Food & Drinks

Half-eaten lunch with shrimps, rice, salat and lemonade
Lunch

Cheers!

It's very important to drink a lot because of the climate. Freshly made natural juice is a big thing in Brazil, it couldn't be otherwise. There is such a great variety of fruit available that you'll need probably a whole life to be able to try all out.

 

They keep on mixing tastes and creating new flavours. One can order these juices just everywhere where food and drinks are sold. They're always served ice-cold, don't be surprised if you get a glass with ice cubes together with it. Brazilians don't like drinks in room temperature, even water is usually served ice-cold.

 

Fresh coconut is also available everywhere, specially at the beach. Water won't be carbonated by default, so, if you prefer carbonated water, make sure to emphasize it when you order and good luck finding a place where to get it.

Shelves displaying diverse sorts of Brazilian spirits
Spirits

Caldo de cana (freshly pressed sugar cane juice) is also a common drink served in João Pessoa, and as you might already expect, it is extremely sweet.

 

If you don't know the soft drink "guaraná" yet, definitely order it. Guaraná is a Brazilian berry and there's a famous soft drink made from it, very popular among Brazilians. This soft drink is so popular that Brazil is the only country where Coca Cola's direct competitor isn't a soda imitating coke, but they had to imitate guaraná themselves! If this hasn't convinced you yet to try it, nothing will.

 

For the spirits, the one to go for is cachaça, distilled from sugar cane. It's very strong, about 40% or more, so take it easy and drink a lot of water inbetween. With cachaça, sugar, pieces of lime and ice cubes they prepare caipirinha*, a delicious cocktail but by no means a girl's drink, so take easy on this one too. The cachaça can be replaced by vodka, it will be then called caipiroska.

 

*caipirinha means literally "little (female) hillbilly".

Food

If you ask an average Brazilian what he is going to have for lunch, you bet the answer will be: beans, rice, beef, salad and occasionally, french fries. Noodles are also common for lunch. The beef can be replaced by chicken or fish. Pork isn't very popular.

 

The traditional cuisine in northeastern Brazil is very peculiar, it is hearty and strong, often spicy. Look for what they call "restaurante regional", you'll find many in João Pessoa. The churrascarias also offer a typical regional cuisine.

MUST-TRY-OUT

Tapioca

It's a sort of pancake, made of manioc flour, with coconut flakes, which can come in two variations, the sweet one, with slices of banana or pineapple covered with sweet condensed milk AND the salty one, with cheese, grated dry meat and butter. Some places let you choose the filling, just like with pizza.

Tapioca filled with sun dried meat
Tapioca with sun dried meat
Tapioca filled with pineapple pieces and condensed milk
Tapioca with pineapple
Tapioca filled with chicken and cheese
Tapioca with chicken

Coxinha

A fried dumpling filled with minced chicken. Coxinha means "little thigh" (from the chicken). It will be found at every birthday party out there. Be careful with this one, it's delicious but it's a calorie bomb.

Cachorro-Quente

The hot dog in João Pessoa doesn't include only a sausage in the middle, it is literally stuffed with minced beef, chopped vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, coriander, onions and quail's egg. On top comes ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise, coated with grated parmesan. I said it's stuffed!

Açaí-Bowl

Bowl of açaí cream topped with bananas, oat grains, raisins, nuts and honey
Açaí-Bowl

This is a sort of natural ice cream. The frozen berries are mashed into a puree and served ice-cold with a topping of sliced bananas, oat grains, raisins, nuts and honey. Make sure you order an "açaí completo" to have the full experience.