If a fish could speak Portuguese or English, I would tell piranhas how famous they are. Maybe they would change their behavior if they were aware of that. Ok, their reputation is mostly based on being the most ferocious and voracious fish of all, inspiring many movie titles and idiomatic expressions. Their face looks devilish! But really, if you’re looking for a fish authentically Brazil, you must know about Piranhas.
Slim and silvery, the piranha has a distinctive forward projected lower jaw and red colored belly, making it instantly recognizable. Their scales shine as bright as glitter and they swim mostly in a school of fish. Their teeth are as pointy and sharp as a knife and according to scientists; it can bite at a speed of 80 frictions per second, hence their ferocious reputation. Piranhas are relatively small fish and vary in size from 8 to 12 inches, and while a piranha can weight up to 3 pounds, it is mostly found in half this size.
Piranha is plump and smooth; it’s snowy flesh tasting faintly oily, somewhere between a lean whitefish and a dark, fatty one. They swim mostly in the rivers of the Amazon and Pantanal regions (located in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul) and are a regular part of the local diet. Catching them is quite easy: anything you throw in the water is the perfect bait to attract the whole school close by.
Despite their reputation, Piranha is hell of a delicious fish and one of Brazilian classic dishes – Caldo de Piranha is made with it.
In the next post I will tell you about a great restaurant specializing in Caldo de Piranha, a specialty from the Pantanal region.