Ok it isn’t difficult if you like a constant diet of pizza!
We realise being a vegetarian isn’t the norm for South Americans anywhere (except maybe Peru) but the standard answer when we go into a restaurant in Brasil has been “we can make you a salad”
That has to be the most infuriating answer next to “we can make you an omelette!”
But this is not England so most people are just trying to be helpful and don’t realise that vegetarians like regular food too.
We have found the best way to avoid the carb overload is to eat in one of the many many ‘pay by the kilo’ restaurants you find everywhere in Rio. You see the signs in the windows advertising their price per kilo and most hover around the same price but walk about a bit if you want to shop out a bargain.
Inside is very much like our “all you can eat” for a price type restaurants as in they are self service from a huge range of hot and cold buffet items.
I have found the choice to be good for vegetarians with many rice, potato, pasta staples plus many vegetable, lentil, bean and salad dishes besides. Being self service you can pick and chose what you want so it’s easy. Some dishes may need a bit of staff help when identifying what’s got meat in and what hasn’t but on the whole it isn’t difficult.
Of course if you eat chicken or fish there is more choice in these places for you too. Vegans will not have any difficulty finding hot food to eat here either. Other diets I’m not so sure about.
A regular plate of food comes in at around R$30 (£6)
If you don’t fancy any of this or need a change, there is a great selection of chinese food outlets – normally on the street corners where you can order and takeaway or sit and eat it there. I have loved the noodles with vegetables here – very tasty and usually around R$15 (£3) These snack bars are usually open air so pick a seat away from the drains!
Street food often reveals some surprises and you can find empadas filled with cheese almost everywhere. These are little parcels either baked or fried and are served warm. Very tasty.
Many restaurants as I’ve said offer the standard cheese & tomato pizza (or even a vegetariano if you are lucky) and Espaguete (spaghetti) but there is definitely more out there if you know what you are looking for.
If in any doubt, just say to the waiter “sou vegetariana” and they will advise you better. They do understand the meaning of the diet but sometimes may think you eat fish so be careful
Avoid dishes on a menu containing the words:
Atun – tuna
Carne – beef
Cordeiro – lamb
Porco – pork
Frango – Chicken
peixe – fish
camarão – shrimp
polvo – octopus
lagosta – lobster
ceviche – fish dish