By Mark Taylor
In a lot of neighbourhoods throughout Brazil, particularly in the larger cities, it’s common for a fruit and veg market to visit once a week. In Brazil this market is called the feira”. The feira usually has cheaper and fresher products than your local supermarket. Normally they are bought in the early morning from a central market dedicated to those involved in the feira, that receives products directly from the farmers. However it is always worth comparing the quality with the supermarket. Prices tend to drop during the day, so those after the best quality go early but pay more. Feiras often sell more than just fruit and veg as well, and can have meat, fish, and household items.

There are a couple of foods typically sold at the feira, which most Brazilians will ritually partake of. The first is Pastel. Pastel itself is very simple, it consists of two thin layers of puff pastry with a filling. Like a lot of Brazilian food this is then deep fried for a minute or two. It’s hard to define a similar tasting food, but the likes of sausage rolls and vol-au-vent aren’t far off, primarily because of the puff pastry. What makes a huge difference though is the filling that is used, which can vary between savoury and sweet, and within those categories there are almost infinite combinations varying from cheese, meat, poultry, and sweet with banana, chocolate, and doce de leite (cooked condensed milk), as examples. Often the pastel stand is festooned in pieces of paper with the various possibilities and price, aside from being festooned with lots of people munching pastel.

The second food, albeit technically a drink, is Caldo de Cana, the juice extracted from sugar cane. Not surprisingly it’s very sweet, and can be too much for a foreigner not used to it. The stand will normally have a petrol powered juice extractor where the cane is literally crushed to liberate the juice, with a stack of sugar cane on one side, and a stack of crushed on the other. Caldo de Cana is perhaps more of an acquired taste than with pastel.

So if you’ve not been already try and find out when your local Feira is, head out early, and at least try Pastel and Caldo de Cana if you don’t end up with a mountain of fruit.

Previous articles by Mark Taylor:

Brazil: Bilhete Unico flexibility increases
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: U2 Ticket Chaos
Brazil: Finding Work
Brazil: Termites
Brazil: Queues, Queues, Queues
Brazil: Let’s Go Fly a Kite!
Brazil… the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says “No” to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil’s Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet – Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

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