By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Often confused with Mexican Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is a celebration of Mexican pride and heritage and one of the few festivals of its kind that is celebrated worldwide. Although most popular in the U.S. and Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has spread further down into Brazil and in Rio’s bars and restaurants, the celebrations will certainly not be overlooked.
At the The Lapa Irish pub, owner Bob Fetterman is looking forward to celebrating Cinco de Mayo for the first time and invites customers to join in the festivities and take advantage of the special promotions.
Although not a Mexican establishment, Fetterman understands the importance of a good party, particularly for expatriates who want to keep the traditions of home alive. He states, “The Irish Pub has not done anything in the past for Cinco de Mayo, this will be our first. Just like St. Patrick’s Day, it is catching on as a good time for celebration.”
The party will start on Saturday, May 4th and continue on into Sunday the 5th. Customers can expect the venue to be decorated suitably for the occasion with a good selection of Mexican food available.
On the second floor, traditional Mexican drinks will be served including Margaritas, Mojitos, Micheladas, Tequila Sunrises and Diablos. The fun doesn’t end there however; To really get the party going, The Lapa Irish Pub will treat all customers to a free tequila shot on entering.
Elsewhere, popular Mexican bar and restaurant Blue Agave, with locations in both Ipanema and Copacabana, will be putting on their usual annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. Owner Richard Nelson is looking forward to the festivities, revealing, “We always have an exciting event planned for Cinco de Mayo. As always we have a big party with Mariachi music and a R$5 menu that includes most of the menu items in TAPAS presentation.”
The menu has been carefully thought out to encourage customers to experiment with the cuisine and share amongst friends in true Cinco de Mayo tradition. He adds, “The idea is that we want everyone to try lots of plates at low prices so they can experience all that we offer.”
Food and drink are the focal point of Cinco de Mayo, and the idea is that people can join in and share traditional Mexican cuisine together. In view of this, Aglika Angelova, co-owner of popular Mexican restaurant Azteka on Ipanema’s Rua Visconde de Pirajá, has been busy preparing a new menu to honor the special day.
She reveals, “We will have a brunch menu – huevos rancheros, huevos em mole, chorizo scramble and breakfast burrito – all made with organic eggs. We are introducing organic chicken in traditional Mole sauce, also chocolate mousse with semi-sweet chocolate and a touch of spiciness.”
If celebrating out fails to appeal, one can still commemorate Cinco de Mayo in style by cooking up a traditional Mexican feast at home. Most of the ingredients necessary such as tortillas, chorizo, black beans and much more can be bought easily at any of the supermarkets like Zona Sul or Pão de Açúcar whilst recipes can be found on the internet.
Following are some recommended Mexican Restaurants and Bars in Rio:
Azteka – Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 156 – Ipanema
Si Senor – R. General San Martin, 1011 – Leblon
Guacamole – Rua Jardim Botânico, 129 – Jardim Botânico
Blue Agave Copa – Rua Aires Saldanha, 21- Copacabana
Blue Agave Ipanema – Rua Vinicius de Moraes, 68. Ipanema