A Taste of Brazilian Cuisine: Feijoada

Food Facts

Where: The national dish of Brazil.
Origins: From the black slave kitchens of Bahia.
Ingredients: Black bean and off cut meat stew.
Serving suggestion: Allow a full Saturday to prepare, eat and recover from the dish. Start with a wake up batida drink and serve with lemon and pepper sauce, origins, manioc meal and rice.

Origins and History

The Brazilian national dish, feijoada, has its humble origins in the colonial slave kitchens of sugar plantations in Bahia. It contains black beans and a variety of off-cuts of meat, particularly pork ears, tails and feet that the masters deemed inedible. Nowadays it’s a delicacy and has been adopted by Caricoas (as the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro are known) with gusto.


Caricoas typically tucks into ferijoada on Saturday; like the rest of the country, they see food as much more than mere sustenance, it’s a celebration. Most of the day is devoted to preparing, consuming and recovering from the dish. Cooking starts around midday, with several people contributing to the preparation. The meats and beans are simmered together for the fullest flavour and then separated when served. The tongue is placed in the middle of the dish, with the meats (like sausages, salted and sun-dried beef, spare ribs and pork off-cuts) placed round it. The meal is accompanied by molho de pimenta e limao (a hot lemon and pepper sauce), sliced oranges, rice and manioc meal browned in butter.

Serving Suggestion

To begin the meal with a bang, diners often choose to start with some cachaca, the popular Brazilian brandy, mixed with a fruit juice to form a batida. Hours later, after it’s all been polished off, diners retire for much-needed rest; ask anyone and they’ll tell you that if you exert yourself too much after eating this dish you’re sure to end up in hospital!

Don’t be put off however. This menu-sized dish is as much a part of the Brazilian experience as ascending Sugar Loaf Mountain or visiting Christ the Redeemer – a tourist must-do.

Where to Eat Feijoada

The Restaurante Cristovao (inside the famous Confeitaria Colombo) is a great place for feijoada. The restaurant provides a luxurious setting for an authentic Saturday feijoada meal. Nine giant cast-iron pots are filled with every cut of meat imaginable and there’s a huge array of accompaniments. The puddings here are also first class.

The Casa da Feijoada is another Rio institution where you can gorge yourself on Feijoada any day of the week. A relaxed atmosphere and a great spot in the trendy district of Ipanema make this a very attractive place to come and try Brazil’s national dish.

More Information

Casa da Feijoada
Rua Prudente de Moraes 10-B
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
RJ, Brazil
Tel: 021 2523 4994 / 2247 2776

Confeitaria Colombo
Rua Goncalves Dias, 34
Centro – Rio de Janeiro
CEP 20050-03, RJ
Tel – 021 2232 2300


By Kate Griffiths