Have you ever been to a restaurant and eaten a meal, that you were not sure what you were actually eating?
This doesn’t often happen does it? In most places, you’ll get a menu, choose something that sounds nice, and it’ll be served to you.
When travelling in countries were English is not the primary language, this can be a little challenging. In the past, I’ve used various techniques, from pointing to a picture, or another persons plate, were their food has looked like what I would eat.
When in Brazil lately, I found myself wanting to try out a proper Brazilian BBQ. I knew it was going to be a bit of a meat fest, and I was recommended to go to Churrascaria do Gaúcho from the hostel, in Foz Do Iguacu, where I was staying at the time.
It was a bit of a trek from the Tetris Container Hostel, and I got lost (standard), and with 34 degree blazing heat, it wasn’t the best start to getting lunch.
After arriving at the restaurant, the process is quite simple: find a table, grab a plate, then load up on salad, and various other buffet foods, including chips and pasta, then await the meat to arrive.
I was quite surprised with the selection of food that was on offer, and all for just R $30 (which is only £5!)
After filling plates with salad and other goodness, we were then presented with various meats, on a number of occasions, by various (rather young looking boys). They would come up, meat on stakes, and ask (in Portuguese) if we would like the particular meat they had on offer.
Now, as I am not fluent in Portuguese (actually, I know about 2 words), I was uncertain at times what I was being given. I did attempt to ask in English (like a total tourist) what the meat was. “IS IT BEEF?!”
The waiter would smile, and repeat whatever it was in Portuguese.
So I resigned to the fact that I was unsure what I was going to eat, and basically took a load of whatever. Tried it, and if I liked it – I’d continue eating it. If not, I’d leave it to the side.
So for all I know, I could have been eating rabbit, liver, kidney, dog, or just plain old pork and beef.
It reminded me somewhat of the time I ate bugs at a wild foods festival in New Zealand; though to be fair, at least I knew what I was eating at that time.
So the moral of the story is, learn a bit of Portuguese when you travel to Brazil, or just eat whatever is served up to you; who knows, you may actually like it!