7 Brazilian Foods to Know if You're Going to the Olympics

Because you can't eat at McDonald's every day.

You're ready to go to Rio de Janeiro to cheer on your country's best athletes at the Olympics this week. You've packed your bugspray to guard against Zika and your hiking boots for tackling Sugarloaf Mountain, but have you thought about what you're going to eat?

There will be steakhouses, for sure, but there are also a variety of fruits, snacks, and hearty stews that are worth seeking out because they are uniquely Brazilian.

<p><i>Jabuticaba</i>, a black fruit that looks like a round grape but tastes more like a lychee, here nestled between cherry tomatoes, is a sweet treat. Jabuticaba grows directly on the bark of the tree.</p>

Jabuticaba, a black fruit that looks like a round grape but tastes more like a lychee, here nestled between cherry tomatoes, is a sweet treat. Jabuticaba grows directly on the bark of the tree.

Photograph by Leonardo V., National Geographic Your Shot

A mainstay of the indigenious diet is manioc, also known as cassava or yuca. It's a drought-resistant tuber that can be ground into flour, fermented into juice, rolled into tapioca, or turned into a paste. Legend has it that the first manioc grew out of the grave of the beloved child of an Indian's chief's daughter. It must be properly prepared, though, to avoid cyanide poisoning.

Unusual fruits like camu camu and jabuticaba—and of course—drinks containing the now famous açaí berry, will likely be sold on the streets, says Paulo Machado, a chef and educator who will be cooking dishes from his native Pantanal region as part of Brazil's exhibition at the Games. But watch the added sugar with these already sweet fruits, he cautions.

To get a truly authentic idea of the variety in Brazilian cuisine, familiarize yourselves with this and other items in our handy photo gallery compiled from submissions to our Your Shot community.

Want more tips on where to go? National Geographic Traveler has compiled a list of traditional and trendy spots near the big attractions.

Read This Next

Can science help personalize your diet?
Hogs are running wild in the U.S.—and spreading disease
Salman Rushdie on the timeless beauty of the Taj Mahal

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet