6 Snacks You Must Try in Brazil

  • 01 of 06

    Bolinho de Bacalhau

    Snacks in Brazil
    ••• Jenna Francisco

    One of the best features of Brazilian cuisine is the abundance of inexpensive, easy, and tasty snacks. These can be easily found at just about every eating establishment: cafes, small casual restaurants called botecos, roadside rest stops, cafeterias, and outdoor street markets. While some of these Brazilian snacks may be considered Brazilian street food, their place in Brazilian cuisine is important thanks to their popularity and ubiquity. So whether you want something salty to accompany your afternoon espresso or need a quick before-lunch snack, these Brazilian snacks (salgados) will satisfy your hunger and give you a good introduction to popular Brazilian cuisine.

    Bolinho de bacalhau (pronounced boh-LEE-nyu dzee BAH-kah-lyow as in "cow"), which means "little ball of cod," is a popular snack derived from the popular Portuguese inspired dish of salted cod with potatoes, tomatoes, olives, and onions. A bolinha de bacalahu contains a mix of shredded cod fish, mashed...MORE potatoes, and herbs, rolled together and then deep fried and served with lime. Filling and tasty, it's one of the best snacks found in botecos and casual restaurants in Brazil. 

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  • 02 of 06

    Empadinha

    Empadinha snack in Brazil
    ••• Jenna Francisco

    Empada, or the smaller empadinha (pronounced ehm-PAH-dah and ehm-pah-DZEE-nyah), is a mini pot pie served warm. There are usually two types: frango--chicken with peas--or palmito--heart of palm with green olives. Another tasty variety that you may come across is frango com requeijão e milho: chicken with cream cheese and corn. With a flaky crust and savory filling, an empadinha is a favorite quick snack to accompany coffee or juice in Brazil.

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  • 03 of 06

    Coxinha

    Coxinha snack in Brazil
    ••• Jenna Francisco

    Coxinha is another popular snack in Brazil. It's eaten at any time of the day, often with a cup of caldo de cana (sugar cane juice) or suco de laranja (freshly-squeezed orange juice). Coxinha is shaped like a chicken thigh. Inside is a mix of shredded chicken and a little bit of mild spice; the filling is surrounded by dough and then covered in bread crumbs or manioc flour and then deep fried. It's often served with a bottle of red spicy sauce that you can dab on top of the chicken once the coxinha is open. 

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  • 04 of 06

    Pão de Queijo

    Snacks in Brazil: pao de queijo
    ••• Jenna Francisco

    Pão de queijo (pronounced pauoh dzee KAY-zhu), or warm cheese bread, is one of the most popular Brazilian snacks. They variety in quality, but if you can find them freshly baked, buy a small bag full and enjoy. This snack is made from tapioca flour and cheese; the balls of dough are baked so that the outside is a little crispy and the inside is soft with melted cheese. Because this is made with tapioca flour, it's one of the few gluten-free options you'll find in Brazil.

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  • 05 of 06

    Pastel

    Pastel street food in Brazil
    ••• Pastel de bacalhao. Jenna Francisco

    Pastel (pronounced pah-STEU) is one of the most popular street snacks, especially in the southern state of São Paulo, where pastel stands are ubiquitous at outdoor markets in Brazil. A pastel is a deep fried pocket with a variety of fillings for you to choose. Common fillings are "pizza" (tomato, oregano and mozzarella cheese), carne (ground beef, sometimes with hard boiled eggs), bacalhau (cod fish with herbs and onion), or palmito (heart of palm). Ask locals where to find the best pastelaria (pastel shop). And by the way, the plural of pastel is pasteis (pronounced pah-STAYS).

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  • 06 of 06

    Sucos

    Juice in Brazil
    ••• Jenna Francisco

    Thanks to an enormous variety of fruits in Brazil, juice is a staple in the Brazilian diet and should be enjoyed while traveling in Brazil. Suco de laranja (freshly squeezed orange juice, pronounced SOO-koo dzee lah-RAHN-zha) is perhaps the most common type of juice in Brazil, but dozens of types are available, many containing fruits from the Amazon, such as cupuaçu and açaí. Juice combinations are also popular--look for suco de laranja com mamão (orange juice with papaya), suco de laranja com acerola (shown above--orange juice with acerola, a fruit from the Amazon which contains vitamin C), and suco de abacaxi com hortelã (pineapple juice with mint). See this handy guide to order juice in Brazil.