Moqueca Magic

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Today’s guest post comes from a photographer I met in Lima, Peru before heading off to hang out with the Hare Krishnas. Right away Cameron struck me as being a thoughtful person. With a background in environmental consulting he shared a lot of the same concerns I had in South America.Although I haven’t been to Brazil yet, his stories tempt me to go there very soon.

Travelling around South America I’d heard so many things about Brazil before I visited.

By all reports it was a country passionately consumed by soccer, music, dance, carnavale, beauty and beach culture.

As a photographer I definitely wanted to capture a slice of all of this, but of the food I had heard near on scant.

What little I had heard held the common thread that is was everything the rest of Brazil’s dynamic colourful culture was not; a drab and stodgy affair of beans and barbecue.

So their food I thought would not be something worth writing home about right?

Brazil fruit


There are many delicious reasons worth visiting Brazil, king amongst them is the magic of ‘moqueca’ (pronounced mo–ke–ka).

I found this gem within a week of flying into Brazil’s sundrenched afro-american state, Bahia.

On a sleepy island called Boipeba our waiter walked barefoot through the sand carefully carrying a ceramic pot to our table.

What arrived was a positive culinary match for Brazil’s exuberant yet relaxed culture.

To my ravenous glee I found moqueca to be more reminiscent of a Southeast Asian curry (also a huge fan) than any South American dish I know of.

It was a fish stew loaded with tomato, chilli, garlic, onion, coriander (aka cilantro), black pepper, dendê oil (palm oil), lime juice, capsicum (aka peppers), fish, crab and prawns (shrimp for all ye of North American origin) and smoothed out with coconut milk.

MUST READ: An easy moqueca de camaro recipe aka Brazilian shrimp soup.

Brazil beach hut

It was slow cooked in a clay pot (kind of like a Moroccan tajine except without the conical lid) and served on rice.

Need I say more? Oh yes, friggin delicious!

Brazil child
people on hammock

Of course apart from kicking back in beach restaurants and feasting I was on a constant hunt for images.

It was quickly confirmed to me that Brazil most definitely does reign as a world superpower in music, dance, soccer and perhaps above all, partying.

EASY RECIPE: Snow Crab Cakes

Whilst not nearly as delicious as my mouth-watering moqueca, I hope these shots from Morro de Sao Paulo (one of the best places to visit in Brazil) and Boipeba give you a small visual taste.

Cam Cope has roamed the earth making awesome travel images and documentary projects since leaving his consulting desk job in Melbourne, Australia, in 2009. You can check out his latest work on his website.

Join the Conversation

  1. Gene Bowker says:

    Love the photographs. The people are so photogenic and it makes me want to visit.

  2. Look at that fruit display! But wait, what there are Hare Krishna’s in Peru??!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh yeah they are all over South America.

      1. And North America, just saw some in Vancouver! ;P Love their food too.

  3. Cornelius Aesop says:

    I miss Brasil and loved the food. The fruit stands everywhere, the mix of southern Africa, Spanish, Japanese, and Brazilian gives you plenty of options and delectable treats.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m really interested to see how the culture differs, well mostly I’m looking forward to the beans.

      1. The black beans are awesome =D

  4. The Travel Chica says:

    Sounds and looks delicious!

    I will try almost anything served in a ceramic pot by a barefoot waiter 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      My first reaction was that I’d eat anything by a barefoot waiter but on second thought the ceramic pot is more enticing.

  5. Cheryl Howard says:

    There is some great food to be had in Brazil! I long to go back …

    Also, what great photos … I especially loved the hammock one.

    1. Thanks Cheryl, I spotted that couple in possibly the greatest bar on earth in Morro de Sao Paulo. The bar is perched on top of this old Portuguese fort on the highest point of the island. Such an awesome place to watch the sunset over the atlantic as fishing and cargo boats come in to dock. Of course they spotted me sniping them but loved the photos when I showed them.

  6. Thanks for the comments on the photos guys, writing this post made me want to go back to Brazil big time as well!

  7. Michael Figueiredo says:

    Beautiful, vibrant photos and great descriptions too! The food sounds amazing! I’ve only been to Brasil once, but can’t wait to go again sometime soon.

  8. gorgeous shots! Can’t wait to make it to Brazil!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Me either, when are you going?

  9. I love moqueca and I miss Brazil so much, may be time to organize a trip. My parents will be heading to Rio in two weeks time!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I haven’t been there yet but it is tempting to ditch plans and just go now.

  10. I’ve never been to Brazil or tasted moqueca, but your photos make me wish I was there right now! Beautiful pics – and love the stories they tell.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Cameron really captured such beauty in this post.

  11. Second post today that makes me want to go back to Brazil. I went there so many years ago — and only to Rio. I must return!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Jealous, it’s on my list of must-see places but that list is getting oh so long.

      Were you there for Carnaval?

  12. Roy | cruisesurfingz says:

    Wow, these photos really captured some emotion. Gorgeous.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Cameron is really quite talented.

  13. dtravelsround says:

    I MUST try this dish!!! I wonder if it exists in Las Vegas! Great pics, too 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Of course, everything exists somewhere in Las Vegas, no?

  14. What a great post with awesome food pics. Yay! Geezz….now I have to go to Brazil.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know, me too. Should we meet up for more beach time?

  15. Bluegreen Kirk says:

    Great photos everyone seems so relaxed and happy with themselves. The colors of the fruits in the first photo is so vibrant. I really wish I was able to make it to Brazil this year maybe next year.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m hoping to get there in 2012 so maybe we’ll cross paths?

    2. You said it Kirk, that’s the best thing about Brazil, they are so relaxed yet express themselves in so many super energetic and colourful cultural activities.

  16. Isabela Eugenio says:

    i’m brazilian and i read your blog everyday (although i never comment). when saw the word ‘moqueca’ in the title i thought you were here and then i saw it was a guest post. let me know when you decide to come (i’m also a couchsurfer). yes, moqueca, brazilian music and soccer are great, but brazil has much more to offer. it’s such a huge country, so it’s a very diversified culture. you should come to my state and taste ‘comida mineira’. it’s great!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Brazil is definitely in my plans for 2012, especially after seeing Cameron’s photos I can’t hold out any longer.

  17. Cherina | Quiet Wanderings says:

    These photographs are just wonderful! Brazil just crept a little higher up my list after seeing these…

  18. Nomadic Samuel says:

    I know this post was about food but it’s the candid portraits that really stood – wonderful captures! Brazil, is a country I’ve yet to visit as well (other than stepping my baby toe in at Iguazu) although it’s certainly high on my list of priorities the next time I’m in South America.

  19. Thanks for all your awesome comments guys! It always means a lot to me when people let me know what they think of my work.

    …by the way I work for the Brazilian tourism board… haha just kidding. Hmmm but maybe they should start commissioning me haha.

    Oh and big thanks to Ayngelina for inviting me to post on her awesome blog!

  20. Yum! Moqueca is my favorite Brazilian dish – I always make sure to have it when I’m there, although it’s never been as good as the first time I had it when it was made by a family friend.

  21. I love the photo of the woman looking out from the shutters and the gorgeous shot of the fruit stand/bar. That is really cool. What a twist, to find the stew with Asian curry similarities! Wow!

    1. Thanks Lisa =D the shot of Maria looking through the shutters is a favourite of mine too.

  22. I just had moqueca at a Brazilian restaurant during my recent visit to Portugal! Not the same, I’m sure, but so damn delicious I’m aching to go back and have some more! I am most definitely looking up the recipe to hold me over until I can eat the real thing in Brazil one day. 😉

    1. Yeh, so good, I’d love another moqueca now! but being in Mongolia I don’t think I’ll come across anyone making them anytime soon!

  23. Morro de São Paulo says:

    You captured the brazilian spirit with your cam! Really great pictures. i know the girl of the “Caipifrutas” personally and her stand is my favourite! Morro de São Paulo is a paradise on earth and the moqueca is crazy finger licking good!

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