Northeastern cuisine

Northeastern cuisine
Northeastern cuisine

Northeastern cuisine was directly influenced by socioeconomic factors in the region.

The dishes have characteristics of Portuguese cuisine, known during the colonial period; of African culture, absorbed in the time of slavery; and indigenous food, heritage of the native population.

The recipes generally include vegetables, beef and goat meat, fish and seafood. Due to the biome of the caatinga, the dishes acquired a strong, peppery and high-calorie flavor.

On the coast, they received a loaded flavor, in addition to a variety of ingredients and colors.

The variety of biomes in the Northeast region is reflected in the northeastern cuisine.

At the sertanejo table, the semiarid climate of the caatinga leaves its mark on dishes linked to food conservation and high caloric contents.

Now at rough and its extensive coastline, the recipes gain a diversity of ingredients and colors.

vatapá - northeastern cuisine
vatapá – northeastern cuisine

The strong flavor and the taste for pepper, however, mark the Northeastern cuisine as a whole.

Most of the dishes are found throughout the region, but the visitor can find, in each of the nine states, special ways of preparation.

Are part of the Northeast the Bahia (BA), Sergipe (IF), Alagoas (AL), Pernambuco (FOOT), Paraíba (BP), Rio Grande do Norte (RN), Ceará (EC), Piaui (PI) and Maranhão (BAD).

Multicultural Ingredients in Northeast Cuisine

In addition to the native fruits of the caatinga and the wild, the Northeastern cuisine included in its menu novelties brought by foreigners.

Coconut, an important ingredient in regional cuisine, was brought from India by the Portuguese.

acarajé - northeastern cuisine
Shrimp bean ball

O sarapatel and bushing are dishes based on Portuguese cuisine.

In the Sertão, cowboys maintain the consumption of simple and resistant dishes, made with dried meat, cassava, corn and beans.

Apalm oil

The Dendê Olive oil, a seasoning present in most of the typical dishes, as well as the chilli pepper, were brought by the Africans.

Acarajé and Vatapá

Acarajé and vatapá are the fruits of this cultural mix.

It is a cuisine rich in spices and creativity. Discover the main ingredients used in the region:

Fruits in Northeastern Cuisine

The immense variety of fruits consumed in the region, are made mainly juices and sweets. Some of them: guava, cashew, banana, mango, jackfruit, araçá, mangaba, sapodilla, umbu, cajá and soursop.


Cashew is also extracted from the nut, used in many traditional recipes.

Palm oil

Palm oil is used mainly in Bahia, palm oil has an orange color, which helps to color the dishes, and a unique flavor. Largely produced in the southeast of Bahia, it is extracted from a palm tree originating from the east coast of Africa.

Chilli pepper

Chili pepper was brought by blacks from Africa and is used mainly in Bahian cuisine.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is made from the white flesh of the coconut, beaten with a little water and strained. It is used, for example, in shrimp bobo.

Fish and Seafood

The northeastern coast provides fish, molluscs and crustaceans widely used in the local cuisine. Several dishes are made from large shrimp. Crabs and crabs are served in portions.


There are several types. White, black, green and black beans are the most used.

Rennet Cheese

A typical product of the northeastern hinterland, it is handcrafted. It is found mainly in Pernambuco, Paraíba, Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte.


Corn is consumed in countless ways, not just in the Northeast. It can be cooked or baked and serve as a base for preparing hominys, cakes, ice cream, mush, curau, among other recipes.


Cassava in the Northeast, the sweetest version of this root is known as cassava. The flour is used as an accompaniment to dishes and can even be consumed for breakfast.


It is typical to find meat already dried in the sun (the dried meat) or dried in the air and preserved with salt (the dried meat). It can be served in portions or used as an ingredient in regional dishes.

Northeastern cuisine of the June festivals

Inland, one of the traditions is the June parties, who contributed to the production of several dishes.

The festival, which honors the Catholic saints Santo Antônio, São João and São Pedro, is the result of the union of Christian and indigenous celebrations, forming something close to what happens today.

It is one of the most traditional manifestations in the Northeast and takes place in all states, which often vie for the title of the biggest celebration.

In addition to the dances, typical music and games, one of the biggest attractions is the typical sweets served.

The foods used at the festival are those cultivated by the indigenous people, such as cassava, corn and peanuts.

Among the typical dishes of the June festival are pamonha, which, eaten sweet or salty, is made with grated corn and milk; hominy, made with corn, sugar, milk, condensed milk, coconut milk, grated coconut or peanuts; the “pé de moleque” – a kind of cake made with manioc dough, chestnuts and a syrup made of sugar and butter; cocada, a sweet of Angolan origin made with coconut, condensed milk and coconut milk; and curau, a pasty sweet whose main ingredients are green corn cream, cow or coconut milk, sugar and cinnamon.

The June festival is one of the most traditional events in the Northeast and takes place in all states, which often vie for the title of the biggest celebration.

In addition to the dances, typical music and games, one of the biggest attractions are the delicacies typically served at the party.

Main Delicacies of Northeastern Cuisine

Boiled corn

After removing the straw and hair, the corn is cooked and served with salt and eventually butter.


Also known as curau in several states, it is a sweet made from crushed corn dough and coconut milk, served with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Boy's foot

The candy is made in very different ways in each part of the country. One of the forms traditionally found at parties, especially in Pernambuco, is a kind of cake made with manioc dough, chestnuts and a syrup made of sugar and butter.

Pé de moleque - Northeastern cuisine
Boy's foot

Further south in the country, the candy is made from brown sugar and peanuts.

Coconut sweet

Coconut candy made with white or dark sugar. It can be found being sold on the streets as a board candy.

Sweet rice

Sweet made with rice and milk. It can be condensed milk and served with cloves and cinnamon.


Sweet or savory, pamonha is made with grated corn and milk.


A dish of African origin, it has several recipes that can include corn flakes, sardines, eggs and cod sauce.

Typical dishes of Northeastern cuisine


The recipe takes goat viscera cooked in the animal's stomach (maw). For strong stomachs.

Sun beef with curd mush

It is the sun-dried meat served with a mush made with rennet cheese, milk, bottled butter and manioc flour.

"Baião de dois"

Dish made with green beans or black beans, mixed with white rice, dried or dried meat and curd cheese. Served with typical bottled butter.

Paçoca Carne Seca

Farofa made with manioc flour, ground beef and onion. It can be served with banana and accompany a baião de dois.


Tapioca - Northeastern cuisine
Tapioca – Northeastern cuisine

The cassava gum-based dough is made in discs, like pancakes, and served with sweet or savory fillings.


Typically prepared by Bahian women, acarajé is a black-eyed pea dumpling fried in palm oil. It can be stuffed with vatapá, caruru and pepper sauce.


Fish stew with coconut milk, palm oil, pepper and cilantro.

moqueca - northeastern cuisine

Broth sururu

Soup made with seafood, coconut milk and palm oil.

Mocotó broth

the soup served hot is made with ox shanks, from which the traditional broth comes out.

Brazilian Style Tripe

White bean-based dish cooked with beef tripe.


With different recipes in each state, sarapatel is a stew made with the viscera of pork, lamb or goat, thickened with the animal's blood. It is served with flour and pepper.


There are several versions for the shrimp cream, which can take bread, breadcrumbs or cornmeal, peanuts, cashew nuts, pepper, coconut milk and palm oil.


Like vatapá, this dish was popular with people from Pará and is also served there, with some modifications. Basically, caruru is a pirão (manioc flour mixed with a hot broth) made with okra, shrimp, green seasoning and palm oil.

Roll cake

The sweet is made with a thin sponge cake wrapped in layers of guava paste, covered with sugar. Served thinly.

See more in the menu above under “Culture, History and Religion"

Characteristics, origin and main foods of Northeastern cuisine – Salvador, Bahia and Northeast Tourism and Travel Guide

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