Within easy walking distance from Pátio do Colégio and the São Bento Metrô stop is São Paulo’s Mercado Municipal (Rua da Cantareira 306, Centro, tel. 11/3228-9332, www.mercadomunicipal.com.br, 6 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun.), known affectionately by Paulistanos as the “Mercadão” (Big Market).
Built in 1932, this vast neoclassical-style food hall featuring stained-glass windows with images of agricultural activities is a major mecca for the city’s restaurateurs and foodies. Each day, over 1,000 tons of fresh produce and delicacies imported from all over Brazil and the world are purchased from its 300 stalls. If you don’t feel like food shopping, simply feasting your eyes, nose, and taste buds on the variety of colors, aromas, and flavors is satisfying.
Should all the goods on display incite hunger pangs, head to the Hocca Bar (Rua G, Box 7), where you’ll have to line up in order to savor the pastéis de bacalhau (deep-fried pastries filled with salted cod) that have been a favorite snack since 1952. Other traditional snacks can be found at the market’s bars and lanchonetes, and at the recently renovated mezzanine, where a handful of restaurants offer a refreshing new slant on the food court concept.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition