São Paulo is a city in the Southeast Region of Brazil. Listed by the GaWC as an alpha global city, the municipality of São Paulo is the most populous city proper in Brazil, the Americas, the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere, as well as the world’s 4th largest city proper by population. Additionally, São Paulo is the largest Portuguese-speaking city in the world. The city serves as the capital of the surrounding state of São Paulo, the most populous and wealthiest state in Brazil. It exerts strong international influences in commerce, finance, arts and entertainment. Here is a list of the most popular street food items in the city to try on your next trip to Brazil.

Hot Dog

The hot dogs served in São Paulo are no ordinary dogs – they are a meal in itself. With mayo, cheese, and other assorted condiments – and topped off with, yes, mashed potatoes – it is common to see an outsider surprised as they receive one of these here in the city.

Every hot dog brand and recipe is unique, but according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, anything that markets itself as a hot dog or frankfurter must be a sausage that is cooked and/or smoked. The amount of fat and water, when combined, cannot make up more than 40 percent of a hot dog. Products are also allowed to contain up to 3.5 percent nonmeat binders, extenders, and fillers such as pulverized cereal grains and powdered milk products. This means that the main ingredient in hot dogs is real meat.

Mortadella Sandwich

Warm or cold, with cheese or with vinaigrette, or even by itself the Mortadella (Bologna) sandwich is a must for anyone visiting one of the stands in the São Paulo Municipal Market. The sandwich is an institution in the city, and you’d be hard to find someone who does not eat it on a regular basis. The sandwich is made from nearly a half a pound of mortadella sausage, Provolone cheese, sourdough bread, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.

Tapioca

Tapioca is one of the most versatile street foods found in São Paulo today. A tiny disk made of manioc flour pressed together can be stuffed with either savoury fillings such as ham, eggs and cheese, or sweet fillings to create a dessert with the likes of shredded coconut, bananas and chocolate or condensed milk syrup on top.

Coxinha

Next to the pão de queijo, coxinhas are the absolute favourite street food for São Paulo residents. The fried breaded pastry – served in the shape of a tear-drop – is filled with chicken and cheese, or just chicken.

In the book Stories & Recipes, Nadir Cavazin says that the son of Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil (1846-1921) and Prince Gaston, Count of Eu, a child who lived in seclusion for having mental problems, had a favorite dish, chicken, but only ate the drumstick. One day, not having enough drumsticks, the cook decided to turn a whole chicken into drumsticks, shredding it and making the filling for a flour dough shaped into a drumstick. The child endorsed the results. Empress Teresa Cristina, when she was visiting him, could not resist the tasty delicacy; she liked it so much she requested that the master of the imperial kitchen learn how to prepare the snack.

Churros

Originally created in Spain, Churros today are a favourite sweet pastry in most of Latin America, and São Paulo is no exception. Throughout the city you’ll see small churros stands on corners, parks, subway entrances and next to schools. São Paulo churros, however, are in their majority either filled with crème or condensed milk syrup and sprinkled with sugar.

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