Photo: lazyllama/Shutterstock

The Brazilian Approach to Hot Dogs (and Pizza and Burgers)

Brazil Travel
by Gaía Passarelli Jan 2, 2014
Hot dogs

The cachorro-quente stand is the Brazilian equivalent of London or New York’s food trucks, always planted outside metro stations, busy bus stops, college dorms, and bustling commercial streets selling hot dogs. At night, some neighborhoods will also get the obligatory parked van, occasionally simply a car with an open trunk.

Hot dogs are a popular street-eat option, always on the cheap side and best when accompanied by canned soda or beer. In São Paulo, a common version looks like this (warning: IRL version may be messier):

All around the country, the delicacies that are Brazilian hot dogs are topped off with grated cheese, mashed potatoes, and/or potato crisps. Tomato sauce, mayo, catupiry cheese, peas, bacon bits, the local vinagrete sauce (vinegar, parsley, onions, tomato), and corn are also common. Cheddar, olives, peppers, parmesan, and raw onions can make an appearance — in truth, everyone has a different favorite filling.


The Brazilian version of the hamburger goes by the name x-salada, with “x” used as a substitute for “cheese.” It can be pretty standard, with lettuce, tomato, meat, and bun — but of course, Brazilians are able to twist this basic template into all kinds of creative snacks.

Just like every small city in the country has its own improvised soccer field (and evangelical church), it’s likely it also has a trailer, adapted to carry a flat-top grill, or chapa. It’s usually parked at a central square, with bench seats for people to relax, eat, and chat.

Depending on local tradition, a trailer x-salada can feature anything from canned peas to ham, olives, and bacon — sometimes all at once.


Paulistanos have mastered the art of baking stuff on a round piece of dough, and São Paulo has the largest number of pizzerias per capita in the world. I had a lettuce and bacon pizza last week, but local favorites are marguerita (mozzarella, tomato, basil), Portuguesa (ham, eggs, olives, onion), and calabresa (pepperoni).

In Rio there’ve been reports of cariocas eating their mozzarella pizzas with ketchup.

But it gets more exotic than that. Chicago may have its “deep dish,” but here, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, there’s strogonoff and chicken heart pizza.

Bonus: Temaki

I won’t spend too much time on the insane temaki frenzy that’s taken over Brazil in the past five years, but I want to report that the Tabasco/Doritos/salmon temaki is real and lives inside a very popular branch of temakerias.

Sorry about that, Japan.

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