What do the Ribeirinhos eat?

cashew fruit and nut


Other than rice, beans and fish, the Amazon natives also eat various vegetables, seeds and other fruits they come across in the forest.

Their diet revolves mainly around fishing, hunting, and family agriculture. It might seem repetitive, but a lot of their diet varies depending on the season – mangos only ripe at a specific time during the year, and this event is seen as a party, because they’re very sweet and juicy.

Additionally, there are other kinds of fruit that only ripe at certain times, like maracuja, cupuaçu and Brazil nuts.

Rice, beans, coffee, sugar, cassava, and other such foods are their main diet for the whole year because they can be stored for a long time in bags or containers, whereas fresh foods such as fish, meat, or seasonal fruit need to be eaten immediately. There are many techniques to preserve this fresh meat and fish longer, such as drying them out in the sun or salting them. Yet there is not always enough sun to dry them, since it must not rain for a couple of days, nor enough salt for the entirety of the meat. Because of this, it is usually necessary to go hunting or fishing each day that they want these foods. It’s also not easy to store any leftover meat or seasonal fruit, since ants can easily find them!

They then make gardens to grow spices such as chives or chili, usually using an old canoe suspended over the water or land. 

Fish and meat are always served with cassava flour, a great food for those who need fast energy for their activities. Cassava flour is made from the manioca root, which is grown together with bananas, papayas, and pineapples.

Lastly, river piranhas (yes piranhas!) are very good to eat. When grilled, their meat is tender and tasty!


school children have a meal at xixuau
boy with cucpuaçu fruit in Xixuau

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