10 food experiences you need to have in Rio de Janeiro before you die
1. Snack at the beach.
The classic combo is Matte Leão com biscoito Globo, sweet iced tea with a crunchy tapioca doughnut. If you feel adventurous, you can try delicacies like queijo coalho (toasted cheese curd), or some novelties like champagne and oysters on the beach promenade.
2. Try some unusual juices.
Rio has a lot of casa de sucos, diners with one specialty, juices. There you can get any combination of fruits and vegetables, like grape with cacao at Balada Mix, or açaí at Bibi Sucos. Maybe something healthier? Try kale, melon and coconut water.
3. Get a pastel in an open market.
Open markets are everywhere in Rio, and it’s easy to find them. Besides buying fresh fruits and vegetables, you must try out a Carioca tradition: pastel de feira com caldo de cana (thin dough filled with cheese or minced meat). The pastéis are best accompanied with sugar cane juice which must be ground fresh, and a good pastel is only deep fried when the order is made.
4. Eat feijoadas at Cantinho do Senado.
When you ask a Carioca “where’s the best Feijoada in Rio?”, you’ll hear a lot of names. But if you want the real experience, you need to go to Cantinho do Senado. If you go on the first Saturday of the month, there is an antique market you can visit on the same street called Feira do Lavradio. The restaurant has some of the best Feijoadas, and you can also hear live performances of Chorinho.
5. Have afternoon tea at Confeitaria Colombo.
Confeitaria Colombo is an architectural gem at the very Center of Rio. You must go to admire the building but also to enjoy all the delicacies. Afternoon tea really brings some panache. Most of the pastries are Portuguese recipes, like custard tarts.
6. Go to a Portuguese party.
CADEG, a municipal market that distributes food and plants for all the city, has once a month, a great Portuguese party at Cantinho das Concertinas. You can eat delicious typical food, and dance a little. All you need is bolinho de bacalhau (cod and potato dumplings), sardinha (fried sardines), a lot of olive oil, and beers.
7. Eat the best bolinho at Aconchego Carioca.
This is one of the hippest restaurants in Rio, meaning “Carioca cuddle”. Try the deep fried dumpling-shaped version of a feijoada, or maybe pork ribs with guava jam. Then wash it down with an ice cold cashew caipirinha.
8. Drunk dine coxinha at Fornalha.
After clubbing, you get so hungry (and so drunk), that you need something delicious and deep fried. The best solution: a coxinha (deep fried savory dough with shredded chicken filling). You can find some of the best coxinha at Fornalha or Catarina, almost 24-hour cafes, in Botafogo.
9. Be a real Carioca in Lapa.
Rio has a large variety of street food. You can find all kinds of regional food, but if you want to eat like a real broke-ass Carioca, you have to try a Podrão. It’s our pig-out food; hamburgers and hot dogs with everything inside (even raisins and quail eggs). For the best street food, go to Lapa, being the kingdom of cheap food, you can pick any cart and conquer a massive snack.
10. Drink and eat empadas at Bar Urca.
A tradition started when people began to sit around Mureta da Urca, a small wall around the Urca coast, to chat, drink and eat empadas (a buttery crust with chicken, cheese or palm hearts filling). There you can find one of the best sunsets in Rio and also, one of the coldest beers at Bar Urca.