Part One: Brazilian Pastels in Kyoto
About two weeks ago, I went on a week-long trip around the Kansai region. My traveling companion and I went to Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Hikone. One of the best parts of the trip, other than the company and experiencing urban Kansai, was the food. I have a wonderful friend in Kyoto who recommended all of these places to me.
While the food in the inaka is very fresh, we lack a lot of “ethnic” food restaurants, probably because there are fewer foreign residents here than in the cities. To be fair, my town has a lot of Japanese-style Chinese restaurants, at least one Korean restaurant, and one nice fusion bakery. When my friend mentioned to us that there was Brazilian food to be had in Kyoto, I was very excited to try something that I can’t get in my small town and I rarely get to eat in the US.
Pastel do Brazil
A pastel is a pastry filled with various fillings and fried to crispy pastry perfection. If you’re familiar with my cooking style and food tastes, you know that I don’t often eat fried foods and never make them at home (partially for health reasons, partially for clean-up reasons). Pastels are fried, but at Pastel do Brasil, they aren’t greasy at all. We watched the owner roll out the dough with a hand-cranked machine before he filled up the pastels and fried them. Fillings include palm hearts, cheese, chicken, minced meats, etc.
The atmosphere is low-key, with Brazilian shows on the TV, and a few tables and seats at the bar. The menu is in Portuguese and simple Japanese. (I know more Japanese than Portuguese, even with some of the similarities with Spanish in food names, so I was glad to have both.)
The cheese-and-palm heart pastel is to die for—I wanted to buy out the store and take them AND the chef home with me to the inaka. Sadly, the store is not open late on the weekend, so we weren’t able to return. However, I plan on making this a necessary stop on my future travels to Kyoto.
600-800 yen for a regular-sized pastel (a whole meal in itself). Mini-pastels and a variety of other Brazilian fare are also available.
Between Kiyamamachi and Kawaramachi near the Sanjou-keihan station – look for the large Brazilian flag on the side of the building.