There are some things that Brazil has that just don’t exist in the United States. I love traveling and getting to experience new things. Here are a few of the most notable ones.
1. Havaianas. We have flips-flops, but we don’t have these. At least not in as many cool designs. One of the things that is actually cheaper here than in the United States and worth buying!!
2. Chocolate Quente (aka Hot Chocolate). This is nothing like the hot chocolate in the States. It was like chocolate syrup filled with nuts (which makes for an interesting drinking experience).
3. Pastel. Sort of like a giant wonton filled with ground beef, chicken or cheese. A delicious, giant wonton. (How do Brazilians stay so thin??)
4. French Bread. If you ask for French Bread here in Brazil, you won’t get what you are expecting. Usually delivered fresh from “padaria” each morning, these small loaves are perfectly crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Ask any Brazilian what they miss about Brazil, and I bet this bread will come up in the conversation.
5. Requeijao. A cross between sour cream and cream cheese, it is the perfect pairing for the afore mentioned bread. I’ve found something similar in the International food section at HEB, but it’s not quite the same.
6. Peta. I don’t really know how to describe this one. It’s sort of like a pork rind with a little more substance and a little less bacon flavor. It was the first thing the kids asked for when they arrived. Careful. They are addicting!
7. Pao de Queijo. The literal translation is “cheese bread”, but you can call it a little ball of heaven. Brazilians seem to have mastered the art of baking anything with a perfectly crunchy outside and a deliciously gooey inside. (Side note: Those with gluten intolerance may have a difficult time surviving in Brazil.)
8. Pizza. You wouldn’t think eggs, peas, or corn belong on a pizza, but Brazilians will top their pie with just about anything, and make it work. I forgot how good the pizza is here. Many of the pizza places are “rodavarias”, where servers come around with pizza by the slice so you can try lots of different varieties. I don’t understand why this isn’t more of a “thing” in the US.
9. Quibe. I think this may have originated somewhere else, but it’s delicious and try as I might to make it at home, I haven’t gotten it right yet. Think crunchy, seasoned meatballs.
10. The. Best. Coffee. Ever. Better than Starbucks could ever hope to be, and that is saying a lot coming from me. It’s also available everywhere, all the time, for free. Often there is a small coffee station on the way out the door after you eat. Or at the grocery store. Or the hardware shop. You know… wherever.