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Eating in Rio de Janeiro

By , 21 April 2011

Eating in Rio de Janeiro

Hold on to your wallet, eating out in Rio can be an expensive affair. If you are prone to take comfort in familiar food like McDonalds, then keep this in mind: a big Mac meal can cost up to 17R. That is a whopping 10USD. You’ll be better eating burgers and fries in the restaurants. But it will set you back by 12R at the very least.

Typically, you’ll find small restaurants that look like cafe places or bars littering the streets of Rio. They look rather similar and offer one of the following:

Eating in Rio de Janeiro
  • Juice and snack bars that sells all types of delicious tropical fruit juices and small snacks called empadas. They are pasties with fillings that can chicken (frango) or beef (carne) or cheese (queijo).
  • Cafe that sells juice and a meal. Typically, they have burgers and fries, fried chicken cutlet and fries or fish and chips. Sometimes, they also include rice and beans, common to brazilians diet.
  • Buffet restaurants where you can eat all you can and you pay by weight.

Like anywhere else, there are proper restaurants but we didn’t find that many on the streets and international cuisine that are commonly seen are Italian pizza and pasta places and sushi places.

In general, we find it expensive and unhealthy to eat out in Rio. The food is typically fried and oily. The best option is probably the buffet restaurants where you pay by weight.

On the other hand, the selection of juices available is real pleasure. Fresh fruits especially tropical fruits are a real delight. Papayas and mangos that are big and juicy cost 2R for 3 in food markets. Go to General Osorio Market in the morning for great finds. It is just outside the subway at ipanema beach. On weekends, this turn into a flea market and in the centre, artists put up their paintings for potential buyers.

At the beach, there are full of vendors walking around selling sandwiches, snacks and fried prawns. I’ll admit, I’m addicted to the prawns. Look out for an interesting snack that is made up of tapioca flour. The flour is heated in a small pan and turns into a wrap. In it, you can choose to add bananas, caramel or chocolate.

We ended up cooking for most days, a cheaper and healthier option. Perhaps you’ll have better luck finding good food.


About Roger Keays

Eating in Rio de Janeiro

Roger Keays is an artist, an engineer, and a student of life. Since he left Australia in 2009, he has been living as a digital nomad in over 40 different countries around the world. Roger is addicted to surfing. His other interests are music, psychology, languages, and finding good food. Click here to subscribe to his weekly blog, or stalk him on Facebook and Twitter.

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