Rice is an important food consumed worldwide, especially in Asia. It became popular very fast with a good nutritional value (carbs) and is perfect to be served as a side dish or combined with other foods. But is Rice popular in Brazil?
Rice is very popular in Brazil, one of the top three most consumed food in the country. Brazilians love to eat Rice with Beans, a symbolic food combination in Brazil, eaten every day. In addition, Rice is also a great side dish to various foods, including Churrasco, the Brazilian barbecue.
So Rice is one of the top three most popular ingredients in Brazil, but what are the others? The complete list of the top 10 most consumed foods in Brazil is listed next. Also, there’s a detailed infographic to help you to visualize the importance of Rice (and Rice with Beans) for Brazilians. To see it all, read on.
Rice: The Most Consumed Food In Brazil
It’s fair to say that Rice is the most consumed food in Brazil. Looking at the top 10, Rice lies at the second position, but the first place is not technically food, so Rice takes it, in my opinion. It happens because the most consumed product in Brazil is coffee, the drink that Brazilians love the most and drink pretty much all day long. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of coffee (and our coffee is the best).
The reason why Rice is the most popular food in Brazil is a staple combination that is eaten every single day by millions around here: Rice with Beans. Together, these two ingredients are consumed by all types of people in Brazil, from the poor to the rich, Rice with Feijão is the staple food of more than 78% of Brazilians. The combination, in addition to being tasty and relatively inexpensive, is quite nutritious. Especially when accompanied by salad and some kind of protein. This is the basic composition of the Brazilian diet.
In this table, the 10 most consumed foods in Brazil are listed. Together, they make up more than 45% of the Brazilian’s menu, while they represent about 35% of their spending on food.
In general, this set of foods shows a diet low in vitamins and micronutrients. Lots of carbohydrates and a little variety of vitamins. To give you an idea, the monthly expenses of Brazilians with French bread (about R$ 1.2 billion) are almost double the amount spent on bananas (R$ 410 million), oranges (R$ 163 million), and apples. (R$ 162 million) together.
The other ingredients in the ranking are also very important for Brazilians. Bread (especially the type called French Bread in Brazil), is usually eaten in the morning and mid-afternoon. Early in the day, it’s one of the most consumed breakfast foods, filled with Ham and Cheese or grilled with butter only (Pão na Chapa).
Beef is another Brazilian passion. Of course, there are a lot of people in here that don’t eat meat or animal-based products, but as a general rule, Brazilians eat a lot of meat, especially beef. Whether it’s grilled and eaten with Rice and Beans or roasted in a good old Churrasco, this ingredient is for sure very special in Brazil. Chicken, the sixth-place in the ranking, is the second-favorite protein option.
Banana is the most consumed fruit and it’s in the seventh place in the ranking followed by some major competitors: Milk, Beer, and Sugar.
Eaten Everyday: Rice And Beans
Brazil is a culturally rich nation, so it’s hard to tell what really defines the identity of our cuisine. In sports we are widely known because of soccer, in music we have samba, but what about our gastronomy? Well, in that sense, is fair enough to say that the combination of “Rice and Beans” is the most Brazilian combination in terms of food. It’s the most common tradition at the tables around the country.
Experts say that Brazil was the first country to grow Rice on the American continent. The cereal back then was known as “Water Corn” (Abati-Uaupé) and cultivated by the Tupi (an indigenous tribe in Brazil). So long before the Portuguese arrived in Brazilian lands, the locals were already harvesting Rice in the swamps near the coast. Some say that even beans were already cultivated here, but most experts assume that it probably arrived and became part of the diet in the country later by enslaved people.
Whether by slaves or indigenous people, the truth is that the mixture of Rice with Beans has been part of the lives of the Brazilians for hundreds of years. A cheap, flavorful, and widely available combination that we can’t live without. It’s eaten on a daily basis, for lunch or dinner, usually 6 days a week.
Cheap, Flavorful, and Nutritious
This typical Brazilian dish is not only famous but cheap, tasty, and nutritious. Beans are rich in vegetable protein, which helps in the composition of the muscles and tissues of the body. Rice, on the other hand, is a cereal rich in complex carbohydrates, which gives the body energy so that all metabolism activities are properly carried out.
These two ingredients are complementary to each other. The combination makes them form a high-quality protein. It’s healthier to eat them together than separately, as the body may not be able to digest all the nutrients in the beans when they are consumed alone. Rice has the function of helping the body digest all the vitamins and proteins.
This combination is really adored by Brazilians, whether rich or poor. But there is an interesting detail when preparing beans that must be taken into account by those who eat the food every day: let the beans soak before cooking is essential.
Nutritionist Juliana Saldanha confirms the benefit of the method and guarantees that leaving the beans and rice to soak makes the dish even more nutritious. “To increase the quality of nutrients, it is worth leaving the beans soaking before cooking and dispensing with water before cooking. This way, you eliminate substances present in legumes that hinder the absorption of nutrients and digestion, called anti-nutrients”, advises the nutritionist.
Why is Rice so important in Brazil? Rice is very important in Brazil because it’s the second most consumed food in the country, losing only to coffee. In addition, Rice is part of the staple dish of Brazil, the classic combination of “Rice and Beans” that is eaten every day by most Brazilians.
How did Rice get to Brazil? As a general rule, historians say that Rice got to Brazil by the Portuguese colonizers back in the 1500s. However, some experts say that the Brazilian indigenous tribe Tupi already cultivated Rice around here long before. At that time, Rice was called “Water Corn” (Abati-Uaupé).
Farofa Guide: What Is Farofa? The Most Popular Brazilian Side Dish
Churrasco Guide: What Is Brazilian BBQ Called? (Churrasco Guide)
Dendê Oil Guide: What Is Brazilian Dende Oil? (Red Palm Oil Guide)
Agência Brasil, CAFÉ: https://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/economia/noticia/2020-08/cafe-arroz-e-feijao-continuam-preferidos-pelos-brasileiros
UOL BR: https://www.uol.com.br/vivabem/noticias/redacao/2020/11/09/dez-alimentos-compoem-quase-metade-do-consumo-dos-brasileiros-diz-pesquisa.htm?cmpid=copiaecola