Food + Wine

World's Best Beach Food

Acarajés in Brazil

The beach: Itapua Beach in Salvador de Bahia

The place: Acarajé da Cira, just off Itapuan Beach

The dish: Acarajés, black-eyed pea fritters served with shrimp and hot sauces

The African-influenced cuisine of Brazil's Bahia region is the source of the colorful acarajé, a much-loved beach snack that combines seafood, spice, and a sizzling pot. The foundation of the dish is the humble black-eyed pea, mashed into a paste, formed into a lump, and deep-fried in dendê oil. The fritter is topped with a combination of bright relishes and sauces, including caruru, an okra gumbo; vatapa, a thick, tangy sauce made with nuts, shrimp paste, and coconut milk; and your classic hot-pepper sauce. The finishing touch—worth the extra centavos—is a handful of small, bright red, sun-dried shrimp, or camarão, whose strong, almost pungent flavor plays well with the dense, earthy fritter and the spicy sauces. Almost everyone in Salvador has a different opinion about where to get the best acarajés, but there's a consensus around Acarajé da Cira, a simple outdoor kitchen in a shady square just off Itapua beach. You can watch the entire process, from forming the fritters to scooping on the sauces. But why watch when you can eat?

Next: The obligatory fish taco in Maui, Hawaii >

Acarajé da Cira
Itapua Beach
Bahia, Brazil
no phone

Photo courtesy of www.flickr.com/photos/lorismaria/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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