A team of over 2,500 people are working in the food hall kitchens 24/7, serving up an insane 460,000 pounds of food a day. The menu is just as spectacular, with main courses such as shrimp stew (‘bobó de camarão’) and fish in coconut milk (‘moqueca’). Also available are 40 varieties of exotic fruit from Brazil, including açaí, carambola, and maracuja.
But it’s the Brazilian snacks (‘salgadinhos’) and desserts which will stand out. Here are some of the lesser-known treats on the menu:
Brought to Brazil by immigrants from Lebanon and Syria, millions of these pie-like snacks are eaten every day in Rio alone. They can be packed with anything from beef or sausage to ricotta and even tuna, and served either open (like a pizza) or closed (like a calzone).
Brazilian Romeo and Juliet
As the name suggests, this dessert is an unlikely pairing which shouldn’t be together, yet somehow works (and thankfully doesn’t lead to tragedy!). Guava jelly (‘goiabada’) is eaten with Minas cheese for a delicious sweet-and-savoury hit. Brazilians particularly like it on toast, in a South American spin on the peanut butter and jam combo.
Another fried snack, pointy Coxinha are a favourite at birthday parties. Originally made with whole chicken thighs, they’re now made from chopped or shredded chicken covered in dough and reshaped to look like a chicken leg.
This striking ring of baked custard is made with coconut, sugar and lots of egg yolks. The name is borrowed from the African Bantu language, meaning ‘the gestures, demeanour or humour of teenage girls’.
Sweet-toothed competitors might want to sample this cork-shaped candy made from ground peanuts. Confusingly, there’s also a savoury dish with the same name, made with dried beef instead of nuts.
The Rio Olympics’ local cuisine is intended “to show to the world the diversity of our culture and regional eating habits”. But if the stars of the Games aren’t feeling so adventurous, they can always head to the Olympic Village McDonald’s.