The beach is the centre of life in Rio de Janeiro. The city hugs the coast, and the waterfront includes the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, upon which bright red and yellow umbrellas dot every visible stretch of sand. Locals and visitors alike flock to the beach, especially on weekends when the dominant activity is wiling away the day by the ocean.
and rituals of Rio’s everyday life conform to the beach lifestyle. Constant
passing vendors — selling everything from bathing suit tops to icy beers — keep
the hordes of bronzed Cariocas
(locals) and sunning tourists sustained with a spread of foods that include
many classic Brazilian favourites. In fact, as the booming Brazilian economy lures
patrons to pricey inland restaurants , the cheapest and easiest way to try Rio’s
most beloved foods is from a rented lounge chair (bring your towel), right on
ingredient of the Brazilian diet — or the food that keeps them
characteristically confident to don skimpy bathing suits throughout the year —
is the açai berry. The powerhouse Amazonian fruit is ripe with antioxidants and
anti-aging properties, and many credit it with promoting weight-loss. The berry
is most popularly consumed as part of a smoothie, found at stands lining the
beachfront or from vendors plodding through the sand.
impressive of the foods available to sunbathers has to be the skewers, which come
from the white and orange-clad peddlers shouldering small grills on their
backs. Beneath the grill is a small freezer containing fresh shrimp, which the
server removes and carefully cooks in garlicky olive oil. Sanitation police patrol
the beaches to prevent vendors from serving already-pink shrimp that have not
been cooked in front of the purchaser.
Slabs of cheese
receive similar treatment, though the handheld, coal grills are considerably
less cumbersome than the shrimp-seller’s hardware. The cheese is drizzled with
olive oil, flavoured with oregano, grilled and manageably served on a wooden
Salgado, or salgadinho,
is the name given to any Brazilian pastry. Small, round morsels of hot
cheesy bread, sweet pastries, croquettes and other salty pastries are available
on the beach. Vendors rarely mix the sweet and savoury; they will carry a box
of all one or the other.
starchy favourite is the tapioca,
Brazil’s answer to the crêpe, made gluten-free with manioc starch from yucca.
Like the salgados, they are made sweet
or salty, folding in ingredients like bananas, cheese or coconut. Tapioca
stands are common, as are those selling corn on the cob, coated in melted
butter and sprinkled with salt. For an even smaller bite on the beach, buy a
pack of Globos -- light, puffed O-shaped biscuits that come sweet or salty.
your thirst , purchase a cold matte leão tea, a traditional beverage — though
the brand is owned by Coca-Cola — made from yerba mate (a
caffeinated plant native to South America) and most popularly served over ice when on the
beach. Another popular beverage is coconut water, sucked from straws poking out
of coconuts, tops hacked off expertly with machetes when ordered. The coconut is
a perfect way to ward off dehydration, or to recover from the after-effects of
a wild night out in the Lapa neighbourhood.