Brazil is home to twenty-six states divided into five regions, which each have their own unique ingredients and signature style of cooking. It also has one of the most diverse populations in the world, which has produced an incredibly rich food culture that’s only now starting to be truly understood outside the country. There were thousands of tribes living in the country before the Portugese arrived in the 1500s, who combined their dishes with the indigenous produce around them. The slave trade then brought millions of Africans to Brazil, who further influenced the food culture, followed by large swathes of Germans and Italians in the nineteenth century. The country is now home to the second largest Japanese community outside Japan thanks to a large migration in the twentieth century. There’s even a well-established Syrian and Lebanese population.
All these different cultures have resulted in a very diverse Brazilian food culture, with huge differences between regions. There are a few mainstays across the board – manioc (also known as cassava or yucca), for example, is a common ingredient throughout the country – but there are five areas of Brazil (south, southeast, central/west, north and northeast) that can easily be distinguished from one another. While food in Brazil includes dishes such as feijoada and drinks like the caipirinha are quite well-known already, they are just a minuscule representation of the Brazilian recipes out there.