Restaurants in Salvador: Gastronomy & Typical Cuisine
The cuisine in Salvador includes a combination of African and European customs, mixing in local ingredients with recipes that were brought to the region by conquerors and slaves. The traditional dishes in the state of Bahia typically use a variety of condiments, resulting in a spicy flavor that often proves too hot for beginners. This culinary tradition, combining elements from three different continents, dates back to colonial times when African slaves used to work in the kitchens of wealthy families. The black population began to add its own traditional recipes and food preparation techniques to the New World's cuisine.
Salvador's regional cuisine integrates characteristic ingredients in its preparation, such as local corn and cassava. Sugar cane and milk are also common in the area's food and beverages, and the people of Bahia frequently use palm oil from the "dende" plant in their dishes.
As an ocean-side city, Salvador often uses seafood as a main ingredient in its food. Its Portuguese heritage of skilled ship navigation and fishing has given the locals lots of experience in cooking many sea species, often adding fish such as sardine and cod to the local cuisine. The fusion of cultures can easily be seen in the way Brazilians prepare their seafood dishes; some are prepared in a simple European style, while others are made with fried dough.
Traveling through a foreign country is the best way to test your palate by trying foods that you normally wouldn't consider. While many Brazilian dishes don't look particularly eye-catching to the unknowing visitor, they're definitely worth a try, since the rich flavors and unique ingredients are sure to change your perception. Aracaje, for example, is the name of a traditional Bahian dish and can be found throughout the city of Salvador, served by street vendors as well as restaurants. Aracaje is made of pea dough with shrimp fried in palm oil.
Another typical dish is the bright yellow Vatapa, made with flour, onion, ginger, peanut, pepper, coconut milk and palm oil. Vatapa has a creamy consistency and is usually served with rice or beef. The famous Moqueca dish has many variations, but it's basically made with coconut milk and palm oil mixed with seafood, especially fish.
Restaurants and Street Vendors in Salvador
Salvador features a wide variety of traditional cuisine. Here, you'll come across many street carts selling regional foods, as well as chic restaurants serving everything from local to international cuisine. It's worth your while to try the fresh food at the restaurants located on Salvador's beaches. Another great way to enjoy Bahia's flavor is by visiting the Pelourinho, a brightly colored neighborhood overflowing with restaurants and bars.
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