Torresmo, or fried pig skins, are like chicharrones on steroids. The chunks of crispy skin are substantial, meaty, and salty — they're the perfect accompaniment to a glass of cold beer or a sweet, tangy caipirinha.
Another staple across the country. The blend of rice, beans, and meat can be a simple, thrown together meal or a complex dish amped up with cured meats and spices. Here, the blend included bacon, bay leaf, and spicy linguica. The dish was hearty and satisfying, and made even better with a few shakes of rich, liquid butter.
Mocotó is a traditional Northeastern stew blending sausage, parsley, and cow trotter as a base. Mocotó is simply the base soup; endless varieties are possible with additional ingredients, like mocofava, which includes a hefty serving of hearty beans. This is rich, flavorful peasant food done right (not to mention a stellar example of head-to-tail eating). It's seriously rib sticking and packed with rich flavor. Adding some torresmo and hot sauce is a pretty great idea, too.
This traditional Amazonian dish is meant to be consumed in the late afternoon after rainstorms drench the jungle. Made of juice extracted from manioc leaves (cooked down to remove the poison), dried shrimp, and jambú, the soup has a miso-like consistency and a startling, addictive savory taste. Jambú, an Amazonion herb, makes the tongue tingle and the mouth go numb, giving the distinctive flavor an electrifying sensation.
Caruru is an afro-Brazilian dish from the Bahia region of the country. The mix of rice, okra, farofa, and fish (in this case, robalo fish) is served in a rich, salty fish broth. All of the elements of the dish are tasty on their own but are even better together (particularly with a few hot peppers sprinkled in). The rice and farofa soaked up the hearty broth nicely, making this a dish you can, and will, lick clean.
Empadas are Brazilian snacks sold at a variety of markets and small shops in Sao Paulo's shopping districts. The small, flaky pastries are filled with different meats, vegetables, and in some cases, sweets. This empada is filled with chicken (frango) and had a creamy texture and hearty flavor — it was a lot like a mini pot pie, and just as satisfying.
Pao de Queijo
This cheese bread can be found all over, from the classiest fancy restaurants to the airport. Small enough to eat in one single bite, the springy-chewy bread is similar to a popover with a discernible flavor of cheese. Because really, why would you eat bread without cheese in it (when you can eat bread with cheese in it)? Get the recipe here.
Check out that stretch!
The airy, light consistency of the pao de queijo makes it easy to pull them in half so the inside bursts open with a puff of cheese-scented steam. This method also lets you admire its stretch before deciding which is the better half to bite into.