São Paulo may be known for its maze of skyscrapers, but throughout the metropolis you’ll find fascinating neighborhoods filled with delicious eats and drinks. Culinary roots run deep in this Brazilian city, whose population consists largely of Portuguese, Italian, and Japanese descendants. Here are a few foods and activities you should be sure to check out.
Breakfast in São Paulo typically includes tropical fruits and pão de queijo (cheese bread), accompanied by coffee with milk. Later on, join the midday business crowd and sink your teeth into bobó de camarão (shrimp chowder) or feijoada, the national dish made of stewed beans and meat. Do as many Paulistanos do, and fortify yourself before a late dinner with a snack such as coxinha de frango (fried dough filled with seasoned chicken) or lanche de mortadela, a sandwich stacked high with sliced meat. If you need a pick-me-up, sip from a tiny but caffeinated cup of cafezinho, or indulge in a sugary treat—pudim (flan) is a favorite, as well as pastel de nata, a custard tart commonly dusted with cinnamon. When evening falls, order a caipirinha or frothy chopp (draft beer) with newfound friends.
- Check out the produce stalls and gourmet treats on a tour of the São Paulo Municipal Market, aka Mercadão.
- Sample the best bites on a food tour that includes stops in the Pinheiros district.
- Stroll like a local around Paulista Avenue and the Largo da Batata public square.
- Order Japanese sweets and tea at the Japan House cafeteria, or follow a guide to Liberdade, home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan.
- Get hands-on with a cooking class in São Paulo’s bohemian neighborhood, Vila Madalena.
- Stick around for a bar-hopping tour of the area’s hippest nightclubs, and learn to samba while you sip.