How Brazilian Traditions Work

Traditional Brazilian Food

The foods traditionally eaten by Brazilians are a product of the people's diverse ethnic backgrounds, as well as the land itself. At the heart of the Brazilian diet are rice, beans and manioc, a root vegetable from which they make farinha, a fine, yellowish flour. Meat, poultry and fish are added to the staple foods in varying degree.

It's not surprising, then, that the national dish is feijoada. The dish, whose name means big bean stew, is comprised of several meats that are slowly cooked with black beans and condiments. If you have a feijoada completa, or complete feijoada meal, the stew will be accompanied by fresh orange slices, rice, peppery onion sauce, chopped collard greens and farinha. Although feijoada's origins are as a slave meal, it's consumed by all Brazilians, is served at restaurants (typically on Wednesdays and Saturdays) and is commonly served when entertaining [source: Every Culture]. Since rice is a dietary staple, another popular dish is fried rice balls.


While the above food and drink are common throughout the country, there are regional differences as well. In the northeast, where there's a heavy African influence, palm oil, dried shrimp, peanuts and peppers are used in many dishes, and in southern Brazil where there are numerous cattle ranches, grilled meat and barbecues are popular.