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Brazilian cuisine has always seemed to excite the palate of every gourmet. The country’s traditional cuisine is characterized by a variety of flavors due to the eclectic mix of cultures. Among traditional Brazilian cuisine is Feijoada, a dish that is said to be a concoction invented by slaves who mixed scraps of food from their master’s house to come up with a delicacy.

Today, the delicious black bean stew is an important symbol of Brazil’s heritage. Included in the stew is beef and pork, which is served over rice with fried plantains, pork rinds, cassava and farofa or toasted manioc flour. Orange slices also make part of the dish, because of it's citrusy taste it helps digest the meal.

Eat Till You Sleep

The dish derives its name from the Portuguese word for beans, feijão. The taste is strong and is dominated by the flavors of the meat and black beans. Feijoada became popular during the Portuguese rule and soon became the national dish of independent Brazil. The number of ingredients makes the dish heavy on the stomach, often making it necessary to take a nap after a meal.

Portuguese vs. Brazilian Feijoada

Every restaurant in Rio offers Feijoada on its menu. Tail and ears are also added to the stew; however, most restaurants leave that optional for their customers. Portuguese Feijoada contains a few different ingredients as compared to the Brazilian version. It includes red beans, cabbage, carrots and other vegetables. The final spread usually requires a large area, almost like a mini buffet.

Restaurants Serving Feijoada

Some restaurants offer Feijoada once or twice a week, usually on Saturdays and Sundays, since the dish takes several hours to cook. Therefore, if you are looking forward to tasting this delectable dish make sure you enquire with the restaurant beforehand. The dish is much more elaborate today, with seasonings and some other secret ingredients being used by restaurants.

Feijoada is traditionally served in cast iron pots laid over banana leaves, while the side dishes are served in clay pots. So, while you won’t miss the chance to eat pastries in France and sauerkraut in Germany, Feijoada is a must have on your visit to Rio.

Places to taste Feijoada

Feijoada is available at the most diverse places in the city, in most hotels it’s served every Saturday. Copacabana Palace Hotel serves it in the restaurant Pergúla by the pool. A more economical option but no less interesting is the neighborhood of Santa Teresa, at the Bar do Mineiro, a nice and simple option in the charming neighborhood, available from Friday to Sunday.