World Cup 2014: How to be a Brazilian

What to drink, how to dress and above all, what to shout at the ref: Brazilian Luiza Sauma gives the lowdown on how to pass as a native

Cool drinks


The nation's second favourite cocktail, after the caipirinha, is a fruity alcoholic smoothie – batida means "shaken". Whizz together cachaça (or vodka), condensed milk, ice and the fruit of your choice (often coconut or passionfruit).


Brazilian draught lager, chopp, is pale, mild and ice-cold – popular brands include Antarctica, Brahma and Skol. Since you're 6,000 miles from your nearest chopp bar, buy it bottled and put your glass in the freezer for the same super-chilled effect.

Coconut water

You can buy fresh green coconuts on any beach in Brazil, and drink the sweet juice with a straw. But in Bognor Regis and points north, pre-packaged Vita Coco is your next-best choice.

Book smarts

'Diary of the Fall' by Michel Laub

Laub is one of the most acclaimed authors in Brazil. His remarkable novel Diary of the Fall (Diário da Queda) follows three generations of a Jewish-Brazilian family.

'The Passion According to G.H.' by Clarice Lispector

Avant-garde author Lispector died in 1977, but is more popular than ever. According to one of her translators, she "looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf". In The Passion According to G.H. (A Paixão Segundo G.H.), a woman suffers a spiritual crisis after killing a cockroach.

'Ansiedade' by Augusto Cury

Not all Brazilians are carefree party animals. The self-help book Ansiedade ("Anxiety") is currently selling like hot pães de queijo. (But sadly it isn't available in English.)


Not-just-samba soundtrack

'Beijinho no Ombro' by Valesca Popozuda

Valesca Popozuda ("Big-arsed Valesca") is the quintessential funk-carioca star: tanned, sexy and silicone-enhanced. Her mega-catchy single "Beijinho no Ombro" ("Kisses on the Shoulder") has racked up 28m hits on YouTube; the video features powerful thighs, bondage costumes and aggressive dancing – Brazilian pop culture in a nutshell.

'Não Existe Amor em SP' by Criolo

São Paulo rapper and singer Criolo fuses hip-hop, samba, soul and MPB (Musica Popúlar Brasileira) into something fresh and new. Tropicália legend Caetano Veloso is a fan, which is a bit like getting the seal of approval from Bob Dylan.

'Maná' by Rodrigo Amarante

Amarante is a former member of rock group Los Hermanos, samba band Orquestra Imperial and supergroup Little Joy (with the Strokes' Fabrizio Moretti). Now, he's doing his own thing as a psych-folk solo act. "Maná" has a lovely Tropicália feel.

Beachwear and behaviour

Leave your towel at home

Only gringos (foreigners) use towels at the beach – take a canga (sarong) instead. And for the love of Guanabara, don't get changed on the beach. You're trying to recreate Ilha Grande, not the Isle of Wight.

Bare your body

For women: the standard-issue minuscule bikini. Men: make the most of your bronzed, Adonis-like body by wearing tiny, tight hotpants – aka a sunga. In Ipanema it's perfectly acceptable to walk home wearing just your sunga or bikini. Give it a try next time you visit your local pool.

Beach games

Keep in shape with frescobol (beach tennis), futevôlei (football meets volleyball in hell), jacaré (bodysurfing) or simply jogging on the sand barefoot.

'Salgadinhos' or snacks

Pão de queijo

Cheesy manioc bread-balls: crispy on the outside, chewy and warm on the inside. Top tip: plenty of UK cornershops (and, ahem, Ocado) now sell ready-made mixes.


Few things in life are more heart-warming – or heart-attacking – than a plate of deep-fried pastéis (pastries). They come filled with cheese, beef, chicken or prawns.

Biscoito Globo

These doughnut-shaped beach snacks are a Rio de Janeiro icon. They come in two flavours – salty or sweet – but are basically flavourless; it's all about the crunch.

Useful phrases

'Puta que pariu!'

Rough translation: "Goddamn it!" Literal translation: "Prostitute who gave birth!" One of the rudest phrases in Portuguese, so use it wisely (ie all the time).

'Passa a porra da bola!'

Rough translation: "Pass the bloody ball!" Literal translation: "Pass the sperm of a ball!"

'Ei juiz, cadê o pênalti?'

"Hey ref, where's the penalty?" Use this when one of your players is writhing around in the penalty area, clutching his leg in faux-agony.