Photograph by Cintia Risueño, National Geographic Your Shot
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Pastel is a thin fried dough that can be stuffed with any number of ingredients, including meat or fruits, and is typically sold on the street or at festivals.
Photograph by Cintia Risueño, National Geographic Your Shot
The Plate

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.

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.