How to Eat Like a Local in Brazil: From Classic to Favorite

It is exciting to have a “how to eat like a local in Brazil” experience. It helps you understand everything about Brazil and relish the excursion.

Where does Brazilian cuisine come from? The Portuguese brought salted codfish (bacalhao), meats, shellfish, olive oil, sugar, eggs, and some kinds of dessert. They also had incredible ingredients such as cloves, peppers, and coriander. These make the cuisine of Brazil.


Today, Brazilians have a diverse ecosystem in food and beverage. When traveling to this vast country, everyone always tries all of the local foods, especially the etiquette “how to eat like a local in Brazil”.

About Brazilian cuisine

Believe it or not, understanding Brazilian cuisines can help you react like “how to eat like a local in Brazil”.

Brazilian cuisine is special because it contains traditional foods and other continental influences such as Amerindian, African, European, and Asian. Moreover, it tremendously changes by region, indicating the country’s blend of indigenous and immigrant populations. These have made a national cuisine with distinct regions and preservation.



As a large country with 5 different regions – North, Northeast, Center-West, South-East, and South, Brazil has numerous traditions, customs, and cuisine. They are all alluring when you experience them all.

The cuisine of Bahia is a mixture of African, Portuguese, and Indigenous cuisines; for instance. Chili sauces and palm oils are the two main and popular ingredients in Brazilian cuisine. In the Northern areas; on the one hand, locals choose fish, fruits, and cassava as their core foods. In the South, people prefer barbecue as their tradition.

Popular foods of residents

The quintessential food of Brazil has plenty of influences. Portuguese cuisine is the most well-known in Brazil’s traditions and culture. You also explore local foods that have been influenced by African, Asian, European, and South American nations.

Due to the combination between native farms and coastlines, conventional Brazilian dishes are so delicious and rich. It is always a high spot for any excursion in this country.


Farofa is a type of salty and soft dish. People fry small pieces of bacon with tapioca flour. Then, locals enjoy it with beans and rice because of the smoky bacon. There are many types of bacon, salt, and spices depending on residents. Farofa could be eaten as a main dish, a barbeque, or a side dish.


Empadão is a chicken pie. It contains a scaly crust with casseroled chicken and several vegetables (corn, palm, and peas). Locals sometimes replace beef or shrimp in this pie. It could be eaten at family lunches and dinners every weekend. On some Brazilian public days, Empadão is a great idea. Visitors could find it at any street stall and botecos (a category of the local grocery store).



Pão de queijo

Pão de queijo is a loaf of cheese bread, originating from the Minas Gerais – a region in South Brazil. This is the special bread due to cassava flour and the soft cheese (queijo Minas). You can taste it at any time as a breakfast or light treat during the day. Adding cheese and jam to the bread, it becomes an appetizing breakfast.




Acarajé is a prominent dish and common street food of Bahia people. Made from black peas, locals love adding chopped onions, seasoned with common spicy elements (pepper and salt). Then, they fry all of them in palm oil. If locals want to eat a healthier Acarajé, they will not use palm oil. They boil only.




Vatapa is another side dish of the Bahia people. It contains a lot of ingredients such as coconut milk, palm oil, groundnuts, pieces of bread, and a mixture of herbs. Then, locals mash those ingredients into a paste. When it becomes a final dish, try it with rice or Acarajé.




Finding a Brazilian specialty, Picanha is the most famous cut. This is a kind of barbecued meat (tender) of locals. Seasoning with salt, locals roll the dish in thick-and-fat layers.

The smoky smell of the pork can attract you a lot. At a Brazilian barbecue party, Picanha is the best food on the list. Along with it, wild boar and chicken hearts are also their common dishes during the party.

What do locals eat during three meals of the day?

Not only a daily must, eating and drinking in Brazil are socializing activities in Brazil. Beans and rice are their comestibles and are eaten every day. Of course, the daily food routine has three main meals. Residents also enjoy side dishes in between; spending time to relax, socialize, doing business, and so on.


Breakfast starts from 6 am to 8:30 am, which is the most essential meal of the day for Brazilians. They often select pão francês (a kind of French bread), white cheese, and ham.



Unfrosted orange, corn cake, granola, and pão de queijo (cheese bread) are also additional options on their tables. Home or padaria (a bakery) is the place to kick off their morning with a generous breakfast.

Apart from the bread, coffee also wakes them. Pingado (strong coffee flavor with a dash of milk) and media (half coffee and half heated-up milk) are the most popular morning drinks. Fruit juice (guava and orange) and chocolate powder probably are regular alterations.


Lunch is a meal for socializing and relaxing. People usually relish lunchtime in per-kilo restaurants, where they can select a wide range of food at affordable prices. Caipirinha increases the appetite.

Beans, rice, meat, fish, and vegetables are the most common food on their plates. After the main course, they finish lunchtime with pudim (a type of flan) and a cup of espresso.



Churrascaria is the place for business lunchtime. This is a local steakhouse, where people can find many pieces of meat and salads.


Dinners seem to be a family union time or small parties as people come to the dinner table and sit together for the meal. Sometimes, Brazilians go out and reach the Happy Hour to get the drink promotion. Chopp (a kind of cold beer) is a prevailing drink during that time for locals, especially for travelers.



A wholesome meal could be rice, beans, meat, lasagna, pizza, stroganoff, etc. For those who want to be on a diet, he or she has side dishes only. Pastels, empadas (several pies), apim (roasted cassava), salami, fried chicken strips, and croquettes are on their plates.

Final Words

Apart from traditional food and beverage, you could add extra selections like desserts and fruit juice to your list. It makes a delicious combination between national dishes and unique creations, satisfying “how to eat like a local in Brazil”. Brigaderio, Bolo de Rolo, Mousse de Maracuja, Canjica, Feijoada, Tapioca attract any visitor.