Anthony Bourdain in Minas Gerais: Where Tony Ate in Belo Horizonte

If you’re planning to visit Brazil and think you might want to explore beyond the big cities, Minas Gerais is a great option; this Brazilian state has a lot to offer – including great food, of course. Outside of Brazil, the state of Minas Gerais is basically unheard of in the gastronomic scene. But in Brazil, Minas Gerais is where the best chefs come from. It should be no surprise then that Anthony Bourdain spent time in this Brazilian state over the course of his travels.

Anthony Bourdain visited Minas Gerais, Brazil, to film season 8 (episode 7) of Parts Unknown; specifically, he focuses his time in the largest city of Belo Horizonte – which is about half the population of Rio de Janeiro and less than a quarter that of São Paulo. While we can’t call Belo Horizonte “small” at almost 3 million people, it’s certainly not the “biggest” city in Brazil (actually, it’s #4!).

Anthony Bourdain in Minas Gerais Hero

Belo Horizonte is relatively easy to reach from those big cities, so you might want to consider adding it to your own itinerary – and knowing the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Minas Gerais can help. Below is a breakdown of all the restaurants and dishes he tried, to help you plan your trip. Let’s dig in!

Want to watch the episode where Anthony Bourdain visits Minas Gerais?
The Parts Unknown episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV.

Mercado Central de Belo Horizonte

Anthony Bourdain in Belo Horizonte -Pequi

The Mercado Central is the heart of Mines, in the largest city of Belo Horizonte. It’s the place where everybody shops. Bourdain starts out by exploring the halls of this stunning market and tries the pequi, a fruit that’s loved and hated in equal measure. 

Bar da Lora

Anthony Bourdain in Belo Horizonte - Jiló

The next stop in the Mercado is Bar da Lora. Named after its owner, also known as the blond, who is the first woman to run a bar in the Mercado Central. Tony sits here to try the liver with jiló. Jiló is like an eggplant, but it’s green and you need to eat it while it’s still green because if it ripens, it gets so bitter that you can’t eat it. 

Bar do Careca

Anthony Bourdain in Minas Gerais - Feijão Tropeiro

Bar do Careca is a boteco; basically, a boteco is a neighborhood joint found all over Brazil serving beers, cachaça, and a few homemade dishes. Here, Bourdain sits down with Eduardo Maya, a self-taught gastronome and pater familias of the boteco scene, and Luiz Otavio, a beverage tycoon who specializes in the legendary cachaça. 

The Brazilian men get Tony to try ox tongue cooked with basil, mint, and pepper. Next on the menu, feijão tropeiro, beans, manioc flour smoked in cured meats, and if you’re lucky, fresh eggs. 

Zora Culinária Afro-Mineira

Anthony Bourdain in Belo Horizonte - Ora-pro-nóbis

Zora was one of the first black Brazilian models to travel to Europe in the 70s. Today, she prides herself in preparing food in the tradition of enslaved African women, who were, in her views, the matriarchs of Minera cuisine.

At Zora’s restaurant, Tony samples angu, a simple dash made of cornmeal and water or milk cooked for hours. He also tries ora-pro-nóbis, a native green very rich in protein known as the poor’s people meat. 

Birosca

Anthony Bourdain in Minas Gerais - Cupim

Birosca is owned by Bruna Martins, a young woman who cooks the food of her childhood she learned from her grandmother and her nanny. Bruna makes a point of hiring only women, particularly black women who she feels are the central figures of Minera cuisine. 

At Brisoca, Tony tries turkey neck braised with butter and garlic, served in white beans topped with kale and pork belly. He then samples cupim, ox hump pot roast served with mashed potatoes and farofa

Nonô – O Rei do Caldo de Mocotó

Anthony Bourdain in Minas Gerais - Bocotó

Nonô is one of the few places that’s open all night, serving the kind of meal that enlightens night-dwellers everywhere. Tony eats mocotó with a raw quail egg, the ultimate in peasant food; mocotó is slow-cooked cow’s foot and/or other bits – tender and tasty, this is one of Tony’s favorites on the trip.

Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Minas Gerais and more specifically Belo Horizonte? Let me know in the comments below!

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Valerie is a travel writer currently based in Cleveland, but her favorite destinations are Alaska, London, and Jordan – only one of which Bourdain ever visited! You can find her writing on Lonely Planet, Forbes, and her travel blog, Valerie & Valise.

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