It has been a long time since I posted a new EAT THE WORLD! Nearly a month! SACRILEDGE! I have an excuse though! Since our last post, which was Australia, I have traveled to Alabama and to New York City, as well as had work in between. I have been itching to cook another meal, and this episode gave me a serious case of wanderlust! Next up on our challenge is BRAZIL!
Cooking up a storm for Brazil
Brazil is the largest country in South America, and it's official language is Portuguese, unlike the rest of the Spanish speaking continent. It is also the fifth largest country in the world - clearly we have a trend in our EAT THE WORLD here. Our co-ordinates picker seems to be landing on all the big countries first - I guess that's the statistical odds right?
Researching food for Brazil gave me a serious case of wanderlust. Brazil has been on the top of my bucket list (well, TOP 20), for as long as I can remember. I always thought that the first time I would go to South America would be to Brazil, but Peru got that accolade. Nevertheless, Brazil remains high up there in my places to go. It is a massive country with so many things to do and see. As a result, I decided to make a list of things you should do in Brazil, and it is by no means comprehensive. Some fellow travelers and travel bloggers have kindly contributed their pictures and thoughts too!
BRAZIL BUCKET LIST
1. Iguazu Falls
The Iguazu Falls look truly magnificent, and I have been told by several travelers who have visited that they are incredible. The Falls span over 2.7 km, and are made up of 275 waterfalls. Because they make up part of the border from Argentina and Brazil, you can visit them from both sides! Just like Niagara Falls, views from either side are unique and breathtaking. Iguazu is also twice as tall as Niagara, and three times as wide. There are also a multitude of different ways you can see the Falls, also depending on which side you are on. It includes your usual walking, but if you're daring, you can try speed boat or helicopter rides! The Falls also have the accolade of being voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the Nature, as well as being a World Heritage Site.
Kirsty, the travel blogger behind, What Kirsty did Next, visited Brazil on honeymoon and was fortunate to go to the Falls. This is what she had to say:
When people think of Brazil, immediately Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain springs to mind as 'must sees' - and they are. But if you'd like to experience an UNESCO World Heritage Site that is utterly breath-taking and majestic, put Iguazu Falls on your travel itinerary. The falls are shared by the Iguazú National Park on the Argentinian side and Iguaçu National Park on the Brazil side. Most people tend to combine the two so that they can see the main waterfall, Devil’s throat from both angles. It’s really easy to travel from one side to the other, either by bus, taxi or guide however I’d recommend staying one night on either side so you’re not rushed.
Iguazu is very high up on my own bucketlist. I would love to cross the border onto the other side into Argentina, or vice versa, on this trip. It looks truly spectacular, and I am incredibly jealous of all my friends who have seen these falls. This is a definite must see when you travel to Brazil (or Argentina)!
2. Explore Rio de Janeiro, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the RedeEmer
When people think Brazil, they often think Rio Janeiro and the Christ the Redeemer statue. The statue is 38 m tall and is perched on the top of the Corcovado Mountain, overlooking Rio. Sugar Loaf Mountain offers beautiful views of the city and you can reach the top via cable cart. I would also love to explore the city itself and take a cruise at sunset. Rio looks amazing!
Photos by Amanda O'Donnell
3. The Amazon River
When I was little, Brazil seemed like this wild, untamed, inhabitable, mysterious and dangerous rain forest, because my only understanding of Brazil as a young kid was of the Amazon River. So when I think Brazil, I often think the AMAZON! The Amazon rain forests also teem with wild life. I would love to see the monkeys and sloths and the Toucan's and Macaws. The Amazon is also home to the Pink dolphin. I just did a reading section on this creature with one of my young students, and it makes me want to see them even more! I'll skip the bugs, snakes and ants though!
4. Visit the Favela's of Rio
The Favela's of Rio are often portrayed as the slums or shantytowns of the city, although from what I have read from Brazilians and online articles, many residents take issue with this portrayal. The movie we watched, City of God, certainly portrays the city in a negative light, and focuses on the violence, gangsterism and drug lords of the Favelas. I would be interested to visit these parts of Brazil, as areas like these, usually have their own thriving ways of life and spirit, in spite of the violence or hardship that occurs in their neighborhoods. Visiting places and seeings ways of life that are also very different to your own are also incredibly enlightening, and help to broaden your perspective of the world too!
Brazil seems to be a truly incredible place, and food seems just as varying and vast as its country. We were spoilt for choice in terms of options of Brazilian dishes. The national dish of Brazil is Feijoada, a rich stew filled with black beans, pork and beef. I wasn't sure my stomach was going to hold up to this adventure, nor The Traveling Ninja's. Our tastebuds are rather adventurous, well, except when it comes to veggies for the TN, but our stomachs are not as up to the adventures as they could be. IF you get what I mean! This dish does sound delicious though, as it stews for a number of hours. The other dishes we considerd were Acarajé (black-eyed peas rolled into balls and deep fried, with shrimp and other ingredients) and Vatapá (a creamy, spicy dish of shrimp and fish in a peanut sauce). I also wanted to make Brigadeiro, which is kind of like a truffle, but made with condensed milk. They looked REALLY good.
We finally settled on Moqueca de Camarão, a Bahia-style shrimp stew.
The Traveling Ginger Verdict and Rating: 9/10
This meal was SO easy and quick to make. Apart from the shrimp needing to marinate for an hour, it took less than 30 minutes. It was delicious! I think this has been my favorite meal so far. Because the ingredients are cooked in coconut milk, it has a really amazing taste. It reminded me a lot of other Thai dishes I've had. My mom joined us for this challenge, and we both agree that it tasted very similar to a Thai curry. It was really good. I even had the left overs for lunch the following day.
The Traveling Ninja's Verdict and Rating: 7.3/10
"It was really delicious; I want some mo'-queca"
- Can I just say that I really can't believe he gave this ONLY a 7.3 out of 10?! Can we get his tastebuds checked people?
Movie Paring: City of God
City of God is a movie about two children who grow up in the slums or favelas of Rio de Janeiro. One follows a path of crime and becomes a drug dealer and the other becomes a photographer. It spans across several years, culminating in the war between the drug dealer and a vigilante turned criminal in one of the favelas of Rio.
This movie is pretty intense. TIMES magazine voted it as one of the Top 100 films of all time. It is graphic, with more than enough violence. It's very interesting, and shocking, and I wouldn't recommend it if you're not in the mood for something like this. It was nominated for several academy awards, and won many categories in Grande Premio do Cinema Brasileiro.
Have you been to Brazil? What do you think you should see there? Have you eaten anything Brazilian before?
In other notes! I'm trying to up my food photography! Let me know what you think too - unfortunately, we lost daylight here on this dish, so excuse the light reflections! But otherwise let me know your tips and tricks for taking scrumptious foodie pics!
THANK YOU TO AMANDA O' DONNELL AND WHAT KIRSTY DID NEXT FOR THEIR PHOTOGRAPHS AND INPUT!