If there is one think we all agree when we try to describe the Brazilians, that thing is that we are very plural. People from different parts of the globe came to this piece of land to try a better life, and São Paulo was – and still is – a popular destination for immigrants coming to Brazil.
The city congregates the biggest Japanese community outside Japan, and lucky us, when the Japanese opened the doors many other Asians came to São Paulo and concentrate around Liberdade area. Today the neighborhood that speaks old school Japanese also speaks Chinese, Korean, Thai and more and supplies our needs for Asiatic goods down here in the other side of the world in South America.
All that Asian touch can be felt on a stroll around the area: bank agencies with their names written in incomprehensible alphabet, local newspaper with most of its news from the “other side”, Japanese gardens, and some gates and lighting that are definitely not influenced by the roots of our land will make you feel for a moment that you are not in Brazilian territory.
Sushi has popped all over the country in the past two decades and became one of Brazil’s favorite treat. Temaki rolls evolved to such a diversity of different fillings that their original creators would – would they? – be proud. But on Liberdade you can get the real thing, made by hands of real immigrants and their families for ages. Those are the places we recommend for you to visit when you are in the area, and that we can happily include on our list of the best eats FROM São Paulo, made with love from people whose families came here to stay.
While this street offers some good picks when we are looking for tasty sushis, Ban’s chef stands out for being part of the revolution that leaded Brazilians to eat raw fish. The 65 years old Japanese chef is been serving for ages his fellow compatriots and locals, and the food can tell the history.
Traditional Lamen house serving the noodles fast, correct, and extremely tasty at their beautiful restaurant. Be ready to stand in a line before getting inside – it’s a blast among paulistanos.
If you fancy sake, it’s behind that small door that the owner Margarida offers probably the largest variety of sakes in town, and some sochu for the brave. On the food menu, hot Japanese dishes, but don’t miss the Takoyaki, a octopus fried pancake to die for.
We haven’t been to japan, but we think this place is only possible here on the streets of São Paulo. A mix of a Japanese izakaya and a Brazilian boteco, both temples of heavy drinks on their own land. Order from the showcase of “tapas” and be ready for a long night of feast with the communicative clientele.
Best two Chinese restaurants in Liberdade. Come with a group because the dishes are enormous and you can have a better taste of their menu. At Rong He you will find a live demonstration on how they make their noodles, long waiting lines, and cheaper prices. Chi Fu is a bit more expensive, but the big round tables where you can pick from the veeeery extensive menu will sure make it worth it.
Eat eat drink drink and come to see this beauty with your own eyes. Nope, it’s not an acid trip, it’s real and you can pick a song and sing your joy out at the Karaoke.
Liberdade is the place in Brazil to find your Asia, but Asia breaks the borders of Liberdade and also offers some good spots spread in the city. Aclimação has some tradicional Asian supermarkets and restaurants acting locally, Bom Retiro is the area where the Korean community congregates and its influence on food is growing fast all over São Paulo, with restaurants popping to other areas, such as the hyped Komah. Thai food is being well represented at Obá Mamuang Thai House and Pinheiros gathers a nice bunch of good Asian food. Go and check Tan Tan, Izakaya Matsu and Kar Wua out for some great food in our zone.
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