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Thursday, January 27, 2011

FSO – F in Rio – Farofa, Ficus & Fairs; Feiras na Ruas

It is impossible to talk about Rio de Janeiro without talking about the food, the flora, and the fun atmosphere on the streets.  We don’t have all day, with a need to keep it short, I’ll give you one example of each that I think SAYS Brazil.
You cannot order Brazilian food in a restaurant without having farofa (toasted manioc meal or coarse flour - farinha de mandioca torrada) coming as a side.  Brazilians eat it with all kinds of carne, (churrasco), with beans and rice (Feijoada) and with the soups and stews from the north like
Bobó de Camarão.  At first taste, it taste like what you would expect sawdust to taste, but over time, mixed with the juice of the meat or mixed into rice, it soon become something you enjoy with your meal.  Sometimes it is served plain but more often (and my favorite / how I make it) is mixed with herbs, butter, sautéed onion and scrambled egg.  this is how it is served at our favorite picanha place in Rio.
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The streets in Ipanema are lined with tall, old, twisted, hairy looking trees.  The majority of these are a common species of ficus.  Don’t you love that sentence?  I don’t know which species they are, and all my tree reference books are in Friburgo.  I am so not scientific in my thinking so they are FICUS.   According to Wikipedia, ... “Ficus (pronounced /ˈfɪkʊs/)[2] is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphyte in the family Moraceae.  Collectively known as fig trees or figs” ...  I read in a museum here,  long, long time ago – that there are 167 species of Ficus in Rio.  I do know that these trees lend a unique look to our area of town and shade the streets from the hot summer sun.  One species turns interesting shades of red and drops leaves during the winter months. 
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And last but in no way the least are the Feiras na Ruas – street fairs.  In Ipanema, there are both  craft fairs and huge vegetable and fruit markets, with trucks selling sea food and spices and other much needed good things.  One veggie market is about two blocks from our apartment on Monday mornings and is the best market.  On Tuesday, it is on the other end of the barrio at Praça General Osório, and on Fridays it in the Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz – (our lady of peace – don’t you love it!) 
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The Arts & Crafts market also in the Praça General Osório on Sunday mornings – is a must see if you visit Rio.  (sorry no photos)


  1. You did better than I. There was so much snow and fog, well there is a good word and cloudiness. I would love to visit there. I just saw Eat Pray Love yesterday and thought of you. Have you seen it?

  2. Love that interesting tree with all the roots.

  3. I find that almost anything mixed with herbs, butter, and sauteed onions is fabulous, so I bet that manioc is really good prepared in such a way.
    How wonderful to have those fresh food markets!

  4. Food, food , food! I love the beautiful photos.

  5. I have to apologize to those that read this last night.... I rushed through posting and had a gazillion errors that must have made it difficult to read. on a good day my punctuation is not optimum and yesterday was not a good day.

  6. QMM - I have not see this. what is it?

  7. What great food shots. You are making me hungry! Or should I say famished.

  8. Love these shots, Ginger! My youngest son ADORES farofa and eats it plain. He calls it sand and can truly gobble it by the spoonful.

    I never realized those big hairy trees were ficus/fig. Interesting!

    Hope today is a better day.

  9. great post, Especially loved the Ficus trees. I hope all is well in Brazil after the floods. I hope to visit your corner of the world this July

  10. Wow thoughs are awesome trees roots. All very good pictures!

  11. Dear Ginger,

    There are Ficus trees all over the Miami Metropolitan area, they love heat, they grow fast and provide abundant and much needed shade in hot weather.
    They are ok for Rio, but they have very shallow roots and any strong wind will bring them down, so folks in Florida have been finding out the hard way that Ficus are not such a great species for the high winds they often get in Florida, they come down easy and cause a lot of damage.
    Eat, Pray, Love is a new movie with Julie Roberts, I also watched it and it is great, it makes you want to run to Italy and eat everything you can find...we had to make Pizza at home the day we watched it...it is a good movie, you will probably find out the name in Portuguese with a simple Google search on one of Julia Roberts most recent movies.
    Loved your feiras pictures, wish we had them in the US.
    There is ONE BIG feira still in operation downtown Boston on Saturdays, it is called "Hay Market", the fresh seafood is great!
    Great post!


  12. Those are big ficus tree.

    I have a sweet story about a small ficus tree. When I was living on the campus at the university,. I was the secretary of the gardening club, and recycled an abandoned ficus tree. I didn't have room in my garden, so I gave it to another neighbour. Then I didn't feel good in case the one who threw the tree when to the new home.

    I emailed him, and he said, it was good I took it, he thought it was diseased, but the new owner nursed it back to health. She always remember my and my ficus tree.

  13. I had no idea that ficus meant fig! Learn something new Every Day!
    Feiras na Ruas! Love that! Yes, I would be down there every single week!!
    Also, so surprised that you lived in Cottonwood!!! From little Cottonwood to Brazil! You've come a long way baby!!!

  14. I have so enjoyed this Letter F Post with the FOOD...love the idea of having one food that goes with every meal...a tradition and cultural idea. The Flora....I've never seen such large FICUS Trees...they are Fantastic. And, The MARKET....my FAVORITE of your pictures....In your Town, the Market is ART with the wares displayed so artFully. Great Letter F Post. BTW...thanks for the tip on the Fiddle! I added it in under the photo.

  15. Ginger, I love your fresh food markets and it is so wonderful to see life returning to a sense of normalcy
    where you are. The floods looked horrible and I hope your friends are coping as best they can. The picture at the top of your blog with the light coming back to the mountains tells me life is improving. The tree pictures are lovely. =D

  16. Mmmmm. Farofa! As someone else mentioned, when I first ate it, it reminded me of sand. I cooked for myself in Brazil, so didn't eat farofa often, but occasionally lunched at the local pensão, especially if carne do sol (salted, sun-dried beef) was on the menu. I eventually grew to like farofa.

    Since returning from Brazil, I have occasionally made a Brazilian meal for friends. My attempt at mimicking farofa in the U.S. is to toast some dry Cream of Wheat in a frying pan with just a hint of oil. I never added herbs or onions because where I lived in Sergipe, no one cooked it that way.

    Although some side dishes and the meat vary at my dinners, black beans and rice with farofa are musts. My Brazilian meal always ends with doce de leite (similar to egg custard) or pamonha (corn pudding) ---which I make with far less sugar than the Brazilians.

    Interesting that earlier today, I was thinking of my upcoming trip to Brazil and planning on dinner at a churascaria as soon as possible upon arrival. I will be on a plane or waiting at airports for about 24-30 hours, probably subsisting on airport fast food & bad airline meals, so I will be ready for a real meal. I have fond memories of the wonderful (& relatively inexpensive) charbroiled beef and pork steak dinners at those restaurants. Luckily I just ate dinner, so I'm not hungry ---otherwise I'd have to have a snack after looking at your great photos.

  17. I'm late in getting around to everyone's shoot-outs. Yours is wonderful, Ginger. Full of life. Like an offering of hope after the terrible recent destruction!

  18. In the picture, the side dish looks like rice. I think I would like it the way you prepare it. I wish we had more street markets. Ours is only open on Saturday mornings and since my husband works on Saturdays we don't get there much. Nice to get a feeling of what your city is about.

  19. I love the trees from your area. very fun and interesting to me. looks like the roots are growing up out of the ground.