My friend, let’s call her M, is in Manaus, Brazil, for a while. Manaus is quite literally the city in and of the Amazon, right in the middle of it all. And it is a port city. To a South African who thinks that a trickle of water constitutes a river, this is truly mind-blowing.

It is also where the Rio Negro meets the Solimões, the upper Amazon, to form the mighty stretch of Amazon flowing to the coast. Just look at it:

Amazing geography aside, M is struggling to find low-carb friendly food. She reports that she is in sugarcane and soy country, so there is sugar in almost everything. Manaus seems to get most of its produce shipped in, so fresh produce is lacking (at least in the shops and market accessible to her).

According to M, cashews and peanuts abound in Manaus, but these are sadly the wrong kind of nuts.

If anyone has a friend-of-a-friend who can recommend a good butcher or local market selling whole foods and good meat without additives, please leave a comment or get in touch!

She has managed to find a great local cheese: queijo coalho, which is a squeaky cheese which she says is almost feta-like when cold, but morphs into a stringy mozarella-type of texture when heated up.


Queijo coalho, firm and crumbly.

Melt it!

M’s queijo coalho turning mozarella-like when heated. Looks delicious!

M also sent photos of her current go-to meal. She cuts slices of Linguisa sausage (although she is not quite sure what is in that) and the queijo coalho that she really likes. She adds some green pepper and mustard.

M's Manaus magic.

M’s Manaus magic.

Looks grand! M is very creative with food and my mouth often waters when she tells me what she made for dinner. She just told me about some pork chops that she soaked in rooibos (a South Africa tea) and then fried in the rooibos sticks. This sounds amazing and I never would have thought of this in a thousand years!

But… M is not in South Africa at the moment and would love a little help in finding friendly Manaus foods.