Tacacá - Gastro Obscura
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Prepared Foods

Tacacá

This Brazilian soup might make your mouth numb.

During afternoons in northern Brazil, you might find many people flocking to vendors selling bowls of yellow soup. This is tacacá, a healing, nourishing broth that will also turn your lips numb.

The numbing power comes from the jambu, a plant with a centuries-old reputation for healing in the northern Brazilian states of Amazonas and Pará. In addition to jambu, tacacá is composed of tucupi (a broth made with wild manioc), dried shrimp, and peppers. The result is a tangy, spicy, tongue-tingling dish. 

Tacacá vendors, normally women, are known as tacacazeiras and they typically serve their specialty in beautiful gourds or ceramic bowls (sometimes with a small basket to protect diners’ hands from the hot soup). Visitors expecting a spoon would be mistaken: Tacacá is meant to be sipped straight from the bowl.

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