Gastronomy in the Amazon Rainforest
The abundance of the rainforests has proven to be a rich hunting ground for the indigenuous tribes for ages. These communities do not farm fruits and vegetables to a large extent, they live a traditional life, hence they eat the rainforest food that they hunt and gather near their homes.
There is undoubtedly very limited food production and supply sources in the Amazon Rainforest, it therefore begs the question; what type of food is consumed by these communities?
Is the most popular of all the fruits that can be found in the Amazon Rainforest. It is advertised worldwide as a “super food” known for its health benefits, but for the dwellers of the Amazon, it is a common fruit that grows everywhere.
Is eaten widely throughout the Amazon. It grows very well in the mountainous, high altitude regions of the rainforest.
Is mostly eaten raw and it has a similar taste to that of a carrot and is found all over the Amazon.
Also known as passion fruit, is a highly nutritional fruit with numerous health benefits. The leaves are used to make Maracuja tea which is also drank to calm the nerves.
Apart from the ranges of delicious fruits which can be found in the Amazon, there are also many dishes served in the region; most of which are centered around the over 2000 fish species that can be found in the Amazon. Some of the other delicious food to find, specific to certain localities include:
A trip to the Amazon is just like going to a new country for the first time, you definitely have to try out some of the many things it has to offer. From its culture, to its food and beverages, something you’ll find unique in a new country is its traditional alcoholic produce. Just like Vodka in Russia and Sake in Japan, when it comes to the Amazon though, this alcoholic produce is the Chicha – a fermented or non-fermented beverage normally made from Maize or Cassava.
Traditional communities have brewed this drink for thousands of years and there is a big chance the Chicha will feature on your Amazon adventure in Bolivia, Peru or Brazil.
How is this drink made? You might want to ask.
It is made from Maize. Chicha makers use the enzymes in their own saliva to aid the fermentation proces by chewing and grinding the Maize in their mouth to help break down the starch in the grain. The Community women do the chewing, spitting the residue in a bowl and allowing to ferment. The saliva helps convert the starch to sugar, which is then converted to alcohol.
The processs of making Chicha will no doubt be a turn off for some, but if offered this drink in the Amazon, it’s better to display good etiquette and accept it.
There are plenty of weird and wonderful things to discover about the Amazon, it is one of the places on earth you’ll definitely want to discover for yourself. So make sure a visit to the Amazon is on your agenda this year.
Delicious Juanes can be found in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest being sold at markets or on street corners by local vendors. Juanes are a mixture of Rice, Chicken, and different herbs rolled in Banana leaves.
Ceviche is raw fish drizzled with lemon juice and spices. If you’ve been to South American countries like Ecuador or Peru, you should have come across this dish. It can also be found in Amazonian towns like Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado. With this particular dish, it is either you love it so much or you downright hate it.
If you find yourself in Manaus or Santarem, Brazillian BBQ are a must. Barbequed pork, Chicken and Beef are served on skewers in restaurant and steak houses.
Surely, you would expect Bush meat to be among the cuisine in the Amazon – the world’s largest container of wildlife mixed with a population struggling to eke out a living. Bush meat isn’t just for satisfying hunger, it is a $175 million per year industry. It has become a serious threat to conservation efforts in the Amazon region. Animals like Tapirs and Monkeys have reduced greatly in certain areas of the Amazon due to this trade.
The typical dishes of the Amazon people are mainly made up of Manioc, local river fish, and a great variety of tropical fruits. There are around 3000 species of eadible riverfish, spread out through the different Amazon basin countries and within the several regions of each of these countries.
Fruit juices al-galore
The variety of eadible fruits in the Amazon basin is amazing, in Brazil alone there are 150 varieties of different juice fruits to choose from. There are just as many spread out through Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
Food on board
The different river cruises we offer are well appointed with a chef and experienced local cooks, they will delight you with the most varied dishes. From exotic local recipes to international cuisine with a local garnish and everything in between. There is something for everyone. Vegetarians need not to worry as their needs will be well taken into account with a variety of salads and fresh local produce on the table.
Chicha and other traditional drinks
In the Amazon tribes of Ecuador and Peru, the natives prepare a local manioc based drink that is fermented with saliva, this is similar to Masata from Brazilian natives. This is as thick as soup it is more of a froth, whenever visiting a local village it is quite probable you will be offered some to taste. Remember it is an insult to reject it.
Etiquette when visiting indigenous tribes
Food is scarce throughout the Amazon basin, there are seldom agricultural lands and soil is poor. The Amazonian indians make the most of what they have, eating is a community interest. Try not sharing junk food and candy with local children as there are few available dentists and they are miles away. If you wish to share, local produce and foods like rice, potatoes, beans are welcome. of course poultry and meat will make a feast.
when eating snacks make sure you carry-out your rubish. Indigenous tribes have no way of recycling or getting rid of in-organic garbage, it will usually end up poluting the rivers, the indigenous are poor people and may not know that these products are not biodegradable.
Try not giving money as a present, you do not want to turn the people, specially children, into beggers. Make sure your gift is given in exchange for a service otherwise your host family might feel obliged to give you a valuable possesion like a spear or vase that has been in the family through various generations.
Other Amazon Rainforest Topics