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Tuesday 31 January 2017

A Short Guide to Finding Brazilian Food in Canada.

(Um pouco sobre comida Brasileira no Canada.)

In the general spirit of welcoming people to Canada, I wanted to share something Gabriela, my significant other from Brazil, and I, have learned about Brazilian food in Canada. We've both heard frequent stories about Brazilians here missing the food, so I'm writing this in the hopes that it helps some people feel less homesick.

Bife, carne

Directly translated, 'carne' means 'meat', however in Brazil, 'carne' seems to refer only to 'red meat' such as cow meat. In Canada, 'meat' usually refers to any animal muscle tissue that is eaten, including fish, chicken, and pork.

The English word for cow meat is 'beef', which can refer not only to steaks (bife), but also to hamburgers and ground-up meat on pizzas.

The term 'filet-mingon' refers to a specific type of steak, one which is of very high quality and cost. Other steak cuts include 'New York' (Nova York), 'rib-eye', and 'porterhouse'. For a visual guide of the kind of meat you're looking for, refer to this guide ( http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/beefporkothermeats/ss/cutsofbeef.htm ) and find either a local or a supermarket butcher.


These little chocolates are unavailable in Canada, but Kit-Kat chocolate bars are quite similar.

Com gas / Sem gas

These terms refer to drinks with and without carbon dioxide gas bubbles added to them. The common Canadian terms for these are 'carbonated' and 'non-carbonated'. A less commonly used term for carbonated is 'sparkling'.


Compared to beans in Brazil, canned beans in Canada are much sweeter, especially those with maple syrup. However, refried beans are essentially the same beans as those in Brazil – starchy and salty.


These crunchy, light, bagged snacks from Rio de Janeiro reminded me of Funyuns, but without the powdered onion flavour.

Molho Ingles (tipo Worcestershire)

This cooking sauce for meats is known as Worcestershire sauce in Canada. It is exactly the same as in Brazil.

Sonha de Valsa

Reese's peanut butter cups are a close substitute to these chocolates, but they taste less natural than Sonha de Valsa.

Pao de Queijo

These puffs of cheesebread are available (at least in Vancouver area) as a frozen food from a company called Otimo, as well as at least one competitor.


Spring rolls are an imperfect substitute. These are pockets of flaky fried dough that are like small pastels. They can be found in several styles in different Asian restaurants. For example, Chinese spring rolls tend to be smaller and less meaty than Vietnamese spring rolls. At ethnic grocery stores, such as T&T Supermarket in Vancouver, you can find the sheets to make your pastels at home, and filled with whatever you want. So far, Gabriela and I have tried this with breaded chicken, cheese, crème de meil (creamed corn), and Sonha de Valsa.


These tiny bottles of sweetened, probiotic yogurt drink are available as a different brand, called 'Wahaha' at T&T supermarket.

General Strategy – Read the French side

Most food packaging in Canada has both English and French written on it. Even without knowing French, reading the French side of the package can offer some more information about a food. If you know Portuguese (or Spanish), try to guess what the following French words mean, just by using Portuguese (or Spanish):

Sucre, framboise, menthe, limon, bifteck, riz, froid, chaud, crème, glace*.

Not food but…

You may have noticed that Canadian soccer is not as exciting to watch as it is in Brazil. However, I recommend asking who knows about (ice) hockey to show you a hockey game. From my personal experience, soccer fans tend to learn and enjoy hockey very quickly; it's a similar game, but with a smaller net and much more, and faster, substitutions.

Also, there's more to Canada than just Vancouver and Toronto. For example, the biggest shopping center in North America is in Edmonton, Alberta. The West Edmonton Mall has lots of other theme park style attractions too, so if you've been to Orlando, Florida and enjoyed the Aventura Mall and Disney World, I recommend it.

*Açúcar, framboesa, menta, limao, bife, arroz, frio, quente, creme, gelo **
**Sugar, raspberry, mint, lemon, steak, rice, cold, hot, cream, ice.

1 comment:

  1. Great information for Brazilians in Canada, as well as people interested about Brazilian food.