As my first day in Brazil went on, my friends and I continued exploring the beautiful city of São Paulo. Join us as we go on a Brazilian Japanese food tour of the Liberdade area of São Paulo!
My afternoon began in Liberdade, the Japantown of the city, with my friends Aurèlio from Be My Guest SP, and Guilherme from Rio4Fun and Rio4Food. Brazil has the highest Japanese population outside of Japan, and a lot of them are right here in São Paulo! The first Japanese people arrived in Liberdade in 1908, and since then, it has become a community of Asian fusion, with people from China, South Korea, and other Asian nations settling there as well.
I couldn’t wait to go on this Japanese food tour and have some sake and takoyaki! I fell in love with both during my time in Japan back in early 2019. It had been a while since I’d had either, so I had my taste buds set on them!
We passed by Kaisen Alimentos, which sells takoyaki (octopus fritters), tempura, and okonomiyaki. But we started at a small shop called Restaurante Sato, which sells Brazilian-Japanese fusion. It’s a hole in the wall that’s super easy to miss!
We got pork and beef that had both been marinated in miso and some beans and rice. I loved the beans, and the miso-marinated beef and pork had that salty soy flavor I love! It was Brazilian but with a Japanese twist! Next, I tried some chili sauce with chilies and ginger on the pork. It had a slight tingle but wasn’t too hot. The fusion of flavors was fantastic!
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I also had some crunchy and juicy turnip before we headed to an izakaya, which is a Japanese bar that also sells food. Along the way, we stopped at Coffee Selfie, which is a café where they take your picture and print it on the foam of your coffee! My iced coffee was basically a Frappuccino and was delicious!
It was raining a bit as we headed back out. We passed more spots selling yummy-looking Japanese food and arrived at an izakaya called Izakaya Kintaro, which is owned by a family of sumo wrestlers. It’s a small, tight restaurant. Inside, we ordered eggplant with miso, pork with ginger, and some sake.
The Pure Junmai sake was nice and smooth. I loved the eggplant, which had a potent ginger flavor. The pork was shredded with miso and onions and was so tasty! Each dish was four dollars, but the sake was $10 USD. I couldn’t get enough of these fusion flavors! They were delicious Brazilian tapas!
Next to the izakaya is a Hello Kitty store called Eat Asia that sells lots of snacks. They also sell shirts, dolls, and more. I headed upstairs, where they have cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and more.
From there, we passed lots of stores and passed under a Japanese gate, and crossed a bridge over the highway. There, you’ll find lots of souvenir vendors, and past the bridge is a beautiful Japanese garden, but it was closed. We also saw a couple of Japanese supermarkets, a subway station, the national bank (which looked like a Japanese temple), and street food vendors.
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One of the vendors was selling sugarcane juice, and the other was making tempura. The sugarcane juice was São Paulo-style (mixed with pineapple) and is really sweet.
Then, I tried some raw sugarcane and some sugarcane with lime, which is the Rio-style. I liked both, but the local style was my favorite!
We continued our Brazilian Japanese food tour of Liberdade at Yoka, which makes pasteles, but they’re Japanese-style. They can contain beef, crema, eggs, vegetables, cheese, and more. They even have some with chocolate! I got the one with ground beef, tomatoes, cheese, and egg, which is their famous pastel. It’s crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and full of yummy filling. I loved the egg inside and the spicy sauce I added to it. It was like a Colombian empanada!
We also had fritters made of shredded chicken, celery, and potatoes. It was similar to dishes I’ve had in Colombia. It was mushy and really nice with the chili sauce, which added a nice kick.
Next, we went to Izakaya Issa to have some takoyaki and soju! They opened at 6:30. Inside, it was like I had been transported back to Japan! You take your shoes off there. The octopus fritters were topped with bonito flakes. It had a sweet sauce on top and was very soft with nice chunks of octopus inside. I first tried them back in Kyoto and they’re so good!
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The soju is made from distilled sweet potatoes, so it’s a little sweet and a little stronger than sake.
What an amazing way to end my Brazilian Japanese food tour of Liberdade! Huge thanks to my friends at Be My Guest SP, Rio4Fun, and Rio4Food for showing me an awesome time. Definitely book with them the next time you travel to Brazil!
I hope you liked coming with me to try Brazilian Japanese food in Liberdade, São Paulo, Brazil. If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures around the world!