Food in BRAZIL: The Mortadella
The moment I knew I was traveling to Sao Paolo, Brazil to be the fashion correspondent for the Miss Universe pageant, I called up the one reliable source to love all foods Latin: Street Gourmet LA. Not only does Bill, the man behind SGLA, know EVERYTHING there is to the foods within all of the Latin regions, but he knew Brazil very well from his recent travels there to dine. My luck to reach Bill days before my trip, which then turned into the most delicious, mouthwatering download of places to eat and foods to eat I’ve ever had in 30 minutes of my life. It’s like the guy had a map of his trip written right on his hand as he listed the exact places to be, times of day to make it, and dishes to make sure I didn’t miss. Bill is the Grub God.
I dumped off my bags and headed straight to the one place Bill mentioned first in our discussion: The Mercado Municipal. Nestled in a hectic downtown district of toys, housewares, clothing, and gifts, The Mercado looked like a huge food mart of meats, nuts, candies, desserts, everything edible..with a huge bustling food court on the second level. Up I went, through the crowds of people, to find the mighty Mortadella sandwich Bill had described. It wasn’t hard to find. In fact, it was hard to choose which one to eat because nearly all the food stalls offered the Mortadella in different combinations of meats. The most basic description of a Mortadella is that it’s a type of bologna, an emulsified meat sausage. But after trying it, I can guarantee you it is nowhere near the description of bologna like we know here in the states. This particular sausage has flavorful pockets of fat, fresh whole and half peppercorns, and PISTACHIOS weaved through it. Each bite is different, fulfilling, and ultra savory delicious. I wanted to try the actual Mortadella by itself so I requested just the meats and the generous owner shared with me his best cuts.
** Side note- I’m the type to LOVE to try variety, so I usually can’t stick to one meal. I think it’s the Asian in me of eating family style, dim sum breakfasts, side dishes of all kinds…whatever the reason it’s the best way to eat in mai opinion.
Another reason why I saved my appetite from an entire Mortadella sandwich was because I eyeballed something else that peaked my curiosity even more- a sardine sandwich. I have no idea what it’s traditionally called, so if anyone has ideas, please lend! Anyway here it is:
This kind of hit a nostalgic feeling for me. I remembered my days growing up a lil ghetto where I was in bliss choosing after school snacks to be things like Top Ramen packs eaten dry with the sauce packets sprinkled inside, (anyone ever do that??), or toast with butter and sugar. Well another fave was cracking open a can of sardines and spreading it, with it’s tomato juice, along a toasted slice of bed with mayo and Shriacha. Mmm. This was like that, but a lot saltier*.
It was my first day there in Sao Paolo, so I didn’t feel slices of Mortadello and a sardine sammich cut it. So I eyeballed something else and beelined for it.
Pork rinds. Ahhh, my teenage days of running around the streets of King Road and Tully in San Jose, CA came flying back when I bit into these pork rinds. Super crispy and fatty. I felt my heart stop for a moment- to thank me.**
I wasn’t done there with my dim sum style of dining. Oh no. After thanking the lovely owner for serving me, I took off in search for sweets. Downstairs I went into the actual Mercado, and found this:
I have no idea how to pronounce this. Co-codah? Anyway, shreds of pure (gorgeous, might I add) coconut laced together by syrup into this crunchy confection of Brazilian pride.
And this- a scrumptious looking petit four covered in pistachio nuts and waiting for me to kiss.
Now here’s where my first love affair with Brazil began. Not at the Mortadella, not at the desserts, but at the PAOLISTAS (the locals, as they call themselves).
Seriously, the NICEST, SWEETEST people I have ever met as a foreigner to a country. I noticed that every time I looked remotely lost or confused, a passing by Paolista would jump in to help. Which is exactly what Lucy, this gorgeous Rio native here, did when I was stuck staring at the desserts. (Don’t you love her smile!??)
Within moments we were gushing about the Brazilian culture, how excited I was to be there, and her dreams of going to Serbia to work with children. I was inspired and so blessed to have met Lucy and pray her on!
After that we did what all women need to do once in the company of desserts. Share! We tried all our different picks, which were all yummerz.
After that Lucy and her sister Gena WALKED us to my next destination I stubbornly refused to cab to, Liberdade. Lucy and Gena gave us the best warmest welcome into Brazil that I will never forget. She also told me the reason why she wanted to make sure to host me to my next destination is because somebody had done that for her when she was lost on her own travels the year before in a different country. I can’t wait for my turn to pay it forward, Lucy!
And there you have it- my first of many eating experiences in Brazil. Not so bad, right? And just you wait, it gets SO MUCH BETTER if you can imagine.
Oh, and I almost forgot! The slice of fashion that accompanied me to these foods were my awesome Topshop highwaisted shorts in a different color like these here.
I pretty much pack these babies on EVERY one of my trips because they can be worn casual with flats, dressed up with heels, shirts tucked in or out, super easy for restroom stops, AND make you look fab on the fly. There you have it! Stay tuned for my next Brazil blog and lemeno what you think about Brazil so far!
*Note- almost everything I tasted in Brazil had a pound of salt on it. More like, lbs.