Açaí fruit (pronounced ah-sah-EE), a Brazilian fruit from the Amazon rainforest, has become known worldwide for its deep purple color and antioxidant properties but is a common snack in Brazil. Açaí na tigela ("açaí in a bowl") is sold on the beach and makes a refreshing snack on a hot day. Açaí resembles sorbet and is typically served with sliced bananas and granola.
Milho, or corn, is sometimes sold on the cob but is now commonly served in a bowl--the kernels of corn are cut off the cob and then topped with butter. Brazilian corn is yellow and not as crunchy as the sweet white corn that is so common in the United States.
3. Água de coco
Água de coco (AH-gwah dzhee KOH-ku), or coconut water, is one of the most common treats sold anywhere in Brazil. For a couple of reais, you can drink the water fresh from the inside of a coconut, which is loved by Brazilians not only for its light flavor but also for its hydrating properties. When you order one, the vendor will cut the top of the coconut off and offer it to you with a straw. After drinking, you can ask the vendor to open it so that you can scrape the pulp out with a spoon.
Many beach goers in Brazil enjoy drinking ice cold beer (cerveja) and munching on salty snacks, especially nuts. Peanuts and cashews are the most common types sold on the beach--vendors walk up and down the beaches carrying large bags of nuts. Peanuts (sold in the shell) are called amendoim (ah-mehn-doh-EEN), and cashews are called castanha de cajú (kah-STAH-nyoh dzhee kah-ZHUW). They can be served in a small paper cup or, if you order peanuts and are sitting at a table, a handful or two will be put on the table.
5. Kabobs of fried shrimp or hot cheese
Many beaches have vendors and quiosques (kiosks) that sell hot food. Two common examples are fried shrimp kabobs--espeitinho de camarão (eh-speh-CHEE-nyoo dzhee kah-mah-RAHOH)-- and queijo de coalho (KAY-zhoo dzhee koh-AH-lyoo)--sticks of curd cheese that have been roasted over coals. While these options are commonly found on beaches, some people advise against eating these foods because handling of the food is not controlled and therefore can lead to food poisoning.
6. Fried fish
Fresh fish is a specialty of Brazilian beaches. Kiosks and small beach restaurants sell fried fish, sometimes with side dishes such as beans and rice but often without. Look for fried pieces of white fish, called isca de peixe (EE-skah dzhee PAY-shee) or fried filets of local fish, called "porção de" + the name of local fish, such as porção de cação with cação being the name of a local fish. This is usually an inexpensive and tasty meal typical of beach life in Brazil.
After a day of snacking and drinking caipirinhas or cervejas on the beach, you might want a little something sweet. Vendors frequently offer the obvious, sorvete (ice cream), but also homemade (caseira) desserts such as cocada, which is made from grated coconut and sugar.
Photo credit: Rene de Paula Jr. on Flickr