By Martin Kocandrle, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Locals and travelers alike can find some of the best food in Rio at the “feiras livres” (open markets) that proliferate the city throughout the days of the week. With everything from seafood to native fruits of Brazil, the street markets provide a veritable chance to sample fresh goods and mix with the locals on their own turf.
If you are on the hunt for fruit, local markets are the place to be. You will find exotic fruits with funky names and savory flavors. Unlike grocery stores, street vendors encourage you to sample before buying. Many taste buds have been transformed through these street side samplings, be adventurous and you will not be disappointed.
The weekly markets rotate different locations so it is important to get to know the schedule. If you are staying in Zona Sul there is no shortage of fresh produce to fulfill your shopping needs. A schedule servicing the different areas keeps shoppers and vendors busy throughout the week.
If you are looking for gourmet goods then you must wait until Saturday where the market at Rua Frei Leandro in Jardim Botanico serves up some high quality food items. For the fans of organic produce, one of the few markets is the one at Rua do Russel in Gloria. For a complete schedule consult the listing below.
Most markets get going early; indeed you can often see the vendors setting up their stalls at four or five in the morning. The freshest goods will always be available in the morning, and depending on how perishable your items are it might be better to arrive early before the afternoon heat kicks in. However as the day progresses vendors are eager to offload their excess cargo and will often lower their prices to induce buyers to purchase more.
Another difference from the grocery stores is that the markets do not have set prices, which allows vendors to adjust prices according to their will. Depending on your Portuguese skills this may be a good or a bad thing as you can often negotiate a deal acceptable to both parties. You need not worry that vendors are out to rip you off, but it is always good to ask for the price before reaching for your wallet.
The wide array of street markets in Rio provides a great opportunity to sample the taste and culture of Rio and other parts of Brazil. No matter what you are searching for, the lively atmosphere and interactions with locals will enlighten your understanding of Brazilian language and customs.
Following is a list of some street markets by neighborhood:
Ipanema: Rua Henrique Dumont
Leme: Rua Gustavo Sampaio
Botafogo:Rua Vicente de Souza
Ipanema: Pca Gal Osório
Botafogo:Rua Barão de Macaubas
Flamengo: Rua Particular Infoshopping / Rua: Do Catete
Tijuca: Rua Pinheiro Guimarães
Vila Isabel: Rua Mendes Tavares
Estácio: Rua Sampaio Ferraz
Copacabana: Prc Edmundo Bittencourt
Humaitá: Rua Maria Eugenia
Botafogo: Praca Nicarágua
Glória: Rua Conde Lages
Copacabana: Rua Ronald de Carvalho / Min. Viveiros de Castro
Leblon: Rua Gal. Urquiza
Barra da Tijuca: Praca José Bernardino
Santa Tereza: Rua Felício dos Santos
Tijuca: Rua Alzira Brandão
Gávea: Pca Santos Dumont
Botafogo: Rua Rodrigo de Brito
Laranjeiras: VDT Jardel Filho
Ipanema: Praca Nossa Senhora da Paz
Botafogo: Rua Paulo Barreto
Jardim Botânico: Rua Frei Leandro
Centro:Rua Tadeu Kosciusco / Carlos Sampaio
Laranjeiras: Rua Profesor Ortiz Monteiro
São Cristovão: Rua Gal Bruce
Urca: Pca Tenente Gil Guilherme
Lagoa: Av. Lineu de Paula Machado
Barra da Tijuca: Pca São Perpetuo
Glória: Av. Augusto Severo
Copacabana: Praca Serzedelo Correia