loreto, 1.100
São Paulo – SP 02219-001
Even when you go bar hopping in Brazil there is no shortage of incredible food. This family sized portion of beef was served to us at a great bar with a live band. I expected bar food but not something this amazing.
No trip to Brazil would be complete without a caipirinha or twelve 🙂
Until next time my friends…cheers and abrigado!