Thursday, September 24, 2015

Food Snacks in Brazil

Life, in my opinion, is just a series of activities you do to fill the time between when it's "appropriate" to eat. One of the most exciting parts of the IronBiker trip to Brazil for me was the opportunity to experience a new food culture (I don't get out much), and I wasn't disappointed!
Here is a breakdown of a few of the most memorable meals I ate in Brazil.
Spencer at the buffet, all kept warm with a wood burning fire!
Right off the plane, on the road to Mariana, we stopped at a super cute restaurant with a pay by weight buffet style set up. I soon learned that this is how most food is served in Brazil, which is a tad dangerous for a girl who doesn't understand portions :) You just pile the food on your plate, weigh it and pay by the kilo. Meals like this usually cost me around 18 - 20 Reals which is like $5 US. At the first place we ate I had an amazing egg, sausage, black bean and couscous type dish, some rice and chicken. I was a little scared to eat raw veggies because of the possibility of getting sick from the water, but this turned out to not be an issue where we ate and stayed through the trip (By the end I was drinking tap water daily). 

The first night I raced short track, which was over so late that by the time we made it to dinner all that was left was pasta and some fried things we called meat pillows all week. Fried corn around meat is pretty common, and I really really liked it! I admit to eating more fried food than I should have while in Brazil, but my rational was that I wanted the full experience... :)

I failed to get any pictures of breakfast in Mariana, but it was a continental style buffet at the hotel, and it was incredible! Highlights included an avocado drink that tasted amazing and which all the locals said was really good for you, tons of pastry and bread options and lots of super tasty fresh fruit.

After the crazy long stage on Saturday I gorged myself on Acai (also really common here and super good/fresh), and then hit the buffet and stuffed myself silly with okra, chicken, chorizo, kale, and another grain based salad with unknown contents.

And again Sunday we had more amazing buffet food (we ate at the same restaurant most of the time we were in Mariana). I think on Sunday I had blood sausage, beets, more chorizo, and more fried meat pillows.

The hot food portion of the buffet in our favorite restaurant in Mariana.
We ate dinner Sunday night at a fish place off the hwy, and were forced to order from a man who spoke no English (our group of 3 spoke no Portuguese). It was a bit comical, but Tilapia is the same in both languages, and arroz y ensalada is easy enough to figure out!

The breakfasts in Belo Horizonte, where we stayed Monday through Wednesday, were incredible and delivered to our rooms each morning. They always included coffee, milk, juice, jello, pastries, fruit, and a meat/cheese plate. The pastry basket had these soft little rolls baked with cheese inside, those were so so good. I pretty much lived for this breakfast, especially the assorted baked goods and the ability to eat it in bed while reading my book. It was heavenly :)

One of the nights we were in BH (apparently that's what the locals call it) we ate at an incredible shish-kabob place which basically only served meat and cheese and garlic bread. It was amazing, cheesy meat on a stick, chicken hearts on a stick, straight up cheese on a stick! So unhealthy, but again, trying to experience the food culture here!! I also met the cutest stray dog IN the restaurant. There are strays all over Brazil, but they are super well behaved, much more so than my spoiled dog at home! I named the stray puppy Scout, and basically fell in love/may have tried to take her home with me. 


Another meal that stands out was the sushi we had for lunch one day. It was pay by weight, and the sushi was all much smaller than US rolls, but it was out of control tasty, and there were so many options! Obviously by this point in the trip I wasn't worried about getting sick from the food.
This is only HALF the buffet sushi roll options!
And my plate was less than 20 Reals! All the Sushi for about $5!!
And the last meal we ate, at the airport, was also so so good. This one was a real buffet, no weighing this time. I had the most amazing thick and crunchy bacon, pork ribs, veggies and fruits. And then dessert... amazing chocolate cake, some other cake, yogurt and these caramel/nutella filled truffle like things. So good I'm getting hungry for it all over again! I had three truffles, because it was the last meal in Brazil, and why the heck not!
Other random things that stuck out to me: The utensils often come packaged in plastic, although I'm not sure why. If you order water it will always come in a bottle and they will ALWAYS ask 'con or sin gas?' (bubly water or plain water). There were never English translations of the food labels, so I basically just tried a lot of new stuff because I had no idea what the heck I was about to eat!  No one drinks iced coffee in Brazil!!! The horror, I know! I had to explain a few times that I wanted ice in milk with espresso poured into it, and the waiters were always so weirded out by my desire to drink cold coffee.

In summary, every meal was incredible, and I didn't get sick once while in Brazil! Now I have to be a good kid and try to swing back in the direction of healthy eating :) But eating so many pastries and so much fried food was fun while it lasted!




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