Last night we had a great local experience. We booked this in advance when still in LA, not knowing exactly what to expect. We went to visit a local family to prepare a traditional Brazilian dinner from this region of the Amazonas.
Our guide and supplier, Jean Claude, picked us up from the hotel and took us deep into the center of Manaus, a rather poor neighborhood bordering with favela. Favela is a general word for a shanty town/slum but there are different levels of that as well. In Rio there are even tours of them.
As we drove into the place Ana and I exchanged looks of uncertainty. But soon after we met our hostess Rosangela, which turned out to be Jean Claude’s next door neighbor, we relaxed and followed her to the roof terrace of her house. This was the location of the outdoor kitchen and dining room at the same time. Rosangela had all the ingredients neatly prepared and ready for the cooking.
From the terrace we had a panoramic view of the neighborhood, kids playing on the streets and lot of them flying kites.
First, I learned how to make my own caipirinhna. Then we followed with preparing a mashed plantain banana , fried Pirarucu fish in Tucupi sauce and Farofa with Brazilian nuts and white rice. The whole cooking took place over a couple of burners while we chatted and tried to communicate in our broken Portugese and her very limited English.
Once in a while one Rosangela’s family members would show up to say hi. We met her two daughters, her brother, her sister in law and her niece and some friends. After all the cooking we sat down to a meal together and talked some more to find out about their day to day lives. Everything we prepared and ate was very tasty and fresh. It was a great meal and we enjoyed the time spent
After a tasty desert of ice cream and some more talking we said our goodbyes and Jean Claude took us for a brief walk through this lively neighborhood. Then back to the hotel.