Arrive hungry at Belo Horizonte’s lively food market and fill up on a huge variety of local street-food specialties, such as feijoada or liver with jiló.
It’s worth skipping breakfast or lunch to make sure you come with an appetite to Belo Horizonte’s vast and bustling Central Market. Spanning an entire city block, the market is filled with vendors hawking fresh produce, flowers, handicrafts and traditional Brazilian cuisine. Follow the gorgeous smells that emanate from inside and you will quickly find your way here. Freshly roasted Brazilian coffee, churrasco sizzling on the grill and sugary brigadeiros are just a few of the enticing treats that await.
Consistently ranked as one the world’s best central markets for its variety, quality and accessibility, Belo Horizonte’s Central Market dates to 1929. Today, it has practically everything you could possibly want. Wander aisles dedicated to gifts ranging from kitschy souvenirs to hand-woven blankets. This is also a great place to pick up some of Minas Gerais’ signature pottery.
Listen to the sounds of about 400 vendors plying their wares. Let your senses guide you or take a bilingual guided tour to learn about the local products, traditions and the market itself. Comprehensive maps are also available to ensure you don’t completely lose your way in the maze of stalls packed to the rafters.
Save room for a plate of liver with jiló. This local specialty consists of grilled strips of juicy liver served with onions and slightly bitter scarlet eggplant. Washing it down with a cold beer is a must. On Saturdays, join throngs of locals waiting in line for a steaming bowl of feijoada, a hearty Portuguese stew of beans, beef and pork that is a national favorite.
Stock up on the ingredients necessary to create your own Portuguese dishes. In the spice aisles, pick up potent pirão so you can try making your own version of moqueca fish soup. Stop at one of the many liquor stalls for a bottle of sweet sugarcane cachaça, also known as Brazilian rum.
The Central Market is open every day. Come in the morning to ensure you have plenty of time to explore, as the hours pass very quickly in this huge and hectic place.