I am one of those travelers who think that one of the best ways to know a place is to taste its typical food.
I believe that gastronomy tell us about the history of a place: how is their culture, who cook, what products have used and from which places the raw materials came. Salvador de Bahia is perhaps the best destination of Brazil, where all the Afro-Brazilian culture combines tastes, dances and traditions.
The history of this place begins with the landing of slaves from Africa that the Portuguese brought to work and exploit the land. While the Indians used foods such as cassava, maize, African slaves brought in addition to spices, bananas, peanuts, and the famous oil dendê or Palm oil.
All this “blend” of knowledge and flavours generated a unique cuisine that pleasantly surprises daily to all the tourists that visit these lands. But be quiet! If the typical food of Salvador de Bahia is not like your taste, you’ll find in the city many offers and alternatives of international meals, in addition of course of the cheapest and excellent hamburgers that served on the lanchonettes or in the major fast food chains.
In this post we will see the most typical dishes of Salvador de Bahia, which can be enjoyed in traditional places like “Mercado de las Sete Portas“, “Feria de São Joaquim“or small markets of Santa Bárbara and São Miguel. Also you can find it on the beaches and in the area of Pelourinho, although it is most expensive.
Typical food of Salvador de Bahia: five dishes that you have to taste
The “Acarajé” is one of the specialties of Salvador which you can not miss on your visit to the city! (at least taste it to get your own opinion on the matter).
This Afro-Brazilian food is related to the cult of Candomblé, where this food is part of the religious rituals. The term “acarajé” comes from the African Word “akara”, which means ball of fire and makes reference to the way of preparation. It is made with beans or wild pea that is left to soak to soften and then make a pure with onion, salt, pepper and shrimp. These ingredients together form a dough that is fried in abundant oil dendê which gets its characteristic flavor. It is served with pepper sauce and is usually accompanied by the traditional Vatapá, a stew of breadcrumbs soaked in coconut milk with ginger, pepper, peanuts, palm oil and onion. It has also “desfumados” (dried and smoked) prawns to give the typical Bahian flavor. These are eaten with husk.
They are commonly served by women wearing typical Bahian clothes, with large clay pots and fryers.
2. Moqueca Bahiana
This is another dish that you should not miss. The “Moqueca Baiana” is like a stew prepared slowly in an earthenware dish. It is prepared with fish, peppers of various colors, tomato, coriander, pepper, palm oil and coconut milk. This dish starts with the smell of the milk of coconut combined with seafood and spices. The result is a unique culinary delight that exists only in Salvador de Bahia.
The “Vatapá” is the typical dish of the Bahian cuisine. It is made with bread crumbs or flour, ginger, pimenta malagueta, peanut butter (peanut), palma (azeite-de-dendê) coconut milk, oil and onion. The most common is to try it with the acarajé. But we will find different versions to experience its particular flavor. It is a very economical and yielding dish.
It can be served with fresh shrimp, fish, bacalhau or with veal meat, always served with rice. This dish is also very famous in Pará. But suffers a few variations: instead of peanut it has banana.
Conceived as one of the most typical sweet or traditional dessert, cocada, tends to be the livelihood of many people who sell on the beaches or in the streets. Its mystery is a mixture of coconut grated with milk, cinnamon, vanilla and condensed milk. This recipe in addition to being very delicious is very easy. By economically resulting to sell them, it is better to make a testing of hands held to its realization. You will find various colors, and more add: the typical are the white coconut and condensed milk, the browns who have cooked coconut before, and there are some with dulce de leche.
5. Creppe de Tapioca
This typical food is not exclusively of Salvador but you can find it in all the Brazilian Nordeste, but this was born here, in the State of Bahia!
The word tapioca is used to refer to various products of cassava (also known as manioc) plant. It is similar to a thin pancake, which is known in Portuguese as tapioca crepe. It can be stuffed cheese, or some fruit and bathed in sweetened condensed milk or coconut milk. It can be enjoyed sweet or salty, in both options it has a delicious taste and really gives pleasure to enjoy it in the morning as breakfast, afternoon snack, or at night to accompany dinner.
This type of tortilla or panqueca is produced from starch from cassava powder known as “polvilho doce”, or rubber-tapioca, which is extracted from the fleshy roots of the cassava plant.
It is wonderful to see the cooking because it does not have any added, the same flour is passed through a sieve to remove large lumps and poured into a hot pan without anything. Without the addition of water or eggs the tortilla is formed. See it to believe it!
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