Sanduiche de Mortadela
Packed to bursting with thick slices of meat topped with cheese, the city’s famous mortadella sandwiches’ gargantuan proportions came about after one bar owner responded to complaints that he was scrimping on his fillings.
In its distinctive can, Guaraná Antarctica is Brazil’s home-grown soft drink. It’s made with guaraná, a small red energy-giving Amazonian berry that has twice the concentration of stimulant of caffeine in coffee beans.
Brazil’s national cocktail is a simple concoction of cachaça (sugar-cane rum), ice, lime and sugar. The lime can be substituted for other fruits, like mango, tangerine or passionfruit. If the sweetness is too much, swap the cachaça for vodka or sake, and ask for it ‘sem açúcar’ (without sugar).
Thought to have originated outside São Paulo’s factories during industrialisation, coxinhas are teardrop-shaped dollops of breaded batter filled with juicy, seasoned shredded chicken. Eat fresh and douse the hot centre liberally with chilli sauce.
Pasteis (plural) are arguably the most popular of Brazilian petiscos (small bites). These pillowy rectangles or crescents of pastry come filled with shrimp, sun-dried meat or white cheese and are fried in vegetable oil. They go well with a cold beer.
Traditionally served at night, the hand-chopped stewed beef is essential, but any of the following can be subbed in or out: rice, black beans, spring greens, crisps and a fried egg. Best served with toasted manioc crumbs or farofa, with banana for sweetness.
Published in the South America guide, distributed with the October issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)