Amazonian Food & Drink
The Amazon Rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world and spans Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname. It is the home of 400-500 indigenous tribes who incorporate the fruits of the forest into their diet. There are around 40,000 plant species, 1,300 bird species, 3000 types of fish, 430 mammals and 2.5 million different insects.
When you visit the Amazon, whether through a lodge or a cruise, you can discover regional dishes that incorporate many exotic plants, flowers, and meat.
Typical Amazonian Ingredients
Get ready for some new, and familiar flavors as you dive into some of the Amazon’s most popular dishes. Learn about and experience various types of fruits, meat, and nuts that are unique to the Amazonian region.
Fish and Meat
Given that the Amazon river is the main water source for the rainforest, freshwater fish is the most typical protein in an Amazon dish. Two of the largest freshwater fish in the world make for a hearty meal – paiche and pirarucu. Due to their size, you can eat these as a steak and are delicious when grilled. You’ll also find smaller fish varieties fried, steamed in banana leaves, mixed with colorful vegetables or stewed in fruit juices.
Other typical meats found in Amazon dishes would be duck, pork and chicken. One of the most famous Brazilian Amazon dishes is pato no tucupi (duck in tucupi sauce). This flavorful sauce is created from the wild manioc root.
And yes, people do eat insects in the Amazon! They are a great source of protein and very abundant. One of the largest and most typical tasty treats is the suri, a fat grub that is fried, grilled or eaten raw (as was the case when our Sales Director, Rebecca tried it). They are found residing in the aguaje tree where you’ll easily spot their fat white body and black head in small holes that they burrow in order to lay eggs.
The most used vegetable in the Amazon diet are root vegetables, like the plantain and manioc (yucca). These hearty vegetables are very similar to the consistency of the potato. Manioc juice, when raw, is actually poisonous, so it must be properly soaked and dried before it is safe for consumption. You can eat plantains and manioc in stews, as a side dish or fried.
Colorful and succulent, the fruits of the Amazon are extremely varied and found in different regions. Some of the most typical fruits used in the Amazon diet are the camu camu, maracuya, acai, bacaba, cupuazu, aguaje, and the cocona. They taste as exotic as they sound! Made into drinks, stews, marinades, sauces and desserts you can find these fruits in almost any dish that you try. Travelers that have hopped onto the açaí bowl bandwagon will be happy to hear that the açaí palm tree is native to the Amazon Rainforest. This super fruit is an essential ingredient in many Amazonian dishes, used in desserts and as a side to grilled fish. The nutritious berry has a generous amount of protein and minerals packed into the berry.
Don’t have time to go to the Amazon but want to try typical dishes? Try a place like Amaz a restaurant in Lima that you can visit with the culinary tour in Lima.