From classic Brazilian dish feijoada (rice and beans with pork) to bite-size salgadinhos (salty appetizers), Brazil's Rio de Janeiro offers a varied cuisine that captivates visitors.
The city's simple and traditional "botecos" -- cozy, unpretentious bars or pubs where residents go to get a bite and a cool beer served with a friendly smile -- are the ideal places to try the national foods.
Botecos are more affectionately called "pes-sujos," or "dirty feet." Last December, they were declared part of "Rio's Cultural Heritage" through a decree issued by Mayor Eduardo Paes.
Pes-sujos are "places for democratic coexistence that reflect Rio's spirit of getting together, commemorating and celebrating," according to the decree.
Among the pubs selected to represent the best of this tradition is the Bar Adonis, in business since 1952 in Benfica, a suburb in north Rio.
Joaquim Antero, the owner, said family tradition is what makes his place unique. His father began the business and the third generation of the family is currently managing it.
Apart from the tradition, the food is another reason his bar continues to be such a success.
"In addition, we offer codfish appetizer and draft beer from an old-fashioned tap that's always cold," Antero said.
The recent award-winning Bar do David, located in the Chapeu Mangueira favela in Leme, one of the city's oldest neighborhoods, is an example of the type of restaurants that benefited from Rio's five-year-old anti-crime campaign.
Each weekend, the tables are filled by Brazilian and foreign tourists who come to try the delicious food cooked by David Vieira Bispo and enjoy the location's spectacular sea views.
Vieira Bispo's seafood feijoada with prawns, squid and mussels only costs 17 reals (about 8 U.S. dollars) and can be shared by two.
"The bar won the second and third place in the contest 'Comida di Buteco' in 2011 and 2012. We are working on new dishes and increasing the number of tables to accommodate 80 customers," Vieira said.
Tasty food is also available at many street stands. And luckily Sergio Bloch, a documentary film director, has compiled the top spots in his two-volume "Rio Guide to Street Food."
The guide, together with a website, was made when Bloch was filming "Na boca do povo" (In the Mouth of the People), a short film about the types of food prepared, sold and eaten in the streets.
"We really value the person who prepares the food," said Bloch, who selected 36 cooks for his guide to present both their food and personalities.
"Each cook is an artist, making food his way, according to his taste, with his seasonings and personality," he said.
The guide will also lead you to Luizinho's, famed for his caipirinhas, Brazil's national drink. At his stand, in the street markets of the Laranjeiras district, you'll not only get a taste of Brazil's firewater, but you'll also get to hear or buy samba and choro, Luizinho's favorite music.
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