Think ‘Brazilian favelas’ and these images probably come to mind:
However, Rio de Janeiro’s former ‘no-go areas’ are part of a “pacification” project to ‘clean up’ before the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016) and their food outlets are proving popular with domestic and international tourists. We’re talking things like tapioca omelettes and seafood stew. Surprising?
Sergio Bloch is the editor of a new Portuguese-language guidebook called The Gastronomical Guide to the Favelas of Rio: “Food is an excellent tool for breaking down prejudice. For people with lingering worries about danger or prejudice against these places that were impossible to visit for so long, food is a wonderful reason to actually visit a favela.”
According to the Huffington Post, “Bloch and his three researchers visited some 97 establishments in 11 favelas. Like reviewers from the Zagat or hallowed Michelin restaurant guides, venues were judged on food, decor, service and cost.”
Of course, it’s not all ‘shabby chic’ – smells from open-air sewers meant that they could not face the food in certain places.