Learning the Eating Customs of Brazil

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In Brazil, the typical way to eat meals is with the company of family and friends. People generally eat slowly over the course of time.

Those who prefer to eat alone have the option of eating at cheap buffet-style restaurants where you put food on your dish and are charged by the kilo. These places will probably have a variety of salads, pastas and meats to select.

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The national dish of Brazil is called Feijoada, which has rice, pork and spicy black beans. The national drink in Brazil is coffee, which is usually served strong and sugary. It is normal for people to drink coffee a few times throughout the day. There are also many sweet tropical fruits available because of the hot and humid climate.

In Brazil, it is considered rude to eat on the streets. Eating on the go is considered very sloppy, and you will probably not see people eating while walking or in transit. Even if people go to a juice bar or a snack stand, they will remain standing until the entire thing is consumed.

Brazilians also look down on eating food with hands, and you will see people using utensils for almost anything, even foods like pizza and sandwiches. If you must pick food up, like a pastry, make sure to wrap it in a napkin. They will probably not eat food in places that are not meant for eating. Businessmen eating at their offices is very rare to see.

If you are offered food in Brazil, do not say “Thank you,” as this is interpreted as “No, thank you,” and is seen as rudely refusing.

Brazilians usually eat three times a day. Breakfast is usually a light meal with nothing like bacon, ham or eggs. It usually consists of simple foods like pastries or bread with jam, with coffee, milk or juice as a drink. Lunch is the main meal of the day, which is eaten at noon with the family or with friends; it is considered a time for socializing with them. Some of the foods served during lunch could be meats, rice, potatoes, beans and vegetables. Dinner is generally lighter than lunch, and sometimes just consists of snack foods. Some common dinner items include biscuits, cheese and ham.

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4 Responses to “Learning the Eating Customs of Brazil”

  1. Tint
    July 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    I’m puzzled. Which part of Brazil do you get these eating habits from? Their black beans with feijoada are most definitely not spicy. Potatoes are very uncommon at lunches. This is very much a rice and pasta nation.

    Eating on the go is common – case in point, the number of streetside vendors. In fairness, this is probably new, but definitely seen on the streets, in the buses, on the underground in São Paulo.

    For breakfast, one of the most popular drinks is chocolate milk, either hot or cold, depending on the season. Oh, and cake.

  2. Donna
    September 6, 2010 at 12:16 am #

    I just asked another question in this website’s New Year’s section about Brazil but perhaps it could be better answered here. Do you know about the eating of lentils for luck on New Year’s in Brazil/ Rio de Janeiro specifically? Is this a well known custom there? Do restaurants serve them then? Thanks.

  3. SBG
    March 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    I can eat rice, beans and a meat everyday (whether that’s fish, steak, beef, sausage, etc.) so I can live in Brazil very well. I love Brazil. I’ll retire in Brazil.

  4. Gianmarco
    September 10, 2011 at 2:35 am #

    I’m a born Brazilian who lives in New Zealand, I live in a town called Gramado, near Porto Alegre – RS in the very south of Brazil.

    You will see people eating on the go although it is not common. Yes, there are a great amount of street side vendedor, however something I do and I notice many people do it as well, even when they get a hot dog from a street vendedor, people finished it all up before they start walking again.
    Brazil is a massive country so there are a great diversity of popular food in different regions, Its thought, pretty much a Rice and Beans, pasta and feijoada country. These are amongst the most popular food. You will easily find potatoes on buffet restaurants too. feijoada can either be spice or not, its a matter of what you prefer.
    yes, chocolate milk its very popular, especially among teenagers and kids, that usually switch it off to coffe as they grow.

    To Donna, people do believe eating lentils brings luck, the same way people jump waves on beach and many other new years believes that supposedly bring luck.

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