Brazilian cuisine has European and African influences. It varies greatly by region, reflecting the country's mix of native and immigrant populations, and its continental size as well. This has created a national cuisine marked by the preservation of regional differences.
Ingredients first used by native peoples in Brazil include cassava, guaraná, açaí, cumaru and tacacá. From there, the many waves of immigrants brought some of their typical dishes, replacing missing ingredients with local equivalents. For instance, the European immigrants (primarily fromPortugal, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland and Switzerland) were accustomed to a wheat-based diet, and introduced wine, leaf vegetables, and dairyproducts into Brazilian cuisine. When potatoes were not available they discovered how to use the native sweet manioc as a replacement. The African slaves also had a role in developing Brazilian cuisine, especially in the coastal states. The foreign influence extended to later migratory waves - Japanese immigrants brought most of the food items that Brazilians would associate with Asian cuisine today, and introduced large-scale aviaries, well into the 20th century.
Root vegetables such as cassava (locally known as mandioca, aipim or macaxeira, among other names), yams, and fruit like açaí, cupuaçu, mango,papaya, guava, orange, passion fruit, pineapple, and hog plum are among the local ingredients used in cooking.
Some typical dishes are feijoada, considered the country's national dish; and regional foods such as vatapá, moqueca, polenta and acarajé. There is also caruru, which consists of okra, onion, dried shrimp, and toasted nuts (peanuts and/or cashews), cooked with palm oil until a spread-like consistency is reached; moqueca capixaba, consisting of slow-cooked fish, tomato, onion and garlic, topped with cilantro; and linguiça, a mildly spicysausage.
Cheese buns (pães-de-queijo), and salgadinhos such as pastéis, coxinhas, rissólis (from pierogy of Polish cuisine) and kibbeh (from Arabic cuisine) are common finger food items, while cuscuz branco (milled tapioca) is a popular dessert.
Caipirinha, a national drink
Coxinha is a popular Brazilian snack.