Best South American Market (2002)

Emporio Minas From Brazil

Have a hankering to imitate some of Café Brazil's dishes in your own kitchen? You'll quickly realize that many of the required ingredients -- from the elusive dendê, the lighthearted palm oil that lends its warm orange color and irreplaceable zesty tropical flavor to Brazilian seafood dishes, to farinha de manioca, the ground manioc meal that, toasted, becomes the essential table condiment farofa -- are harder to find than a table at the restaurant on a Saturday night. Thanks to Emporio Minas, though, there's no reason to cut your samba short. This hole-in-the-wall market, three little rooms with metal shelving that could well be found in a São Paulo garage, has all that stuff and more: coconut milk, sticky-sweet dulce de leche; the Portuguese sausages, salt-cured beef and carioca beans called for in classic feijoada; guava paste and pickled malagueta peppers, not to mention maté drinks, olives, cookies, chocolate and even nail polish. Oh, yeah, there's something else you can count on finding: every homesick Brazilian east of the Continental Divide.


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