Elon International Studies: Brazil



Meet the Crew

Life in a Favela

Adventures in the

Black, White, and in
Between: Diversity
in Brazil


Biodiversity in the Amazon

Samba School

Favela Tour Opens Students' Eyes

Quality of Life
in Brazil

A Country that Runs
on Alcohol

Racial Inequality in

Ancient Indian
Remedy, New
Western Craze

Maracana Stadium

The Amazon


A Dish With Many Tastes

The Music and Dance
of Brazil as seen in
the Samba Schools

without Language

Fixing the
Race Problem

If an Entire Species is
Destroyed Before its
Discovered, Did it
Ever Exist?

The Beauty of Buzios

Salvador's Afro-
Brazilian Culture

Health Care and
Concerns in Brazil


Cristo Redentor

GST 243 Homepage

2004 Archives

A Dish With Many Tastes

Brock Miller

       Brazil can be thought of as a dish with many tastes. Brazil 's cuisine, customs, and courtesies make it a very unique place.

       Meals in Brazil have a lot of color. Especially when there is fruit involved. It is a visual feast for the eyes. Brazil has fruits that are so unique that they do not have an English equivalent. ( Rio , 102) One example of such a fruit is the Bacaba which is an Amazonian fruit used in wines and syrups. ( Rio , 103) Some meals however are a little simpler. The national dish of Brazil is Feijoada. ( Brazil , 139. Feijoada is a meat stew served with rice and beans. ( Brazil , 139) You will find it available at almost every buffet you eat at. When it is time to order a drink, a capirinha will always be an option. Caipirinha is the unofficial national drink of Brazil . ( Brazil , 142) It is composed of cachaca (high-proof sugarcane alcohol), lime, sugar, and crushed ice. ( Brazil , 142) Locals say that if you drink four capirinhas you will be able to speak fluent Portuguese. As amazing as the food is, some of the most interesting aspects of Brazil are its customs and courtesies.

       Brazilian's use their hands as little as possible while eating. It is considered rude to touch your food. It is very common to witness people using a knife and fork to eat pizza. More surprisingly, you might even see people eating French fries with toothpicks. Time is a much different concept in Brazil compared to the United States . For example, while dinning at a restaurant sometimes the service is not as fast as we are used to. This is normal down there because meals are not meant to be finished quickly. Brazilian's enjoy their meals and the time it takes to eat them. Adults eating in public are considered rude. (ucla.edu) Therefore, you will hardly ever see people eating on the run.

       Brazil as a whole has one main gesture that almost everyone uses throughout the day; the “Thumbs Up”. Cab drivers, waiters, street vendors, hotel clerks, business men, etc. all use the “Thumbs Up”. It is fascinating that a country so large and with such drastic socio-economic classes all use the same gesture. One gesture that you want to avoid is using the thumb and index finger to form a circle with the other three fingers pointing up (the U.S. “ok” sign).(Culture Grams, 22) This is a very offensive gesture much like giving someone the middle finger in the States.

       Basic knowledge of Portuguese is essential while visiting Brazil . Even a strong background in Spanish will prove insufficient for daily tasks. Communicating simple things such as directions or even trying to get an extra napkin in a restaurant will be challenging without some fundamental Portuguese.

       Compared to other international traveling, Brazil is generally a very “patient” country. People do not rush around the same way other countries do. Life to them is all about living in the moment. Waiters at restaurants will even help teach you a little Portuguese if you are struggling. And while their driving might seem scary, nobody gets upset at one another in the heat of the moment.

       Brazil is a very colorful country whether it is on a plate, or the scenery around you. Brazil 's people, food, and places make it a dish with many different tastes. With that being said, it is easy to see how Brazil is an essential puzzle piece to the special world we live in.



Culture Grams: World Edition, Volume 1. Axiom Press, 2003.

Lonely Planet: Brazil , 5 th Edition. Victoria , Australia , 2002.

Lonely Planet: Rio de Janeiro , 3 rd Edition. Victoria , Australia , 2001.