Ceará’s capital city of Fortaleza is Brazil’s fifth largest city and offers some great culinary treats to discover. Here are our top eight to try, from traditional Brazilian barbecue to lesser-known dishes.
If you didn’t know already that Brazilians are known for their barbeques, then you will certainly know it before your trip is over. The “churrasco” is an essential part of Brazilian culture and cuisine, and you can get a taste of this in Fortaleza at some excellent restaurants. Cabana del Primo and Sal E Brasa Gold are two restaurants in the city that are loved for their perfectly grilled meats that offer an authentic Brazilian flavor.
If you’re eating Brazilian barbecue, you must try the traditional condiment that goes with it, farofa. In its simplest form, it’s a dish of toasted manioc flour. However, the dish is often enhanced with butter, salt, pepper, and bacon. Farofa is sometimes made with other flours, like corn, and Brazilians usually dip an individual bite of meat in the flour to enhance the flavor.
This staple dish of Brazil is particularly heavy for a meal, but it’s definitely worth a try. It’s made of beans that are slow cooked with pork or beef. Often it includes other foods like carrots, tomatoes, cabbage and onions. It’s always served with rice and is traditionally prepared in thick clay pots. The result is a slighty salty stew that is beloved by nearly all meat-eating Brazilians, though you can sometimes find vegetarian versions in the larger cities like Fortaleza.
This relatively simple sobremesa, or dessert, is a special treat in Fortaleza because of the amazing variety you’ll find. Check out some of Brazil’s exotic fruit flavors served up as sorvete (ice cream), such as maracujá (passion fruit), as well as doce de leite and dark cacao. There are plenty of sorveterias, or ice cream shops to stop in and enjoy, like Sorveteria Juarez, San Paolo Gelato Gourmet and 50 Sabores.
Fortaleza’s well known in the region and the country for a particular treat made of sun-dried beef, red onions, and cassava flour, called paçoca. It’s easy to find in most lunch buffet restaurants and any that serve local cuisine, and it’s part of the staple Brazilian diet in the north of the country.
This beloved starch is found throughout Brazil, but you’ll find some especially good samples in Fortaleza. Brazilian tapioca isn’t the tapioca dessert pudding that many are used to. Instead it is prepared similar to a pancake, with the tapioca pears making the base of the dish, and then the thin tapioca pancake is filled with either savory or sweet flavors.
Baião de Dois
This is another popular dish of the region that can also be found in the states of Rondônia, Acre and Pará. It’s another beans-and-rice-based dish, but it also often includes green onion, pepper, cheese, meat, and coriander, all mixed together in a casserole-type dish.
Escondidinho de carne seca
It’s no secret that Brazilians eat plenty of beef, and escondidinho de carne seca is another must-try while in Fortaleza. The meat is carne de sol, which is similar to shredded beef that’s seasoned and then topped with mashed cassava, or mandioca, butter, and then cheese. This is a heavy dish, of course, but definitely one to try while in the city.