In some of the cities I lived in, my stay was short, so finding a good and quick food fix was a priority no matter where I landed. If you’ve been on the streets of Brazil at night, you’ve most likely walked by a food cart or truck. If you’re lucky, you’ve even sat down for a bite and a cold beer. It just so happens that I got to do so repeatedly and on many a hot summer night, in a small town just outside of the Amazon basin. I remember it well, it’s where I found the ideal meal.
After work and after the sun had set, my friends and I would walk up to the food truck on the corner and have a seat at one of their red plastic tables while Chiclete played in the background. Getting right down to business, we’d immediately ask for a “stupidly cold” 20 ounce beer (or two) and order the type of food that would always hit the spot (that is, if you’re a rice, beans, and meat kind of person like me). I’m talking espetinhos (little kebabs) of beef and queijo coalho (cheese curd), hot off the grill, and a plate of baião-de-dois. It was so simple, but so good.
Baião, aside from being a type of dance and music from the Northeast, can also refer to a plate of rice and beans, typical of Ceará (but found all over the region). It’s basically a mix of rice, green beans, cheese, some cilantro, onions and garlic, with the option of adding in some pieces of meat. You can find the recipe here, in case it looks too good to wait til your next Brazil trip to try it.
Whether you decide to wait or not, next time you find yourself in Brazil, I invite you to try one of my favorite plates. Just don’t forget one of the essential ingredients: good friends!
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