A day among fish, fruits, vegetables, herbs, seasonings and the world of exotic flavors of Ver-o-Peso Market in Belém.
Located on the banks on the Guarajá river, Ver-o-Peso is the largest street market in Latin America. It supplies Belém and its surroundings with fish, fruits and vegetables which are always fresh, in addition to various other products.
Founded in 1625, as a Portuguese custom house (hence the name — “Check the Weight”), it was transformed into a market in 1901. Since then, it became not only an important trading point, but also a must-see tourist spot of Belém, located near the Amazon Forest.
A tour of the tastes of Belém
The day at the Ver-o-Peso Market starts early. At 3:30 in the morning, fishermen are already unloading their goods: dourados, peacock basses, pirarucus, traíras and other fish that may be found in the Amazonian fresh waters. If you want to buy fish, then it is ideal to arrive early, to choose the freshest. At 6:00 in the morning, the tents begin to work.
But the market offers more than just fish. There, you can find various flours, exotic fruits, vegetables, cachaças (distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice), crafts, mixed herbs and many spices that are not found in other places, originated from the countryside of Pará. The diversity and richness are great and have already attracted famous chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Alex Atala. The former learned how to prepare an authentic maniçoba, a kind of feijoada (stew of beans with beef and pork) made with cassava leaves, cooked for seven days; the latter uses various ingredients from Pará on his trendy restaurant in São Paulo.
After walking around the entire market, it’s time for a break, which becomes even better in one of the many food stalls. They prepare fresh local delicacies like fried fish with açaí berries, pato no tucupi (duck in tucupi sauce, extracted from wild manioc root) and tacacá (soup made with jambu, which is how Acmella oleracea is called in Brazil, and tucupi), which you can taste while relishing the view of the Bay of Guajará.
Are you done touring around the market? So stop by Estação das Docas, which is nearby, to have some delicious ice cream made with fruits from the region or to buy souvenirs of Belém. From the docks, various boat trips to nearby islands also depart. If you have time, do not hesitate, it is very worthwhile!
At the end of the day, go to Basílica de Nazaré, one of the main symbols of the city. Built in 1909, at the location where the statue of Nossa Senhora de Nazaré used to stand, it is a neoclassical style building and the final destination of one of the most important Brazilian religious cults, the Círio de Nazaré feast, which takes place on the second Sunday of October and attracts millions of people to Belém.
If there’s time and some hunger left, try tacacá, a typical traditional dish, during the late afternoon. Served on the streets, it is an explosion of unique flavors, which will leave those who taste it hungry for more.