Rio de Janeiro Street Snacks That Every Foodie Should Try

Foodies visiting Rio de Janeiro will be in for a treat at the city's abundant street stands.

The tropical climate and culinary melting pot of influences from Africa, Europe and the Middle East mean that there is a wealth of edible delights just waiting to uncovered during a trip to Rio.

And, happily for budget visitors to the city, many of the 'must-eats' for gourmands are inexpensive and readily available street snacks. Cariocas love to eat (the super-skinny look has never really caught on in this land where ample curves are celebrated), and there is opportunity to do so at every corner. Vendors stroll the sands of the city's famous beaches selling all manner of sweet and savory treats, while the streets are lined with vendors hawking tasty culinary wares.

Make a point of trying acaraje - a fried bean patty filled with shrimp, chili and tomato that hails from Brazil's north east, and tapioca, a pancake made from manioc flour that may be stuffed with anything from sundried beef to chocolate and banana. 

Cariocas rarely drink on an empty stomach, so where there is booze, there is food. A great example is the weekend street party beneath the Arcos da Lapa in the downtown party district, where stands selling burgers, hot dogs and pizza jostle for space with those selling potent fruit cocktails. 

Acai (pronounced Ah-sigh-ee) is a 'power berry´ native to the Brazilian Amazon that has been credited with everything from boosting energy levels to preserving youthful looks. While there are any number of spots purporting to sell acai (usually...  Read More

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Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

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Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

Made from nothing more than sieved manioc flour, tapioca is a naturally delicious food that is one of the real joys of Rio de Janeiro's street food scene. The flour (which is naturally gluten-free) is tipped into a hot pan where it forms a...  Read More

High on a hillside in the boho, historic neighborhood of Santa Teresa, each weekend sees Nega Teresa set up her chandelier-lit stall selling authentic Bahian acaraje (pronouced a-kah-rah-jay). These savoury treats are bean patties that are fried...  Read More


Meet Lucy Bryson

Lucy is a British freelance writer living in Rio de Janeiro since 2007. While there are some things she misses about her home country, the lure of year-round sunshine has proved too powerful to resist.