TextandPhotos: Rapha Aretakis
Want to know better the local people or culture, go straight to the city market or to a street fair. Works like a charm. You see what people eat, how they eat it, and the best, you get to see the people. Here in Brazil is no different, every city has its market or its fair and a myriad of regional items, fresh fruit and vegetables waiting for their customers. The City Market of Sao Paulo, gently nicknamed “Mercadão”, was beyond its role of supplying the city and became one of its greatest sights. Opened in 1933, the market is specialized in selling fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, spices, herbs, cereals and drinks. Going through its nearly 300 shops is a blast, first because of the organization, and second, for the chance to try on some in-natura items. The visitors, speciallyforeigners, are delighted by the variety, the smell and color of Brazilian fruits.
The colorful german stained glasses give an extra charm to the building, which was designed by Francisco de Paula Ramos de Azevedo, also known for designing two other iconic buildings of Sao Paulo: the Municipal Theatre and the Pinacoteca. The second floor of the City Market of São Paulo is dedicated to gastronomy and the bohemian. By opening early, around 6 am, many clubbers end their nights there, maybe tasting a ham sandwich, or by eating away a huge bologna sandwich with melted cheese. For those who don’t say no to a cold beer, get there early (around ten or eleven in the morning), grab a table and enjoy a codfish dumpling or the mandatory “pastel”, typical (and delicious!) Brazilian street food.
The Mercadão is nearby the more frantic region of Sao Paulo, so it is recommended to go there by subway instead of having a headache by facing the chaotic traffic of the city. Furthermore, walk every aisle, try everything you can. The flavors of São Paulo will make the trip even more memorable.
Rapha Aretakis is a travel writer and creator of the travel website Raphanomundo. Born in Recife – northeast of Brazil, believes that the world is too big to stand at one place only. She lives now in Curitiba after spending some springs in Stuttgart, Berlin and Sao Paulo.