Today’s attempt to be more Brazilian was an afternoon at the Mercado Municipal (thanks Anna for the suggestion).
The building, designed by the famous Brazilian architect Francisco de Paula Ramos de Azevedo, was originally used as the central military barracks during the Constitutionalist Movement of 1932. The following year it was reopened as a market.
The market is great for finding all those Brazilian delicacies in one place. But if you are adverse to crowds, you may want to reconsider a visit. The place was packed! Of course, it was a Saturday, so that was to be expected. Since it is open every day, during the week might be a better option for a little elbow room.
For us, it was ok. I love seeing all the different people, tourists and locals, making their way through the stands. Though a bit of a struggle with a little one who shift between wanting to run around and being so “exhausted” she can barely stand (she’s heavy on the drama these days).
While I’m certainly not an encyclopedia of Brazilian fruits, my guess is if they have it in season, you can find it at this market. And when in doubt, because some of the produce is a bit on the ugly side, just ask to try!
There is a huge selection of cheeses and most are out to sample. Just pick one from the bottom of the pile to reduce the chance it’s been visited by a fly or two.
There is a huge selection of meat and a large number of vendors to choose from. Sausages galore as well.
Hard to find items like chicken feet…
As well as other Brazil staples, like dried cod.
All the entertaining basics seemed to be present, like olives, candy and just about any fruit you can think of in a candied state.
There is also entertainment… well really this woman was handing out flyers for something…
There’s got to be some world-renowned circus school in Sao Paulo, because you can’t swing a cat without hitting someone on stilts or juggling or dress like a clown in any public forum.
We picked up some cheese, dried meats and spreads and then made our way to the second levelwhere the restaurants are located.
It was the lunch hour and crazy crowded! There was very little organization in terms of seating. One place had made a waiting list, but for the others, you had to rely on your hunting skills – spot a table that was just about to finish and be faster than the people around you. My husband almost got into a fist-fight with a woman over some stools at the counter.
But it was worth the struggle so that, like good paulistanos, we could have the classic market lunch.
Chop (draft beer) and sanduiche de pernil (sliced pork shank sandwich).
My challenge to do something Brazilian every day is definitely hindering my objective to go back to being a vegetarian!
You can find more information about the Mercado Municipal at their website, which they also have in English.
Hours of operation:
Monday through Saturday from 6 am to 6 pm.
Sundays and holidays from 6 am to 4 pm.
How to get there:
Mercadão is on Rua da Cantareira, 306, near Rua 25 de Março and Parque Dom Pedro. If going by subway, get off at Luz or São Bento subway stations (blue line).