Lanchonetes are as ubiquitous to Brazil as doughnut shops are to Southern California and bodegas are to New York City. These little snack bars can be found a stone’s throw away from each other throughout Sao Paolo and are a cheap, greasy introduction to the local cuisine.
What To Eat Most lanchonetes are attached to/also a bakery, so they offer a variety of hot salgados (salty finger foods) in addition to sandwiches and burgers.
Pão de queijo
Made from manioc flour, the gluten-free aspect of these rolls with cheese baked into them is about as healthy as the menu gets.
Pastels These fried savory pies, usually filled with meat, cheese, or palm heart, come in half-circle or rectangular shapes.
Esfiha This flatbread dish is either served like a pizza or in a calzone form. The distinct Middle Eastern influence is found in the spiced, ground meats and the pervasive use of cinnamon, but more conventional toppings/fillings are also available.
Coxinhas Originally made to look like and substitute chicken thighs, these batter fried cones of shredded chicken are now more akin to adorable drumsticks.
What To Drink Lanchonetes are primarily known for their juices, but also offer a decent selection of alcohol (and cigarettes for the social smokers out there).
Juice Fruits are liquidized and blended with sugar and ice to create popular sucos. Suco de caju (cashew juice) is in the highest demand, but can be an acquired taste. Vitaminas are made by the same process as sucos, but require milk instead of water.
Guaraná If you imagined that Red Bull was good for you and tasted like Amazonian berries, you would end up with guarana. The carbonated drink supplies a jolt of caffeine without the jitteriness.
Cachaça Though made similarly to rum, Cachaça, a liquor made from sugarcane juice, is technically a brandy. The liquor is unique to Brazil and the main component of the caipirinha cocktail.