Written by Tiffany Ferreira Silva Dutra
BA (Hons) Business Studies
As a first-year Brazilian American living in Bournemouth, I am constantly searching for supermarkets that have Brazilian ingredients that no other cuisines have, or similar to those found in Asian Markets. Personally, I never ate many “American foods” in my household, but I find that British and American cuisines are synonymous in many ways.
The Initial Struggle to Find Brazilian Food
When I first arrived in the UK, I researched any Brazilian shop with imported goods, and I found one called “Rio the Internet Cafe”. Upon entering, I was greeted by what seemed to be Portuguese store owners, very lovely people. It was great to walk in and find familiar brands like “Yoki”, frozen Kibbi in the corner, and Guarana Antartica. However, they were VERY pricey. Understandably, as they were imported across the Atlantic, but as a student, I don’t feel as though I can really indulge like I’m used to. I can’t justify picking up bags of Bom Bom or Sonho de Valsa, and bags of Tapioca flour to make Pao de Queijo. Unfortunately, I had to find an alternative.
Luckily, Bournemouth has numerous shops with Asian & Eastern European food so I searched for what I could find. Couscous is everywhere and famous around here so that wasn’t hard to find. Going to ASDA, they have a small section of International foods separated between Mediterranean ingredients and a tiny Latin American area. This is better than nothing, and you can pick up cheese, mortadella, and fresh bread for breakfast since Brazilian food is influenced much by the old world such as Portuguese, Italian, and North African food. One of the most difficult things to find is coffee! Yes, it’s everywhere, but not the way I am used to. Understandably, the British population don’t gravitate towards strong, bold coffee as much as we do so I find myself disappointed when I either pick up a bag claiming “intense roast” or walk into a coffee shop, as I find it extremely weak. I usually resort to either stacking up on coffee at home or dealing with it, as I am in a new country and they aren’t used to what we consume.
England’s Attempt at Brazilian Food
However, England and the United States alike have started to sell Acai bowls, something we always had at the beach in Brazil during those crazy hot months and I am so proud of that because it’s a fruit we are proud of as our own. You can find it in various places, in many cafés, and it’s similar to the real thing!
Living in a diverse town, you can easily feel at home and either modify your eating habits or find a better alternative if you want to feel as close to home as possible. If you’re American, you won’t feel much of a culture shock or struggle much with food, except the occasional difference in names. If you’re from a different country, there is a larger hurdle to find what you need but you should be able to find a similar ingredient and you can find someone from your country here to ask and continue to feel like you are still in your community.