The gateway to the Amazon Rainforest, Pará is spectacular. In addition to its breathtaking natural landscapes, the state has plenty of culture and history – it hosts the famous Círio de Nazaré (Taper of Our Lady of Nazareth), the country’s largest religious festival that attracts tourists and worshippers every year, making this a must-see destination for anyone interested in discovering more of Brazil’s beauty.
Of course, as to be expected, one of Pará’s strengths is its cuisine: full of flavor, intense, and brimming with local ingredients and seasoning, each meal is a true banquet!
And being fans of great food, all of us at Bomde have put together some tips for you to enjoy these delicious dishes, either in Pará or one of the many restaurants across the country that serve its cuisine.
Discover the flavors of Pará and fall in love with some of the world’s richest cuisine!
The origin of Pará’s cuisine is essentially indigenous (considering the most Brazilian in the country) and uses many natural and native Amazonian ingredients in its dishes.
To secure the freshest ingredients, straight from those who fished for them, picked or produced them, visit the Ver-o-Peso Market on the banks of Guajará Bay in Belém. Opened in 1901, it is one of the oldest in Brazil and the largest outdoor market in Latin America. WOW! There you can find everything from medicinal herbs and seasoning to fish and typical regional fruits. Definitely worth a visit!
With a hint of the exotic and plenty of authenticity, the flavors of Pará are gaining followers the world over and increasing in popularity. And how can we talk about food without giving you some tips about dishes to try?
So, get ready to drool and discover delicious new dishes like tucupi and jambu. It`s all good. See for yourself!
Maniçoba is a regional dish that bears the most similarity to indigenous cooking. It’s made from maniva (manioc leaves) that are ground and boiled for seven days and then mixed with smoked ingredients such as pork and bacon. Served with white rice, it’s considered the feijoada of Pará. Absolutely delicious!
Filhote (catfish) is another very popular dish in Pará: one of the favorite fish in the region, it is also considered a prime ingredient in Amazonian cuisine. Typical of the Amazon River, filhote is served in a number of different ways, each more delicious than the other: fried, breaded, baked or grilled. Just talking about it is mouthwatering!
In Pará, a very popular food considered synonymous with the region, the açaí berry, is often enjoyed in a very different way from the rest of the country: with fried fish! In addition to being consumed as a pulp or juice concentrate, in Pará it is typically eaten long with savory dishes such as shrimp, carne de sol (sun-cured beef) and fried charque (similar to beef jerky).
Paraenses (as natives of Pará state are known) rarely eat açaí with granola and banana like Brazilians in other parts of the country. So, if you would like to enjoy the fruit as a dessert, try the traditional Pará variation, with sugar.
Last but not least, one of the most traditional dishes in Pará and a must-have at any lunch during Círio de Nazaré celebrations is Pato no Tucupi (Duck in Tucupi Sauce). Duck cooked in tucupi (a yellow broth extracted from manioc after it has been fermented and processed). The recipe also contains jambu (a local leafy green that makes the lips and tongue numb) and is served with white rice and manioc flour. 🙂
How about enjoying a true Pará cuisine experience in the comfort of your home? We spoke to chef Sérgio Castro from the Rias de Vigo restaurant at the Golden Tulip Belém hotel and asked him to show us how to make the perfect Filhote Parauara (Parauara Catfish). Release the masterchef in you and come along for the ride!
PARAUARA CATFISH RECIPE
– Catfish fillet
– Black pepper
Brazil nut crust
– Brazil nuts
– Mini baguette
– Olive oil
– Green chili
– Olive oil
– Boiled parsnip
– Salt to taste
4 cleaned shrimp
¼ packet, washed
1 clove, diced
½ onion, diced
Roast the Brazil nuts, then beat in a blender with the butter and olive until smooth. Slowly add pieces of the bread until the mixture thickens. Place in a container in the refrigerator until firm.
Season the fish fillet with salt, pepper and lime then grill in a pan with hot oil. Add the Brazil nut crust and bake in the oven at 180° for 10 minutes.
Heat the olive oil and sautee the shrimp, garlic and onions. Add the tucupi, chili, rice and jambu. Mix well to prevent from drying out, adjust the salt and place in a cumbuca bowl.
– Puréed parsnip
Boil the parsnip until very soft. Beat the mashed parsnip, butter and cream in a frying pan until velvety. Season with salt.
Plate up and bom apetite! 😉
Feel like trying these delicious dishes packed with personality but not keen to make them yourself? No problem! We have prepared a list of great restaurants for you to enjoy a true paraense feast!
In the state capital, Portinha is a must for anyone looking for a true insider experience. Tucked away on a narrow street in the historic Cidade Velha district, it is one of the city’s best known diners. It serves duck in tucupi sauce pastel, shrimp sfiha with jambu, vatapá pastel, maniçoba, shrimp soup and much more. You have to go!
Another tip is to try some delicious tacacá soup sold by street vendors in cuia bowls. According to a popular saying, every paraense has their tacaca on the street at 3pm. There are a number of small tacacá booths on Belém’s many streets and avenues and the Pará traditions is to have it on the street. 😉
Remanso do Peixe is one of Belém’s most delicious options. Hidden away in a dead-end residential street outside the city center, the restaurant has a family atmosphere and the house specialty caldeirada paraense, a moqueca-like stew made from boiled catfish, jambu, tucupi and shrimp. Absolutely delicious!
Manjar das Garças is a beautiful restaurant with high open ceilings located inside Mangal das Garças, one of Belém’s most beautiful parks. At lunch, you can enjoy a buffet filled with delicious local dishes and at night the restaurant also offers an á la carte menu. It’s best to arrive early or make a reservation, especially on weekends when it gets very busy.
At the Rias de Vigo restaurant in the Golden Tulip Belém hotel, try some of the local dishes, like Caldeirada Paraense (fish cooked in tucupi with bell peppers, tomatoes and fresh regional herbs), Parauara Catfish (grilled catfish with pequi sauce and dried shrimp, served with jambu risotto) or Catfish Strips (with a tapioca crust and jambu sauce).
At the Belline Restaurant in the Tulip Inn Belém Nazaré hotel, a delicious option is the Filhote à Moda (House Catfish): (grilled catfish fillet with Brazil nut and pesto sauce, served with jambu risotto).
At the Station of the Docks (Estação das Docas), the city’s best known attraction, visitors can also try a number of delicious local dishes at one of the many bars and restaurants, including Lá em Casa, Amazon Beer and Marujos.
Lá em Casa Restaurant
Amazon Beer Bar
For those with a sweet tooth, the Cairu Ice Cream parlor is a must! It’s one of the city’s most famous ice cream parlor chains, with outlets at a variety of different addresses. Try some of the regional flavors such as Brazil nut, carimbó and cupuaçu.
What better than an amazing trip with excellent accommodation to enjoy all of this! Looking to enjoy Belém in comfort? Choose your hotel here and make the most of this incredible destination!
A tip from the locals is the Tacacá do Norte restaurant in the Flamengo district. The simple setting that opens onto the street makes this a friendly place that attracts visitors to the wide variety of typical Pará dishes on offer: açaí, crab claws, tapioca, crab shells… The list is endless! The ice cream made from regional fruit is also delicious and for those looking to take a piece of Pará home with them, you can buy it by the kilo. 😉
An absolute must in Copacabana is Arataca restaurant. In addition to serving regional dishes, it also resells typical Northern products: Dried shrimp, malagueta pepper, pequi liqueur and oil, and much more. The menu offers a variety of dishes that will make you feel like you’re in Pará: duck in tucupi sauce, maniçoba, cupuaçu ice cream and açaí. Let’s go?
IN SÃO PAULO
For those in São Paulo, Amazônia restaurant is a little piece of Pará in the so-called Land of Drizzle (terra da garoa) itself. Located in the heart of the city’s culinary district, Bixiga, the Amazônia offers a complete culinary experience for those who enjoy paraense cuisine: tacacá, duck in tucupi sauce, crab broth, maniçoba, pirarucu fillet and much more. An absolute must!
Another excellent option for paulistas is Embaixada Paraense, a street kiosk in Benedito Calixto Square in the Pinheiros district. A tip from all of us at Bomde is to try an ice cold Cerpa with vatapá (seafood stew) and rice. Reasonable prices and flavor that makes it well worth a visit!
On the menu at Dalva e Dito, run by renowned chef Alex Atala, diners can also try some delicious dishes directly from Pará. The duck in tucupi sauce or grilled pirarucu fish with Brazil nut vinaigrette and ratatouille are an excellent choice.
Barraca Embaixada Paraense
Dalva e Dito Restaurant
So, after all these tips, is your mouth watering yet? It’s alright, we understand! There are just so many delicious and very Brazilian dishes to discover! So, pack your bags (and your appetite) to enjoy all these suggestions, and bon voyage! \o/