Salvador and the Bahia Coast Feature
- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
When African slaves arrived in Bahia, they added coconut milk, palm oil, and hot spices into Portuguese and Indian dishes, transforming them into something quite new. Additional basic raw materials are lemon, coriander, tomato, onions, dried shrimp, salt, and hot chili peppers. Seafood is the thing in Bahia, and most regional seafood dishes are well seasoned, if not fiery hot. Bahia's most famous dish is moqueca, a seafood stew made with fish and/or shellfish, dendê oil, coconut milk, onions, and tomatoes, cooked quickly in a clay pot over a high flame. Bobó is equally tasty, but creamier version of moqueca, due to the addition of cassava flour. Other classics include vatapá, a thick pureelike stew made with fish, shrimp, cashews, peanuts, and a variety of seasonings; caruru, okra mashed with ginger, dried shrimp, and palm oil; ximxim de galinha, chicken marinated in lemon or lime juice, garlic, and salt and pepper and then cooked with dendê and peanut oil, coconut milk, tomatoes, and seasonings; and efo, a bitter chicorylike vegetable cooked with dried shrimp. Sarapatel is a Portuguese dish, a stew of pig meat and inner organs, that has been incorporated seamlessly into Bahian cuisine.
A popular snack is acarajé, a pastry of feijão fradinho (black-eyed beans) flour deep-fried in dendê oil and filled with camarão (sun-dried shrimp) and pimenta (hot-pepper sauce). A variation is abará, peas or beans boiled in a banana leaf instead of fried. Note that palm oil is high in saturated fat and hard to digest; you can order these dishes without it. Restaurants in Bahia usually serve hot pepper sauce on the side of all dishes, which is unusual elsewhere in Brazil.
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $824* & up -- Brazil Flights from U.S., R/T incl. Taxes TAM Airlines
- $334 -- Luxe Brazil Beach Resort w/Breakfast, 35% Off Sheraton Rio Hotel & Resort
- $147 -- Rio de Janeiro: 4-Star Hotel through Summer, 40% Off Novotel Rio De Janeiro Dumont
- $2140 & up -- Brazil & Argentina: 8-Nt. Escape w/Air & Tours LatinEscapes.com
- Alluring South America IExplore