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Brazilian Street Foods: What to Eat When Traveling with Kids

traveling with kids

Traveling with kids to foreign countries comes with exotic menu items. Depending on your children’s ages and personalities, they may have difficulty stepping out of their daily routine and trying something new. This can make family vacations fraught with uncertainty and unhappiness as you search for snacks your kids will enjoy.

According to Lonely Planet, when in Brazil with kids, eating should never pose a problem. Why? Because restaurants with American-style cuisine abound. While it’s true that you can find your fair share of pizzas and hamburgers, what if you’d prefer a way to appease the kids that still allows you to taste Brazil’s must-try cuisine?

That’s where Brazilian street food represents your answer. You’ll find plenty of delectable, portable dishes that your whole family can get behind. What’s more, if you follow a few simple rules you can avoid getting sick while you’re at it.

Street Food Ground Rules

Street food represents your family’s salvation after a long day of travel, especially if room service is out of the question or will take too long. What’s more, if you know what to order, your kids will enjoy all of the pleasures of “fast food” with an international twist. No overseas McDonald’s required. That said, you need to be aware of a few basic rules in order to avoid getting a stomach bug.

traveling with kids
© The Photographer | Wikimedia Commons

One of the number one causes of stomach upset in travelers remains water. So, avoid shady tap water and make sure you order all drinks without ice cubes. As for street food, stay away from raw fruits and vegetables that might be rinsed in unsafe water. They don’t benefit from high-temperature cooking, either.

More Things to Consider Before Lining Up

Many people shy away from meat cooked on the street. But, ironically, it’s the uncooked fruits and veggies that get them into trouble. Instead, go with food that’s boiled, fried, or grilled. Meat usually represents a solid choice.

Always opt for long lines with lots of women and kids in them. Think of the length of each line as word-of-mouth testimonials from locals about the quality of the cuisine. What’s more, even if a seasoned taxicab driver has a stomach made of iron, most women and children will avoid stands that have the potential to sicken them.

If you’re still not sure where to start, consider traveling with a kid-friendly tour company who can show you the ins and outs of delicious street fare without risking your health.

Brazilian Street Food You and Your Kids Have to Try

In the southeast region of Brazil, particularly the São Paulo area, give pastel a try. These deep-fried, crispy pastries feature savory and sweet fillings. The fillings range from ground beef to shredded chicken. Versions filled with melted cheese and hearts of palm also prove lip-smacking good. And don’t forget sweet versions filled with decadent treats such as caramel, chocolate, and tropical fruits.

traveling with kids
© Mauro Cateb | Wikimedia Commons

São Paulo is also home to coxinha, crunchy croquettes filled with Catupiry (a soft, rich cheese) and shredded chicken. This filling is then coated in dough and breadcrumbs and fried to golden perfection. Coxinha are typically shaped like a teardrop, evoking the shape of a drumstick.

And Don’t Stop Until You Try These Eats

Let’s talk pão de queijo. You’ll never tire of this yummy cheese bread. It makes for a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it’s a perfect staple when traveling with kids. The dough proves simple, a mixture of cassava (tapioca) flour and queijo Minas, a local cheese. It tastes great served warm, stuffed with more cheese, or even spread with jam for the ultimate salty and sweet snack.

traveling with kids
© Iuliia Timofeeva | Dreamstime.com

Nobody does barbecue better than Brazilians (sorry Texans and Australians!), so do your family a favor and make sure that you order some picanha. Brazil’s barbecue tradition comes from the Gaucho culture located in the southern part of the country. They cook meat skewered on metal spits over hot coals. Where possible, opt for a sirloin steak cut as the extra fat will make the smoky meat melt in your mouth.

Traveling with Kids and Eating Well in Brazil

Whether you’re craving something savory or sweet, Brazilian street food has got you covered. What’s more, your kids won’t be able to get enough of these fun “fast foods.” And if they still have room for dessert, don’t forget the brigadeiros. These delightful desserts represent the Brazilian version of truffles and come in a wide array of flavor combinations.

traveling with kids
© Leonardo Augusto Matsuda | Flickr.com

Ready for some mouthwatering Brazilian foods? Join us on one of our many upcoming Brazilian family adventures, a great way to experience authentic Brazilian cuisine firsthand while traveling with kids. And while you’re at it, download our free Around the World in 12 Recipes cookbook. Featuring kid-friendly recipes, your whole family will delight in preparing and enjoying these international flavors together.

At Our Whole Village, we create tours carefully designed for families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for families just like yours.

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(2) Comments

  1. Patricia Monahan

    Sorry to hear, Brian! Very likely the shrimp in that heat or simply a spicy sauce your body is not used to. Sometimes they use “dende” oil and that might disagree with some. Hang in there and keep hydrated.

  2. Brian

    Thanks for the tips, I’ve been in the area of Sao Paulo, at most of those items you spoke of at the near by mall, no issues, though yesterday went to Liberdade with taxi driver and he tried to buy me a Coxinha, I told him due to my lactose issue I’d rather not due cheese, he bought a different kind I never seen, inside it had a red sauce with mini shrimp and other mixture, the outside was fried crisp but inside was room temp or cooler, not sure if that’s where my travelers dia came from, only other place I could think of is the brushing if teeth with hotel tap water, but it’s a 4 star hotel so I don’t know.

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