Soup of the World

Santi Lopez | Nov 21, 2011

If the US is the salad of the world, Brazil is the soup!

Indigenous, African, White European, Lebanese Arabs and yes, the largest population of Japanese outside of Japan thrives throughout Brazil. There is no country in the Americas with more interracial relationships, and a unique spirit of harmony among those varying ethnicities.  


The Western European migration to southern Brazil was the result of a search for similar cooler climates by immigrants who were looking for their equivalent in the Americas. In Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Santa Catarina and other cities in Southern Brazil, the make-up is very German. It is almost impossible to walk down the street without spotting several blonde haired, chiseled-faced, blue-eyed locals walking by. The German influence is so evident, that even the police dress in the typical old German military-style uniforms. These cities purport a civil order and an efficient infrastructure. In fact Curitiba, a city of about three million, has been hailed as the "model city of South America” because of its stable economy, world class Omni-bus system, and general quality of life. Their consumption of provisions is significantly higher than in the US. They love their beef!


Beef & ... Pastry

Just below the middle of Brazil's coast line you find the two rapidly-paced, colossal cities--Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Sao Paulo ranks among the top five most populous cities on the planet and Rio is among the top 20. Both are peppered with numerous ethnic pockets including Lebanese and Japanese. Both of these cultures have contributed significantly to the already rich mantel of gastronomy known throughout Brazil. “Salgadinho” is a generic term that describes all Brazilian savory pastries. Each is named by the shape of the pastry and type of dough used.


    • Risoli – is a half-moon shaped pastry made from flour and rolled in bread crumbs

    • Pastel - very similar to an "empanada," it is made with a thin dough also from flour

    • Empadão - a savory cupcake, brushed with butter and baked to a golden brown

    • Bolinho de Aipim - a stuffed yuca-root pastry (cassava root in Eng.)

    • Kibe - although it is not made of a flour dough, kibe is beef with tabuli, mint, garlic, onion and other delicious flavors and is part of the Salgadinho family

    • Finally, Coxinha, is a cone shaped pastry made from flour, filled with chicken and fried—very tasty, and probably the most popular of all pastries in Brazil!


And, if sushi is what you enjoy, a world-class sushi restaurant can be found on nearly every square mile of Sao Paulo.


Northern Flavors

Finally, the north is rich in African culture. Bahia music, known for its fast beats and rhythmic melodies can be heard from Recife to Salvador Bahia! These cities are closer to the equator and are therefore hot and humid for most of the year. Many of the popular dishes here include fish, rice and roots. The work ethic is not nearly as solid as it is southward, but this region is arguably the most fun and animated in the country!