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It’s Saturday morning, whether you caroused about Beijing, merrily mixing the wrong drinks (or the right ones) and danced your way into appealing antics (or unappealing ones), you might roll out of bed seeking the comfort of brunch with perhaps a hair-of-the-dog self-treat. For such afternoons, some might opt for a menudo, pho, or congee, but make sincere amends, throw on your shades, and coddle your hangover with a Brazilian feijoada atAlameda. It’s available only on Saturdays at the contemporary Brazilian restaurant — yours for 148rmb.
There’s reason to believe feijoada is a substantial cure to the late-night socialite’s demise given it’s historical provenance in South America during colonial times. Feijao means beans. Taking sausage from the Portuguese and the farofa (toasted manioc flour) from indigenous peoples, African slaves stirred up a stew of black beans, pork and beef into a hearty sustenance for hard labor. Unless you are the hot-dog-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, arrive at Alameda ravenous.
At first, a prettied plate of fixings arrives — a saucer each of salsa and chopped bacon to mix into a demitasse of bean soup, a crisp dumpling, and a shot of cachaça. It’s a primer of sorts — a mini-me of what is next! Just when you’ve made the mistake of filling up on the hot, first-batch of the day cheese breads and the feijoada prelude, a procession of plates arrives.
A personal-sized pot of black beans richly stewed with sausage slices, pork parts, and braised beef looks filling enough, and is accompanied by a bowl of white rice, chopped spring greens sautéed with minced garlic, torresmos (sinfully-fried pork cracklins) and ribs atop a bed of savory, airy cassava dust that disappears with every bite, chopped salsa, a very spicy bean sauce, and orange supremes.
This gluttonous feast is lightened by a passion fruit caipirinha (38rmb), adding to Saturday’s excess.
Scoop spoonfuls of each onto your plate, at will — first some rice, top it with beans, spice it up, add some veggies, nibble on the torresmos, sip some caipirinha… savor, swallow, and repeat until you whine your over-indulgence to wait staff who’ve all heard it countless Saturdays before. It’s a feast, a weekend treat, a happy return from a torturous master cleanse, or the last supper before hibernating for the rest of the weekend with a stack of DVD’s.
It’s a meal of culture and satisfaction; not just an extension of Beijing revelry. It’s a good thing preparing feijoada is so labor-intensive, hence its occasional availability. Go hard on a Friday night or plan an evening of intensive exercise, then surrender your Saturday to the formidable feijoada.
Alameda’s feijoada is available only on Saturdays during restaurant operation hours. Yep, only on Saturdays, 12pm-4:30pm. Reservations recommended. It’s 148rmb all in, with drinks extra.
Photos by Shanti Christensen