We came to São Paulo without really much of a plan but were lucky that our hostel (La Pamplona) had a ton of flyers laying around. Since we are budget travelers the first word we look for is FREE and if food comes after that we are always on board! Yes, all the food is free and all you have to do is give a tip at the end, if you want.
The tour meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 1:30pm in front of the Museum of Art of São Paulo (MASP) on Paulista Avenua 1578. You can locate the tour by the two guys wearing a yellow shirt that has FREE FOOD TOUR on it. The tour will last about two hours and is mostly around Paulista Avenua.
The first item that we tried is a typical brazilian soda that is made from the Guarana fruit and is very sweet. Ulissess, who is the owner pulled out a bottle of it from his backpack and his assistant passed out cups to everyone in the tour. The drink is so sweet that I was glad to only have a small portion of it.
The second item that we tried was at a typical Brazlian bakery that you see all around São Paulo. I was glad to finally try something from the bakeries because there are so many different things to choose from that I never know what is what! We tried Coxinha which is shredded chicken thigh meat in a breaded covering filled with potatoes. It was SO delicious and I was already full after finishing it!
The next stop was at a shop that sold only Pastels and sugar cane juice. We tried the Bauru pastel, which has ham cheese, and tomatoes in it, but there are 100 of different types available. They were delicious and once I bit into one, I was glad it was not as filled as the previous item we tried! Ulisses, the tour guide said that the location we went to was the 2nd best place to go to to get these, but that if you want to try the best you will have to go to Mercado Municipal for it.
I am already a huge fan of this fruit, so I was so excited for our next stop when we stopped at a little bakery that is known for this fruity deliciousness! Ulisses explained to us about the exportation of the product and how that it can only be exported through a specific process that kills all of the bacteria. I love this stuff!
After scarfing down the delicious Açaí berry, we walked to the park that is in the middle of Paulista Avenua. Here, Ulisses started to explain about the famous alcohol of Brazil Cachaca, which is made to make Caipirinha’s. During his explanation, his assistance started passing around small cups to each of the tour participants and then he pulled out a bottle of Cachaca. We all looked at each other and Ulisses said, “Don’t worry, it is legal to drink in the streets,” with a huge smile on his face. He poured each one of us a small shot and we all cheered. It was way too strong for me and I was not a fan at all, so I passed the rest to Oscar who drank it for me.
Arroz e feijão
Our last stop included the final two items. We were given a small portion (which was welcomed after all the food we had) of arroz e feijão, which is well known when thinking of Brazil.
We ended the tour with Caipirinha’s, which is famous all around the world. Ulisses told us that this drink was not around until the early 1918. It was a delicious way to end the tour!
If you are in the São Paulo area and have a few hours to spare on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday head on over to meet Ulisses at 1:30pm under the MASP Museum!! You will leave with a diverse knowledge of Brazilian food, a great impression of the people of São Paulo (thanks to Ulisses’ cheerful attitude), and a full and happy belly!
You can check out their website here: Free Food Tour São Paulo