Travel and food connoisseur Anthony Bourdain traveled to Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro a few years ago to sample the local cuisine on his Travel Channel show No Reservations.
During his four-day stay, he drank on the beach, took a tour of a run-down Favela, and soaked up the nightlife in Copacabana.
He ate Brazilian favourites, like fried sardines, grilled pork sandwiches, and feijoada, a hearty stew of black beans and pork sausage — and raved about them all.
Any chance he got, he shared his love for the city. “What sick freak wouldn’t come to Rio given the opportunity?” asked Bourdain. “Lets call it what it is: perfection. You have to have some serious problems to not like Rio.”
And since all eyes are on Brazil’s capital for the much-anticipated World Cup, we decided to take a second-look at Bourdain’s South American culinary journey.
Watch the full episode here.
Bourdain first spends the day people-watching on the chic, 1.25 mile stretch of Ipanema Beach in the South Zone of Rio.
Where he knocks back a couple caipirinhas comprised of cachaça (sugar cane liquor), fresh lime juice, and sugar. 'It's pretty much my constant companion every time I come to Rio,' said Bourdain.
At the same stand, he orders a grilled pork sandwich loaded with chimichurri sauce, garlic, parsley, oregano, olive oil and touch of vinegar.
'If you can't be happy eating a moist, roast pork sandwich, drinking a caipirinha, with this view in the background and a sea of oily, tight buttocks, you really got a problem.'
Later he goes to enjoy the sunset right on the water with a crowd of locals in Urca. It is custom for the Brazilians to clap for sunset.
And pastels, which are pastries wrapped around a filling of meat or fish, with locals favouring the fish. He orders himself the shrimp pastries.
Bourdain and local chef/restaurant owner Danni Camillo enjoy a beer along with their snacks on the popular seaside wall. 'One cannot possible overemphasize the importance of cold beer,' said Bourdain.
On the second day, Tony tours the the Favela of Rocinha. While the Brazilian slums have reputations as shantytowns governed by drug lords, he learns that electricity and water have been installed and a police presence has helped clean up the streets.
Which he then reveals after as concoction for 'natural Viagra.' Quipped Amendoim, 'You won't sleep for a week.'
The next day, Bourdain and his wife, Ottavia, enjoyed lunch at Adega Cesari, a Churrascaria (Portuguese barbecue joint) located at the Cadeg Market.
Later that night, Bourdain travels to the Copacabana and observes the energetic nightlife full of the 'drunk and the young and the restless,' according to Camillo.
Camillo tells him that it is run by customers who went there for 15 years before they bought it from the original owners because they didn't want to see it close.
Served with a side of manioca (starch from cassava plant) which is made with farofa (toasted manioc flour) scrambled with eggs.
The next day, Bourdain travels to the most 'magical' neighbourhood of Rio, Santa Teresa. Set on top of the famous hill with winding streets, the now-bohemian neighbourhood used to be the 'Beverly Hills' of Rio 100 years ago.
In the 'cool' neighbourhood, Camillo takes him to a boteco, which is a corner shop that also sells food and drink. Camillo won't name her favourite boteco on air in fear that it will get too crowded.
In the mystery shop, Bourdain claims it's 'beer o'clock' while he and Camillo sip on mulled draft beer. 'Rule number one, cold beer,' says Camillo.
Next, Bourdain spots and orders a mortadella sandwich, which includes large heaps of sliced Italian sausage.
After Ottavia wins her jiu-jitsu match, she and Bourdain dine at her trainer's house with his mother and her opponent.
They enjoy home-cooked Picadinho, which is a hodgepodge of filet mignon cooked with garlic, onion, tomato, a sprinkle of salt, splash of cachaça, peas, and corn.
Another dish they have is Feijoada, one of Bourdain's favourites. It's a stew of black beans and 'meaty bits,' flavored with two types of pork sausage.
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