© istock/ BrasilNut1
© istock/ BrasilNut1

A stroll in Mercado Central, Belo Horizonte

2 minutes to read

Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, is not just a "beautiful horizon" as its name suggests. As we already mentioned before, this city is full of touristic spots, which are ideal for family day strolls and for those who hunger to discover culture and nature. But that is not all - Belo Horizonte is the perfect place to find good food and good drinks. Ok, let's focus on the food for now, shall we? 

One of the most famous spots for food lovers is the Mercado Central. This is basically a huge market located in the city center, near Praça Raul Soares, where you can find lots of crafts and souvenirs and (almost) everything related to "cozinha mineira." The traditional cuisine from Minas Gerais is very famous all over Brazil, for its diversity of flavors and combinations, and the fact that it can be extraordinarily tasty both in its salty and sweet variation. 

Mercado Central de BH

Mercado Central was created in 1929 when the mayor of the small city of Belo Horizonte (or just BH) decided to gather all the products to supply the 47 thousand inhabitants in one place. The street market only turned into a covered shed in 1964, when all the merchants bought the site from the city hall and set up a cooperative to strengthen the activities in that famous commercial spot. 

During these 90 years, Mercado Central has grown so much that nowadays has more than 400 stores, and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world. It spreads the diversity of culture and food that one will only see in Minas Gerais.

© istock/ BrasilNut1
© istock/ BrasilNut1

But what precisely will you find on your stroll at Mercado Central? Herbs and plants, religious products, vegetables and seasonings, butcheries, fruits, candy shops, dairies, bars, restaurants, and so many different things that are even hard to tell. And the best question: who will you find in there? Friendly merchants, totally open to talking to tourists and ready to show the beauties of their products' origins. Even if you do not buy anything, just talking to these people will make your visit unforgettable, trust me!

A local's recommendation

My recommendation: Do not miss the opportunity to try the famous “doce de leite”, a sweet creamy milk that can be eaten on a spoon or even spread over a generous slice of cheese- as a good “mineiro” would do! The guava candy (or "goiabada", as Brazilians say) can be eaten the same way. Just make sure you eat it with a good “queijo canastra” or a “queijo verde”- both kinds of cheese are very typical in this region and exotic to Europeans.

© istock/ribeirorocha
© istock/ribeirorocha

On the bars and restaurants, you can order different snacks, but the one you cannot miss is “pastel,” a fried dough filled with various kinds of meat (ham, beef, pork, chicken) and other ingredients, such as cheese. Would you like to drink something sweet while you enjoy your salty meal? Ask for a “caldo de cana,” the liquid extracted from sugarcane- it is very refreshing! Just keep in mind that it is very sweet, so be prepared!

If you do not fall in love with “cozinha mineira” after visiting Mercado Central, don't worry! There will be more opportunities to do so– and I will reveal most of them in my next stories. 


The author

Romara Chaves

Romara Chaves

I am a content creator who is also passionate about arts and travelling. I was born in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, but I also spent a lot of time with my family in Espírito Santo. On Itinari, I will show you how beautiful these both states are!

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