vocabulary about brazilian street food. fui com meus amigos à feira comer pastel.

Hello there! Is there anyone here that’s hungry? Brazil is internationally well-known for its abundance and succulence when we talk about foods. But did you know we also have an enormous culture of street food? We will talk today about Brazilian street food. Did you ever get to know Brazilian Tapioca? Tapioca is some sort of Brazilian indigenous crepes. This is one of the most famous brazilian street food, but not the only one. We have tapioca, cachorro-quente, açaí, x-tudo, esfirra, quibe, caldo verde, espetinhos… Oh, so many street foods! Come with us today to take a look at the Brazilian fast foods and choose what you would eat if you were on our streets! But also, come to learn more about what ingredients these foods need for their preparation, and by the end you will be an expert in Brazilian street food recipes! 

Even some well-known food from other cultures are adapted when it arrives in Brazil. Did you know our hot dog isn’t the same as in the United States? Eating in Brazil is something really easy to do, but when it comes to eating in the streets, there will always be something you must try.


Brazilian Street Food Vocabulary

brazilian street food vocabulary: o açaí

Açaí (Açaí)

Açaí is made with the frozen and mashed fruit of the açaí palm, which has berries described as having an “earthy” taste. Açaí is also a very popular food to eat at the beach under the sun! Some people put some complements on the top of their açaí: powdered milk, granola, fruits and even chocolate. We also have a Dica about the Açaí and its benefits. Check it out!

Acarajé (Acarajé)

Acarajé is very common in the Northeast, and especially in Bahia. It is a small dumpling made from cowpea, with onion and ground dried shrimp. This dumpling is then fried in boiling palm oil. After fried, the dumplings are cut in half and filled with vatapá — a paste made from ground peanuts, shrimp and coconut milk. I am sure you would love to study portuguese in Brazil and eat some acarajé!

Cachorro-quente (Hot Dog)

Make no mistake, the Brazilian hot dog is not just bread with sausage and mustard. In Brazil, we love to put the most diverse complements in our hot dog. In some places, sausage is cooked together with minced meat; other places complement the dish with mashed potatoes. There are some people who swear that hot dogs are good even with raisins! Would you eat it?

Caldinho de Feijão (Black Beans Soup)

This dish is nothing more than a soup made from black beans. You already know that Brazilians love beans, right? What could be better on a cold day than eating a bean soup? Some people add sausage and vegetables to the broth. Delicious!

Caldo Verde (Borecole Soup)

Caldo Verde came from Portugal, and it’s a cabbage soup that can also include pieces of sausage. It is very common in winter.

Churros (Fritters)

Unlike other places in the world, Brazilian churros are made with sugar and cinnamon on the outside, and filled with chocolate or dulce de leche on the inside. It’s a super cheap and delicious street food!

brazilian street food vocabulary: esfirra and quibe

On the left you have a quibe, and on the right you have an esfirra. 

Esfirra (Sfiha)

This is one of the dishes that became popular with the arrival of Arab immigrants in Brazil. Esfirras generally have two variations in Brazil: they are served open with toppings on top, like pizzas; or closed and stuffed.

Espetinho (Skewer)

Skewers are pieces of meat or cheese placed on a wooden skewer, and placed on the coals to cook. They can be meat, chicken, sausage, cheese and shrimp. “Cat barbecue” is the popular way of calling this food. This name gained fame because of the dubious provenance of meat in some cases 😛

Pamonha (Sweet Corn Cake)

Pamonha came from Brazilian indigenous peoples. It is a type of cake made with corn, butter, fennel, sugar and cinnamon. It’s sweet and very tasty! Did you know that the word pamonha is also used to designate dumb people?

Pastel com Caldo de Cana (Pastel with Sugarcane Juice)

Pastel is a dough filled with the most diverse flavors and fried in vegetable oil. Its appearance is crunchy and tasty. Many people eat pastel at farmer’s markets, accompanied by a very cold sugarcane juice! It’s a very popular Brazilian snack to eat in the afternoon.

Pipoca Doce / Salgada (Sweet or Salted Popcorn)

Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks in Brazil and has been consumed around the world for thousands of years. From salted popcorn, with provolone and even sweets, the popcorn cart is one of the favorite street foods, not only for Brazilians, but also for the world.

Quibe (Kibbeh)

The other popular dish of Arab origin, quibe is a beef dumpling with semolina, and seasoned with herbs. In Brazil, it is usually served fried.

brazilian street food vocabulary: tapioca

Tapioca (Tapioca)

Brazilian Tapioca is made from cassava, typically prepared in granulated form. It is the main ingredient of some typical Brazilian delicacies. Most people heat this granulated mass (which becomes unified when hot) and tops it with savory or sweet toppings. You can say tapioca is a street food that is some sort of indigenous crepes! If you want to know how to prepare our Brazilian crepes, take a look at our Dica about Tapioca.

X-tudo (Hamburger)

X-tudo can roughly be translated as cheese-all. It’s a burger stuffed with… well, everything. You can add cheese, fried egg, mash, salad, raisins, bacon, ketchup, mustard… Most of the time, the hamburger gets so big that it’s impossible to take a bite of everything at once. Some people also call it podrão (rot) because of the dubious hygiene from which they are prepared. The x-tudo is the highlight of the Brazilian fast food cuisine!


Let’s Practice the Pronunciation

It’s time now to practice what we have just learned. Now that you know enough about Brazilian street food recipes, let’s dive into our pronunciation. Do you think you can pronounce Brazilian Tapioca appropriately? Watch our video and let’s learn some of the most common ones and how to say them in Portuguese. By the way, the video has subtitles in Portuguese, English and Spanish!


That’s it guys! Did anyone get hungry? Comment down below which of these Brazilian street food was your favorite! And which one you are not looking forward to trying out? Thanks for watching our Dica and for learning a little more about the Brazilian street food! Watch more videos and learn more Portuguese with us on our YouTube Channel.

Kisses from Rio de Janeiro.

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