By Megan Ferringer, Rotary staff
Ask any Paulistano and they’ll tell you their favorite place to eat Brazil’s national dish, feijoada — a heavy stew of smoked and sun-dried meats (and offal, if you’re feeling adventurous) that’s brewed up in cauldrons and served with rice, black beans, kale, orange slices, and farofa (toasted manioc flour). Not for vegetarians or the diet-conscious, this dish was described by traveling TV chef Anthony Bourdain as a “magnificent, beautiful, murky black substance,” “perfection in a dish,” and “truly, transcendently wonderful.”
Traditionally eaten on Saturdays (it’s too heavy for weekdays), a good feijoada is a production. While some restaurants choose to serve individual portions at the table, the more atmospheric choice is self-serve style, with up to 12 massive steaming cauldrons lined up and waiting for you to dig in.
In a small, old-fashioned house in the Vila Madalena neighborhood, Feijoada da Lana serves up its own expertly crafted version. For just R$45, you can head down the buffet-style line, choosing your preferred cuts of meat and piling them atop the rice and beans (don’t forget to garnish with the house-made hot pepper sauce). I went for the paio (smoked sausage) and carne-seca (sun-dried beef).
Pair your heaping plate of meat with an ice-cold Brazilian Brahma and you’re on your way to a delightful, food-induced paralysis. It’s sort of like Thanksgiving, but without the American football.
If you have an evening to spare, hop on the Metrô and spend a few hours in the charming outdoor dining room of Feijoada da Lana. Your appetite won’t regret it.