Given that Brazilian culture has been formed from traditions from all over the world - native, European, African and Asian - Brazilian cuisine is unsurprisingly very diverse both when it comes to dishes and ingredients.
Brazil's cuisine is as varied as its geography and culture, based on the variety of crops, livestock and seafood produced in the country. On the other hand, some may find it an unrefined melange, and everyday fare can be bland and monotonous. While there are some quite unique dishes of regional origin, many dishes were brought by overseas immigrants and have been adapted to local tastes through the generations. Italian and Chinese food in Brazil can often be as baffling as Amazonian fare.
As the crown jewel of the Portuguese Empire for almost four centuries, Brazil was a hub of colonial biopiracy with many imported crops (such as coconuts, mangoes, bananas, coffee, breadfruit and jackfruit) being Brazilian staples since time immemorial – conversely, the same can be said about cassava, guava and pineapple in Angola, Goa, Macau and such. The national culinary styles all have evident Portuguese roots; to sift the real extent of Portuguese influence in the Brazilian cuisine would be an exercise of history and anthropology.
The standard Brazilian set lunch is called prato feito, with its siblings comercial and executivo. Rice and brown beans in sauce, with a small steak. Usually farofa, spaghetti, salad and French fries will come along. Beef may be substituted for chicken, fish or others.
- Breakfast, the café-da-manhã (literally, "morning coffee"): Mostly consumed between 7AM and 9:30AM. Every region has its own typical breakfast. It usually consists of a light meal, and it is not uncommon to have only a fruit or slice of bread and a cup of coffee. Traditional items include tropical fruits, typical cakes, crackers, bread, butter, cold cuts, cheese, honey, jam, doce de leite, coffee (usually sweetened, often with milk), juice, chocolate milk or tea.
- Brunch, the lanche-da-manhã (literally, "morning snack"), not very common. Usually had between 9 and 11 AM, consists of similar items as people have for breakfast.
- Midday lunch, the almoço: This is usually the biggest meal and the most common times range from 11 AM to 2 PM. Traditionally, people will go back to their houses to have lunch with their families, although nowadays that is not possible for most people, in which case it is common to have lunch in groups at restaurants or cafeterias. Rice is a staple of the Brazilian diet, albeit it is not uncommon to eat mashed potatoes or pasta instead. It is usually eaten together with beans and accompanied by salad, protein (most commonly red meat or chicken) and a dessert followed by coffee for last.
- Tea, the lanche-da-tarde or café-da-tarde (literally "afternoon snack" or "afternoon coffee"): It is a meal had between lunch and dinner, and basically everything people eat in the breakfast, they also eat in the afternoon snack. It might consist of just a cup of coffee.
- Night dinner, the jantar: For most Brazilians, jantar is a light affair at about 7:30 PM, while others dine later at night. Sandwiches, soups, salads, pasta, hamburgers or hot-dogs, pizza or repeating midday dinner foods are the most common choices.
- Late supper, the ceia: Mostly associated with Christmas and New Year's Eve, very uncommon outside this time window.
Brazilian snacks, lanches (sandwiches) and salgadinhos (most anything else), include a wide variety of pastries. Look for coxinha (deep-fried, batter-coated chicken), empada (a tiny pie, not to be confused with the empanada - empadas and empanadas are entirely different items), and pastel (fried turnovers). Another common snack is a misto quente, a pressed, toasted ham-and-cheese sandwich. Pão-de-queijo, a roll made of manioc flour and cheese, is very popular, especially in Minas Gerais state - pão-de-queijo and a cup of fresh Brazilian coffee is a classic combination.
- Biscoito de polvilho - crispy sticks or rings of cassava flour, eaten as a snack
- Cassava (the root of the Manihot esculenta plant, in Portuguese macaxeira, mandioca, aipim) can be cut to big chunks or smaller chips, and fried like french fries, or boiled until tender and served with butter; all are popular bar snacks.
- Pamonha - a corn-husk wrap filled with corn paste and boiled, similar to Peru and Argentina's humitas; sometimes other fillings are added like meat, cheese or coconut pulp
- Salgado (lit: "salty") is an umbrella term for finger food; generally meat, baked or fried, inside a pastry
- Torresmo - pork rinds, identical to Tex-Mex chicharrones
Bread and pastries
- Pastel. - Deep-fried pastry filled with cheese, minced meat or ham.
- Abarém - a corn or rice cookie, prepaed in dried banana leaves.
- Bauru - a sandwich, commonly with melted mozzarella, roast beef, tomato and pickled cucumber
- Bolacha sete-capas- a savoury cookie with coconut milk
- Broa - cornbread
- Misto-quente - ham and cheese sandwich served hot
- Pão de queijo - ball-formed cassava or corn breads filled with cheese, popular as breakfast
- Rabanada - French toast with sugar and cinnamon
- Rissole - similar to French rissole (a patty in a bread), they're commonly filled with sweetcorn, cheese, chicken or shrimp
- Tareco - a kind of cookies from Pernambuco
Stews and soups
- Bobó de camarão - a shrimp soup with cassava, coconut milk and herbs, closely related to the West African dish ipetê.
- Caldeirada - fish stew
- Brazil's national dish is feijoada, a hearty stew made of black beans, pork (ears, knuckles, ribs, tail, chops, sausage) and beef (usually dried). It's served with rice, garnished with farofa, collard greens and sliced oranges. It's not served in every restaurant; the ones that serve it typically offer it on Wednesdays and Saturdays. A typical mistake made by tourists is to eat too much feijoada upon first encounter. This is a heavy dish — even Brazilians usually eat it parsimoniously.
- Feijão verde. Green beans with cheese gratin.
- Galinhada - chicken risotto
- Caldo de Mocotó - a stew of cow's feet and bone marrow, beans and vegetables
- Moqueca - seafood and coconut milk stew
- Quibebe - winter squash soup
- Sarapatel - offal soup of Portuguese origin; the Portuguese also introduced it to India where it's popular
- Sopa de mondogo - soup with tripe and vegetable
- Tacacá - soup with jambu (paracress, Acmella oleracea), tucupi, dried shrimps and peppers
- Acarajé - a deep fried ball of black-eyed peas originating from Nigeria. It's often served as street food and the steamed version is called abará.
- Bolinho - deep fried balls that can be composed of cheese, codfish (bolinho de bacalhau), or flour, eggs and milk (bolinho de chuva)
- Coxinha - a kind of chicken nugget, formed as a big drop, and there are vegetarian versions as well
Cassava and other flour-based dishes
- Farofa. Yellow cassava flour stir-fried with bacon and onion bits; the standard carbo side dish at restaurants, along with white rice.
- Paçoca. Beef jerky mixed with yellow cassava flour in a pilão (big mortar with a big pestle). Traditional cowboy fare.
- Tapioca (Beiju de tapioca). Made with the gluten-free tapioca flour, a specific white grainy type of cassava flour (a preferred item for those who suffer of coeliac disease). When properly moistened and heated in a pan, it hardens into a thick pancake, shaped like a disk. Some will serve it folded in half, others will roll it rocambole-style. The filling varies, but it can be done sweet or savory, with the most traditional flavors being: grated coconut/condensed milk (sweet), beef jerky/coalho cheese, plain cheese, and butter (savory). However, it has become a "gourmetized" food item, to be treated with creativity; nutella, chocolate, napolitano (pizza cheese/ham/tomato/oregano) and shredded chicken breast/catupiry cheese being almost standard options nowadays.
- Acaça - porridge made of rice flour and coconut milk.
- Angu - a polenta-like cornmeal porridge, eaten as a side dish
- Arrumadinho - cassava, jerky, farofa, vinaigrette and green beans
- Cabeça de galo - cassava flour broth with eggs and spices.
- Escondidinho - mashed cassava mixed with sundried beef and coalho cheese bits, gratined in the oven
- Vatapá - a yellow creamy paste made with bread, shrimp, coconut milk, ground peanuts and palm oil
Meat and fish
- Cabidela - rice with chicken (usually, but other poultry occasionally), cooked in the animal's blood.
- Carne-de-sol - sundried beef, literally translating to "meat of the sun"; also known as charque (≈"jerky")
- Chouriço - blood sausage
- Churrasco - barbecue; an umbrella term for roasted and grilled meat, like the Spanish word asado
- Pato no tucupi - Roasted duck boiled with tucupi (sauce of manioc root), paracress and chicory, served with yellow flour and rice
- Piracuí - dried and ground fish with olive oil, onion and cassava flour
- Arroz de coco - coconut rice, ie. white rice cooked in coconut milk
- Arroz e feijão - rice and beans
- Baião de Dois - rice and beans, sometimes with cheese added, commonly served as a side to seafood or dried meat
- Cuscuz - the North African couscous, made with cornmeal in Brazil
- Granola - mix of roasted nuts, very similar to the Swiss müsli
- Maniçoba - manioc leaves are ground and boiled for a week to remove the poison, often, different meats are added; it's served with rice and cassava
- Salada - universally available; the most basic option would be lettuce, tomato, cucumber and raw onion rings, or just lettuce and tomato. Buffet restaurants and churrascarias will have multiple options available.
- Catupiry - a kind of requeijão (cream cheese), used as an ingredient in pizza, as a spread, or eaten on its own as a dessert
- Queijo coalho - somewhat similar to halloumi, firm "squeaky" cheese barbequed over charcoal and eaten as a beach snack
- Queijo de Minas - traditional cheese from Minas Gerais, comes in "frescal", "meia-cura" and "curado" versions
- Requeijão - cream cheese
Condiments and sauces
- Caruru - a heavy sauce with okra, onion, shrimp, palm oil and toasted nuts
- Tucupi - a watery sauce made of mashed manioc root. An egg cooked on 100 ml of boiling tucupi is a great delicacy
- Grão-de-bico - chickpeas
- Tapioca - starch from cassava roots
- Feijão verde - green beans
- Brigadeiro. A traditional Brazilian dessert from the 1940s, made of cocoa powder, condensed milk, and butter, covered chocolate sprinkles.
- Beijinho - a cupcake, similar to brigadeiro but with coconut
- Paçoca - a candy made of ground peanuts and sugar; but in the northeast the name means sundried beef with cassava flour and red onions
- Pé-de-moleque - a candy of peanuts held together by molasses
- Sorvete - ice cream is a must on a tropical climate. Häagen-Dazs and local brands are easily found in chain supermarkets and convenience stores, and many dedicated shops (sorveterias) sell artisanal varieties worth trying. Mexican-style paletas (popsicles without artificial ingredients) have been trending since the late 2010s.
- Churrasco is Brazilian barbecue, usually served rodízio or espeto corrido (all-you-can-eat). Waiters carry huge cuts of meat on steel spits from table to table, and carve off slices onto your plate (use the tongs to grab the meat slice and don't touch the knife edge with your silverware to avoid dulling the edge). Traditionally, you are given a small wooden block colored green on one side and red on the other. When you're ready to eat, put the green side up. When you're too stuffed to even tell the waiter you've had enough, put the red side up... Rodízio places have a buffet for non-meaty items; in most places, the desserts are not considered part of the main buffet and are charged as a supplement. Most churrasco restaurants (churrascarias) also serve other types of food, so it is safe to go there with a friend that is not really fond of meat. While churrascarias are usually fairly expensive places, in the countryside, where they are frequented even by the less affluent, they tend to be much cheaper than in the big cities.
- The South Region's cooler climates welcomed sizable migrations of Italian, German, Polish and Ukrainian families, who brought their cultures and cuisines, and many communities merit slow road travel for the wine, the chocolate and the "café colonial" smorgasbord which is a local tradition of hospitality.
- The metropolitan areas of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte are national gastronomic hubs; choosing options for one's budget is a touristic attraction in and of itself.
- Cozinha Mineira (lit: "Miners' Kitchen") is the cuisine of Minas Gerais, based on Portuguese culinary traditions, pork, beef, white rice and brown beans, with some native South American vegetables and techniques thrown in. If not seen as particularly flashy, Minas Gerais cuisine has a much cherished "homely" feel. With a huge cattle-raising economy, there's a thriving dairy industry producing dozens (if not hundreds) of varieties of artisanal cheese, and churrascarias are easily found as well.
- Espírito Santo and Bahia have two different versions of moqueca, a delightful coconut milk-based seafood stew prepared in a special type of clay pot.
- The cuisines of Goiás and Mato Grosso are very similar to Cozinha Mineira, with more emphasis on local ingredients like river fish, plantains, guava, pequi (the smelly and thorny yellow little fruit from the Caryocar brasiliense tree) and guariroba (the "bitter palm", Syagrus oleracea). The states are national hubs of cattle-raising activity, and churrascarias are ubiquitous.
- The national capital Brasília is another national gastronomic hub, with many choices of national and international types of food. State capitals Goiânia, Cuiabá and Campo Grande are also big cities with many different options, but more into their own respective traditional dishes, as a rule.
- The food of Bahia has its roots across the Atlantic in East Africa and Indian cuisine. Coconut, okra, black-eyed peas, plantains, breadfruit, peanuts, dendê (Elaeis guineensis) palm oil, hot peppers, and seafood are the prime ingredients. Tip: hot (quente) means lots of pepper, cold (frio) means less or no pepper at all. If you dare to eat it hot you should try acarajé (prawn-filled roasties), vatapá (yellow creamy paste made with bread, shrimp, coconut milk, ground peanuts and palm oil) and caldo de feijão (drinkable black beans soup).
- Further north than Bahia, in the Northeastearn interior area, goat and sundried beef are prevalent; sun-drying techniques and dry-climate crops like coconuts, date palms and local fruits are a major factor here.
- The Northeastern coastal fare has great seafood. Ceará is known to have the country's best crab. It's so popular that literally every weekend thousands of people go to Praia do Futuro in Fortaleza to eat fried fish, oysters, various styles of shrimp and crabs (usually followed by cold beer). São Luís, Natal, Recife and João Pessoa are not culinarily dissimilar, but their respective local fruits and specialities make for delicious research.
- Amazonian cuisine draws from the food of the indigenous inhabitants, including various exotic fish and vegetables. There is also a stupendous variety of tropical fruits. However, in the huge areas of Pará (Brazil), Tocantins and Rondônia where King Cattle already reigns supreme, churrascarias, espeto corrido, pizza and Cozinha Mineira will be more common.
Brazilian "fusion" cuisines
- Pizza is very popular in Brazil. In Sāo Paulo, travellers will find the highest rate of pizza parlours per inhabitant in the country. The variety of flavours is extremely vast, with some restaurants offering more than 100 types of pizza. It is worth noting the difference between the European "mozzarella" and the Brazilian "muçarela". They differ in flavor, appearance and origin but buffalo mozzarella ("muçarela de búfala") is also often available. The Brazilian "muçarela", which tops most pizzas, is yellow in color and has a stronger taste. Brazilian pizza culture is full of regional quirks; for instance, there is ongoing debate whether the "calabresa" type implies sliced Calabrian sausage (which is actually a Paulista invention), onions and cheese (RJ, DF, RS) or just sausage and onion, no cheese (SP, MG, GO, and others who call the sausage+onions+cheese type "toscana"). Many other dishes of Italian origin, such as macarrão (macaroni), nhoque (gnocchi) and lasanha, are also very popular.
- Middle Eastern and Arab (actually Lebanese) food is widely available. Most options offer high quality and a big variety. Some types of Middle Eastern food, such as quibe and esfiha have been adapted and are available at snack stands and fast food joints nation-wide. You can also find shawarma (kebabs) stands, which Brazilians used to call "churrasco grego" (Greek barbecue)
- São Paulo's Japanese restaurants serve up lots of tempura, yakisoba, sushi and sashimi. The variety is good and mostly the prices are very attractive when compared to Europe, USA and Japan. Most Japanese restaurants also offer the rodizio or buffet option, with the same quality as if you ordered from the menu. Sometimes, however, it can be quite a departure from the real thing. In particular, Brazilian-made sushis often employ copious amounts of cream cheese and mayonnaise, and breaded sushi with tare sauce ("hot rolls") are as popular as "raw fish" sushi.
- Chinese cuisine, again with some variations from the traditional, is very widespread as well. Spring rolls, chop suey and frango xadrez ("chess chicken", the typical Chinese Brazilian main course) are easier to find than sushi in most Brazilian cities, especially in the state of São Paulo.
- The trend of health food has been on the rise since the 1980s. In most cities as of 2020, there will be a lot of health food joints serving açaí, health salads, fruit juices and salads, Hawaiian poke, French-style sorbet, veg/vegan options and such.
- Restaurants add a 10% service charge on the bill, and this is generally the only tip paid in Brazil. It is not mandatory, but asking for the charge to be removed is often considered very rude and is normally reserved for bad service. If you really want to tip, R$5-10 are enough, and it will probably really surprise your server too.
- There are two types of self-service restaurants, sometimes with both options available in one place: all-you-can-eat buffets with barbecue served at the tables, called rodízio, or a price per weight (por quilo or quilão), very common during lunchtime throughout Brazil. Load up at the buffet and get your plate on the scale before eating any. Especially in the South, the traditional Italian "galeto" is common. You'll be served different types of pasta, salads, soups and meat (mostly chicken) at your table.
- Customers are allowed by law to visit the kitchen to check how the food is being handled, although this is extremely uncommon and doing so will probably be considered odd and impolite.
- Some Brazilian restaurants serve only meals for two. It might not be clear from the menu, so ask the waiter. Most restaurants in this category allow for a "half-serving" of such plates (meia-porção), at 60-70% of the price. Also, couples at restaurants often sit side-by-side rather than across from each other; observe your waiter's cues or express your preference when being seated.
- Fast food is popular, and the local takes on hamburgers and hot-dogs ("cachorro-quente", translated literally) are well worth trying. Brazilian sandwiches come in many varieties, with ingredients like mayonnaise, bacon, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, corn, peas, raisins, French fries, ketchup, eggs, pickles, etc. Brave eaters may want to try the traditional complete hot dog (just ask for a completo), which, aside from the bun and the sausage, will include everything on display. The ubiquitous x-burger (and its varieties x-salada, x-tudo, etc.) is not as mysterious as it sounds: the pronunciation of the letter "X" in Portuguese sounds like "cheese", hence the name.
- Large chains: The fast-food burger chain Bob's is found nationwide and has been around in the country for almost as long as McDonald's. Spoleto serves Italian fare, Montana Grill serves steak lunches and Habib's, despite the name, serves pizza in addition to Arabian food. Burger King and Subway are very widespread; Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks are still uncommon.
Brazil's national booze is cachaça (cah-shah-sah, also known as aguardente ["burning water"] and pinga), a 40% sugar-cane liquor known to knock the unwary out quite quickly. It can be tried in virtually every bar in the country. Famous producing regions include Minas Gerais, where there are tours of distilleries, and the city of Paraty. Pirassununga is home to Caninha 51, Brazil's best-selling brand. Outside Fortaleza there is a cachaça museum (Museu da Cachaça) where you can learn about the history of the Ypioca brand.
Drinking cachaça straight, or stirring in only a dollop of honey or a bit of lime juice, is a common habit on the Northeast region of the country, but the strength of cachaça can be hidden in cocktails like the famous caipirinha, where it is mixed with sugar, lime juice and ice. Using vodka instead of cachaça is nicknamed caipiroska or caipivodka; with white rum, it's a caipiríssima; and with sake it's a caipisaquê (not in every region). Another interesting concoction is called capeta ("devil"), made with cachaça, condensed milk, cinnamon, guarana powder (a mild stimulant), and other ingredients, varying by region. If you enjoy fine brandy or grappa, try an aged cachaça. Deep and complex, this golden-coloured spirit is nothing like the ubiquitous clear liquor more commonly seen. A fun trip is to an "alambique" - a local distillery, of which there are thousands throughout the country - not only will you be able to see how the spirit is made from the raw cane sugar, you will probably also get a better price.
Well worth a try is Brazilian whisky! It's actually 50% imported scotch - the malt component -and approximately 50% Brazilian grain spirit. Don't be misled by American sounding names like "Wall Street". It is not bourbon. Good value for money and indistinguishable from common British blends.
While imported alcohol is very expensive, many international brands are produced under license in Brazil, making them widely available, and fairly cheap. You can buy booze in the tax-free after landing at Brazilian airports, but it generally is more expensive than buying it outside the airports.
Beer in Brazil has a respectable history because of the German immigrants. Most Brazilian beer brands tend to be way less thick and bitter than German, Danish or English beer. More than 90% of all beer consumed in Brazil is Pilsner, and it is usually drunk very cold (at a temperature close to 0°C). The most popular domestic brands are Brahma, Antarctica, and Skol. Traditional brands include Bohemia, Caracu (a stout), Original and Serra Malte (another stout). They are easily found in bars and are worth trying but are usually more expensive than the popular beers. There are also some national premium beers that are found only in some specific bars and supermarkets; if you want to taste a good Brazilian beer, search for Baden Baden, Colorado, Eisenbahn, Petra, Theresopolis and others. There are also some international beers produced by national breweries like Heineken and Stella Artois and have a slightly different taste if compared with the original beers.
There are two ways of drinking beer in bars: draft or bottled beer. Draft lager beer is called chope or chopp ('SHOW-pee'), and is commonly served with one inch of foam, but you can make a complaint to the bartender if the foam is consistently thicker than that. In bars, the waiter will usually collect the empty glasses and bottles on a table and replace them with full ones, until you ask him to stop, in a "tap" charging system. In the case of bottled beer, bottles (600ml or 1l) are shared among everyone at the table and poured in small glasses, rather than drunk straight from the bottle. Brazilians like their beer nearly ice-cold - hence, to keep the temperature down, bottles of beer are often kept in an insulated polystyrene container on the table.
Rio Grande do Sul is the leading wine production region. There are a number of wine-producing farms that are open to visitors and wine tasting, and wine cellars selling wine and fermented grape juice. One of these farms open to visitors is Salton Winery, located in the city of Bento Gonçalves. The São Francisco Valley, along the border of the states of Pernambuco and Bahia, is the country's newest wine-producing region. Brazilian wines are usually fresher, fruitier and less alcoholic than, for instance, French wines. Popular brands like Sangue de Boi, Canção and Santa Felicidade and others with prices below R$ 6,00 are not good drinkers and are mostly used for cooking sweets in the Italian style.
In Minas Gerais, look for licor de jabuticaba (jabuticaba liquor) or vinho de jabuticaba (jabuticaba wine), an exquisite purple-black beverage with a sweet taste. Jabuticaba is the name of a small grape-like black fruit native to Brazil.
Coffee and tea
Brazil is known world-wide for its high-quality strong coffee. Café is so popular that it can name meals (just like rice does in China, Japan and Korea): breakfast in Brazil is called café da manhã (morning coffee), while café com pão (coffee with bread) or café da tarde (afternoon coffee) means a light afternoon meal. Cafezinho (small coffee) is a small cup of strong, sweetened coffee usually served after meals in restaurants (sometimes for free, just ask politely). Bottled filtered coffee is being replaced by stronger espresso cups in more upscale restaurants.
Chá, or tea in Portuguese, is very commonly found in all versions of black and green tea.
Mate is the infusion of erva mate (Ilex paraguariensis), very high in caffeine content. The sweet version, often served chilled puro ou com limão, is consumed all around the country, while Chimarrão (incidentally called mate in neighbouring Spanish-speaking countries) is the hot, unsweetened equivalent that can be found in the south and is highly appreciated by the gaúchos (Rio Grande do Sul dwellers). Tererê is a cold version of Chimarrão, common in Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso state.
The Portuguese word here is refrigerante, often shortened to refrí. If you want a Coke in Brazil, ask for coca or coca-cola, as "cola" means "glue", in Portuguese. Fanta and Sprite are just as easily available. Fanta Uva (grape flavor) and quinine tonic water (Schweppes and Antarctica) are less ubiquitous, but available at most supermarkets and convenience stores.
Guaraná is a carbonated soft drink made from the guaraná berry (Paullinia cupana, a caffeine-rich stimulant), native to the Amazon area. The major brands are Antarctica, owned by Ambev, and Kuat, owned by Coke. Pureza is a lesser known guaraná soft drink specially popular in Santa Catarina. The pink-colored "Guaraná Jesus", originally popular in Maranhão, was purchased by Coke and has become more or less nationally available. Almost all regions in Brazil feature their own local variants on guaraná, some which can be quite different from the standard "Antarctica" in both good and bad ways. If traveling to Amazonas, be sure to try a cold "Baré," which due to its huge popularity in Manaus was purchased by Antarctica and is becoming more available throughout northern Brazil. Also look for "Tuxaua", a classic 1970s brand of deep-brown color.
Tubaína is a carbonated soft drink once very popular among Brazilians (particularly the ones born in the 70s, 80s and early 90s) and becoming extremely hard to find. It was once mass-produced by "Brahma" before it became focused on beers only. If you happen to find a place that sells it, try it.
Mineirinho (or Mate Couro) is also a popular soft drink made of guaraná and a typical Brazilian leaf called Chapéu de Couro. Although most Brazilians say that it tastes like grass, older people (+70 years) claim that the drink has medicinal properties.
Fruit juices are very popular in Brazil. Some cities, notably Rio de Janeiro, have fruit juice bars at nearly every corner.
- On a hot day, nothing beats coconut water (água de côco; stress the first ô, otherwise it will come out as cocô, "poo"). It is mostly sold as coco gelado in the coconut itself, drunk with a straw. Ask the machete-wielding vendors to cut the coconut in half so that you can eat the flesh after drinking the water.
- Abacate (avocado, Persea americana): most commonly consumed as a smoothie with milk and sugar
- Abacaxi (pineapple, Ananas comosus): the fresh fruit and its juice are very very popular
- Açaí (mashed pulp of the fruit from the Euterpe oleracea palm tree) is delicious and nutritious (rich in antioxidants) and can be found throughout the nation. In the Amazon region, it's used as a complement to the everyday diet, often eaten together with rice and fish in the main meal of the day. Curiously, outside of the Amazon region, it's typically served as a thick smoothie, blended in combination with guaraná syrup and a banana, with the consistency of thick milkshake. There are also açaí ice creams available.
- Ata (sugar apple, Annona squamosa): not readily available outside the Amazon; don't let pass the opportunity if you see it in the menu.
- Caju (cashew fruit, Anacardium occidentale): the pulpy part of the fruit is delicious as juice and a most cherished ingredient for caipifruta and caipivodka.
- Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum): amply considered the best and most delicious Amazonian juice fruit. Its pulp can be considered a valuable commodity in Brazil.
- Laranja (orange, Citrus x sinensis): fresh-pressed o.j. is ubiquitously available all around the country.
- Limão: in Brazil this name identifies the Persian lime (Citrus x latifolia); the actual lemon (Citrus limon) is called limão siciliano, and not so easy to find.
- Garapa: freshly pressed sugarcane juice, also known as caldo de cana
- Goiaba (guava, Psidium guajava)
- Graviola (soursop, Annona muricata): makes a delicious white juice.
- Manga (mango, Mangifera indica) also a great juice experience.
- Mangaba (Hancornia speciosa): its pulp, juice and ice cream are very popular in the Northeast
- Maracujá (passion fruit, Passiflora edulis) (careful during an active day as this has a relaxant effect)
- Umbu (Spondias tuberosa): native to the Caatinga, the chaparral scrub that grows wild across dry lands in the Northeast; sweets made from its pulp are also very popular
- Vitamina: smoothie with fresh fruits
Brazilians have great taste when it comes to mixing juices.