Try this fabulous, thick, black bean soup served with bacon bits, fried garlic and sometimes "queijo minas" cheese. Add some chilli sauce and enjoy. Portions are small but filling. You can find it in most restaurants even if it's not on the menu. Try Bofetada in Ipanema, a popular post-beach hangout.
Bofetada Rua Farme de Amoedo 87, Ipanema
If you're in Rio and it's not carnival time, you can still find some of that carnival atmosphere and authentic samba. Head to the weekly "ensaio", or rehearsal, of Salgueiro, one of Rio's top samba schools. Don't worry you don't have to dress up or know how to dance. It's basically a big party to familiarise people with the school's music, while also helping to raise money for costumes and floats.
All samba schools run ensaios, usually on the weekends, but Salgueiro is one of the more conveniently located. Just hop in a taxi and ask for "a quadra do Salgueiro".
Rua Silva Teles 104, Andarai Tel. 021-2288 3065
The place to go for a famously small Brazilian bikini. This shopping center in the heart of Copacabana, which is known by its address, offers eight floors of fashion, especially beach wear. Prices are often cheaper than elsewhere. Don't be deceived by its unassuming entrance, which can be easily missed, and take one of the elevators to bikini heaven.
Rua Santa Clara 33, Copacabana
As strange as it may sound, Japanese food is quite popular in Rio and elsewhere in Brazil, and there are many restaurants that serve it. After all, Brazil has the largest Japanese community in the world outside of Japan. So if fish is your thing or you're tired of meat and beans, try the sushi. The great thing is, it's much cheaper in Rio!
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