Pará cuisine is one of the main tourist attractions and has an essential function for the preservation of regional culture. It is fundamental for the valorization of the identity and maintenance of the heritage, traditions and cultural history of the state. Paraense cuisine rescues the use of local ingredients, guaranteeing more resources for the community since nothing is imported, thus moving the economy of the region and creating jobs such as conscious extraction, always preserving natural goods.
Paraense gastronomy is considered one of the most “Brazilian” in Brazil. Its greatest influence is indigenous culture, but it also adds Portuguese and African traits. The elements found in the Amazon region form the basis of their dishes, with the addition of shrimp, crab, duck and fish, all seasoned with leaves and native fruits.
Some of the most popular typical dishes in the region are:
Duck in Tucupi
This dish consists of duck, tucupi and jambu. Tucupi is a yellow broth extracted from cassava and therefore needs to be cooked for a week. The duck, after roasting, is cut into pieces and boiled in tucupi, where it is soaked for some time. The jambu is boiled in salted water, drained and placed on the duck, all of which is served with white rice and manioc flour.
It consists of a mixture containing tucupi, cooked tapioca gum, jambu and dried shrimp. Of indigenous origin, tacacá is an almost liquid porridge served in bowls and sold by “tacacazeiras”. Usually at dusk, on the corner of the main streets of the cities of Pará.
The caruru is made with okra, dried and whole shrimp, green seasoning (alfalfa and chicory), very fine dry flour and palm oil. After boiling the okra, the green seasoning and the shrimp in the water, add the flour and make a mush.
Açaí from Pará
Açaí is an indispensable accompaniment for people from Pará at the time of eating, and can be consumed in various ways with flour, grains and fish. The main difference of açaí from Pará is that it is consumed naturally, that is, without the addition of fruit or guarana syrup to sweeten it, in addition to not being refrigerated. It should be consumed at room temperature, which preserves the strong and very characteristic taste of the fruit itself, in addition to a fuller color and more creamy texture.
Maniçoba is one of the regional dishes most similar to the indigenous way of cooking. It is made from maniva (manioc leaves), ground and cooked for seven days, where smoked pork is added. Served with white rice, it is considered the feijoada paraense.
One of the most traditional dishes made from the fruits of the river is the stew from Pará. For its preparation, the meat of the “cub” fish, which has this name, is generally used, despite weighing up to 60 kilos. It is a skinned fish found in abundance at the confluence of the great rivers, it has white and tender meat. In addition to the fish cut into pieces, it takes onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, potatoes and boiled eggs, and is served with a flour mush made with the broth of the ingredients’ own cooking. The stew is served in a clay pot, accompanied by white rice.
The beiju is made from the thick cassava dough, baked in the very pan where the flour is made. It requires a special technique to roast it so that it does not toast more than necessary. It falls apart in the mouth, but it should be tasted while still warm. If it cools, it should be dipped in Pará nut or coconut milk.
Tapioca has a guaranteed presence in coffee from Pará. It is made from slightly moistened gum, spread on a very hot frying pan and from there you get a pancake, which is stuffed mainly with butter, coconut or cheese. There is also the wet version with coconut milk.
Freshwater fish are part of the typical cuisine of Pará’s life.
Pará has a large extension of rivers in which the most diverse species of freshwater fish inhabit, such as: pirarucu, tambaqui, cub and many others that transit between the Pará dishes in different preparations: boiled, grilled, fried, with sauces and even with herb crust or Brazil nut.
Pará is truly a charm, its tourist potential is undeniable, rich in cultural, architectural, natural beauty and gastronomy that is unique and pleases all tastes. Its riches enchant the whole world and, therefore, it is worth knowing up close.