Traditional Foods You Have to Try When in Salvador

MILA Restaurant Miami Beach
MILA Restaurant Miami Beach | Courtesy of MILA Restaurant Miami Beach
Georganne Hassell

Salvador is the capital city of Brazil’s Bahia state, known throughout the country for its deep African roots. This Afro-Brazilian culture is evident throughout the city, from its Carnival to its cuisine. Check out our top traditional foods to try while in Salvador

Moqueca

This seafood stew is available throughout Brazil but best sampled in the Bahia region. It’s among the more popular dishes available locally in Salvador, so expect to see it on plenty of menus. The stew is usually shrimp based, but may contain other white fish, which is then mixed with garlic, parsley, pepper, onion, tomato paste, coconut milk and the secret ingredient – dendê oil (palm oil). This is all sautéed and stirred over low heat and typically served with rice, which is often flavored with cooked milk. This is quite a heavy dish, but certainly one to try while in Salvador.

Vatapá

Another Afro-Brazilian dish with a creamy consistency, vatapá looks like a curry dish and can be nearly as heavy a meal as moqueca. It’s main components are shrimp, coconut milk and bread, which is often softened first using the coconut milk. Add in peppers, ginger, ground peanuts or cashews and dendê oil (remember, that’s palm oil), and mash everything into a paste and you’ve basically got this dish. This is also served with rice, but is spicier and has a thicker, creamier consistency than moqueca. Sometimes the shrimp is swapped out for other ingredients like cod, tuna or chicken.

Acarajé

This traditional food is the perfect snack between meals. Acarajé is a simple dish of beans which are soaked to soften them and then mashed. Then ground shrimp, onion salt and pepper are mixed in thoroughly to create a consistency close to a fine dough. Next, the mixture is formed into balls or scone shapes and fried in dendê oil. Wash this street food down with an ice cold beer and you’ll be living like a local.

Acarajé /

Tapioca

The tapioca of Brazil is prepared much differently than tapioca pudding that’s common in the United States. In Bahia and throughout Brazil, tapioca flour is used as a staple thickener and even as a base to make a wrap or tortilla. In Salvador it’s best to try tapioca with savory foods like shrimp and garlic, or try a sweeter version with bananas and condensed milk. Tapioca is versatile and can be prepared with a huge variety of foods, so experiment and discover one of Bahia’s best-loved dishes.

Cocadas

In the mood for something sweet? Then you must pick up Salvador’s go-to treat, cocada. This inexpensive and easy to make sweet is also found throughout Brazil, but has been a speciality of Salvador for generations. The simple ingredients of shredded coconut, eggs and condensed milk are combined for a delicious treat. These are sometimes made with toasted coconut flakes and brown sugar, which accounts for the difference in color. With a generally soft, chewy texture, cocadas are sold throughout the streets and beaches of Salvador.
Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article