If for some reason you are unable to make it to the Brazilian festival in Hisayaodori this month, there is no reason for not gorging yourself on amazing Brazilian food, as there are plenty of places in the area to get it.
Aichi Prefecture has quite a large Brazilian community. Around the turn of the 20th Century Japan and Brazil signed a treaty allowing Japanese to immigrate to Brazil. Many of these immigrants were farmers who, facing poverty following the Meiji era, went to work on the Brazilian coffee plantations that had struggled to find workers since the abolition of the slavery trade in the 1850s.
Towards the end of the century the economic situations in the two countries had reversed, with Japan seeing the bubble years and Brazil struggling. Requiring working immigrants, the Japanese government showed a strong preference towards those of Japanese descent, presuming easy integration. Many second and third generation Japanese returned from Brazil, however due to a combination of being seen as foreigners by the local Japanese, and being culturally and linguistically Brazilian, the easy integration hoped for was not forthcoming.
This lack of integration has lead to pockets of Brazilian communities around Japan. Japan has the largest Portuguese speaking community in Asia (larger than ex-Portuguese colonies East Timor, Macau and Goa combined), The carnival in Tokyo is the largest outside of Brazil and there are over 300,000 Brazilians living and working in Japan today, mostly in manufacturing areas such as Nagoya and Aichi.
Since 1994, Osso Brasil has been serving up great Brazilian food in Osu. Long a popular spot amongst the foreign population, it is most famous as “that place with the really good rotisserie chicken in Osu.” For about 1600 JPY, you get the whole roasted bird; don’t bother asking about half orders; you won’t get one.
You can smell the chicken roasting long before you get to the shop, which is great because you will be good and hungry when you arrive. It comes with a mix of chopped pickled cabbage and peppers that is really spicy and very tasty. Be prepared though, the whole thing is salty, and beer is recommended- mostly by me. They also have salads and bread (cheese bread, meat bread, etc) that are quite tasty, but the chicken is the main draw.
If it’s huge cuts of meats served on swords that you are after then Sapucaí in Sakae is the Brazilian restaurant for you. It’s a lively restaurant with live music and dancing, for a great Brazilian carnival atmosphere. I’d recommend going for the buffet where you can eat as much as you like as waiters deliver flame grilled, spit-roasted chicken, pork, sausages and beef to your table carved directly from the spit. Seriously tasty meat and a great night out. Things can get a bit wild, and until the wee small hours of the morning. You’ve been warned!
Another restaurant in which you can enjoy the traditional Brazilian dish of Churrasco – skewered meats – Latin Bar São Luis in Meieki is a fun-packed night out. They have all you can eat and drink plans guaranteed to fill you to the gills with great Brazilian cuisine. Both domestic and international live bands perform on the second floor meaning you can sip on sangria or consume caipirinhas whilst enjoying some of the best Latin music around.
Planeta Grill is the place you head for if you are in Fushimi and you feel like grabbing a Brazilian lunch. With dishes ranging from 980 JPY to 1,500 JPY it is a relatively low cost way to get your teeth around some grilled meat.
Shop for authentic Brazilian groceries and goods at this grocery store in Minato Ward, near Tokai Dori Station. They have a large selection of meats and other Brazilian, South American, and Filipino foods, as well as a buffet style restaurant for your dining enjoyment.
Bompreco Mercado, has a butcher that sells meat in large cuts and at very reasonable prices. On the first floor is the supermarket, a mobile phone shop, a butcher and a little bakery corner which sells delicious warm cheese bread.
This Brazilian arcade has several shops, but notably, a really good restaurant upstairs and a really good butcher downstairs at the back where you can get unusual cuts of meat not available in other places for a fairly good price. English is not necessarily spoken, so be prepared for quite the cultural experience if you’re looking for something specific and you don’t speak Portuguese.
Ray Proper and Mark Guthrie
Image: flickr.com "Churrasco" by Evandro O. Souza (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) – Modified