The buchada saga

Most Brazilian food is colorful and delicious, like the dishes in my last post.

…but there’s an exception to every rule.

In June 2010, I spent a week with Christian’s family in their small hometown of Senhor do Bonfim. One morning, Christian announced that we were going out to eat, because he wanted me to try buchada, one of the region’s typical foods.

“People come from miles away for the buchada here,” he proudly informed me.

“What’s it made of?” I asked.

Bode (Goat),” he said.

“How’s it prepared?”

“Well… it’s made from the goat’s bucho.”

What the heck is a ‘bucho’? I wondered. On second thought, maybe I’d be better off NOT knowing.

We sat down in a tiny open-air restaurant and Christian ordered two plates of buchada. I looked at our neighboring diners, wondering if any of them had come from miles away. They were all digging in enthusiastically, but I couldn’t get a good look at their plates. I did notice, however, that in between forkfuls of buchada, they’d often pull what looked like black dental floss out of their mouths and set it aside. It was slightly gross.

Our plates arrived full of steaming hot rice, beans, and the famous buchada. It looked like a pouch or dumpling sewn shut with black thread:

That solved the mystery of the “black dental floss,” but it wasn’t exactly appetizing. Made it look like part of Frankenstein’s face.

I cut open a corner of the pouch well away from its stitches and took a bite. The taste didn’t really agree with me, but I chewed and swallowed.

Christian looked at me expectantly. I made a “so-so” gesture with my hand and resolved to try again – after all, first impressions aren’t always accurate.

Well, the second bite didn’t make it all the way down. I spit it out onto the side of my plate.

“I can’t,” I said to Christian.

He shrugged. “Your loss…” – and ordered me a plate of chicken instead.

Later, I found out that buchada is pieces of various internal organs including lung, liver, kidney, tripe, and blood and the pouch is made of the goat’s stomach. This is one Brazilian delicacy that I’m guessing will never take off outside of Brazil!

Any takers?

  • Lori McHugh

    NOT kosher!

  • OK, I’m having a totally pre-teen reaction ‘Barf!” But, I’m torn. I’m also happy the rest of the animal is being wasted. But I’ll leave it to someone else to ‘not waste’ those parts.

  • Hello! I always think that I’m fairly adventurous with food, but I have to agree these do look pretty awful. They actually sound quite similar to the Scottish Haggis so maybe buchada would take off there?

    p.s. I just asked my Carioca wife if she’d ever tried it and she said “No, I’ve never had the guts…” – nice choice of words eh? 🙂

    • Shayna

      Hi Tom!

      I’m thinking it must be an acquired taste that you need to acquire when you’re very young :-p

  • I am reading “A Death in Brazil” by Peter Robb, and he talked about eating buchada. Now I have a visual. And I think I’ll pass.

    • Shayna

      There’s sooooo much other yummy (and better-looking!) Brazilian food… I don’t think we’re missing out on much by taking a pass on buchada!

  • Lori McHugh

    Some foods are just an acquired taste – take gefilte fish, for example. When I tell people that it’s a fish meatball made with chopped pike, whitefish and cod – and that you eat it cold with horseraddish – and it’s in a jelly-like sauce (that looks like nose drippings, to be honest about it), they don’t exactly salivate!

    • Shayna

      I remember Grandpa Sid eating some of the extra sauce by itself after finishing the fish… I can’t do it. I prefer to give my extra sauce to the cat :-p