Thursday, July 02, 2009

More Than Fruit

While it's true that our fruit consumption has more than quadrupled since we've been in Brazil, we have been enjoying other local treats as well, and not just those that can be purchased for a buck or two on the beach. One popular street food here is the acarajé, a patty made from mashed beans that's fried in dendê oil, then split and filled with shrimp paste and other tasty bits, often including little shrimps. Other dining out options include a couple of hole-in-the-wall restaurants between our hostel and the beach, at which we split a moqueca (traditional Brazilian seafood stew) or fried fish that's served with rice and beans and a small salad. With a frosty cerveja, our grand total is always less than $7. And cooking at home is a no-brainer when a meal's worth of salmon steaks can be had for a mere $3 at the grocery store.

Tonight we were introduced to another local culinary delight: the hot dog. After our evening samba workout, a couple of the girls who work at the hostel were making hot dogs, and asked us if we wanted one. We politely declined, because we'd shared a fish stew a few hours earlier, and for me, the caloric hit of a hot dog is only worth it when it's served up in a Nathan's box and eaten on the boardwalk in Coney Island, or as a late-night post-concert snack from Grey's Papaya. But then we watched the hot dog prep. The hot dogs were cooked in a pot filled with onions and garlic and thick red tomato sauce. They were placed all saucily on fresh rolls, then topped with mayo, ketchup, little fried potato bits, and parmesan. Genius. And as Ken was still somehow managing to turn down this hot dog mecca, I was all, "OK, we'll share one!" Apparently this is how they're served everywhere, which makes the place on the corner with the $1 hot dog and juice combo suddenly quite appealing.

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