How to Shop at a South American Supermarket
Follow Adina as she explores Seabra Mart, a Central and South American Supermarket in Newark, New Jersey!
Released on 5/15/2017
|Associate Producer:||Tommy Werner|
|Camera Operator:||Kevin Dynia|
You've got your pig's head here.
They always look so friendly.
Very cheerful looking pig.
(upbeat jazz music)
Yes, I know that that pig wasn't actually smiling at me,
but there's no mistaking the genuine welcome
you'll receive at Seabra Mart,
a mini chain of Portuguese
and Central and South American supermarkets
based in the legendary Portuguese stronghold
of Newark, New Jersey.
Exploring its aisles jampacked with a rainbow
of chili pastes, salty fish, and porky delights,
is an occasionally shocking, always enjoyable way
to learn how much there still is to discover
in the remarkably varied cuisines of Peru,
Brazil, El Salvador, and beyond.
So let's get cracking.
It's time to get lost in the supermarket.
I'm standing here next to the assortment
of Easter candy here at Seabra.
I am a little intimidated.
Seabra has an amazing assortment
from a lot of regions that I'm not completely familiar with.
Hopefully I will find some things that I understand
and discover some new things, too.
Easter candy being one of those things.
That pastel Easter egg theme covers a wide assortment.
These kind of look like jelly beans,
but they're actually sugarcoated pine nuts.
So, instead of being mere sugar, it's sugar covered nuts,
which are so much more interesting and delicious.
I'm feeling encouraged.
I'm going to dig a little deeper.
Nice impressive little assortment
in the banana family here.
We've got your green bananas.
Got your green plantains under here.
Papayas all around.
You circle back over here, you got your red bananas.
And (laughs) my personal favorite, the baby banana.
First of all, perfect snacking size.
A little bit more candy like sweetness
than the big brother banana.
So what I especially love about markets
that cater to a specific cuisine,
is that they actually make it easier to cook that cuisine.
Here we've got a helpful bin of shredded collard greens.
Often sauteed with a little bit of coconut oil
and they have it all sliced and ready for you.
The seafood section is pretty remarkable.
You have this amazing frozen section of seafood.
You need your frozen octopus tentacles,
they're right here for you.
We've got an entire octopus encased in a ball and frozen.
Buying it frozen is actually really smart
because freezing it tenderizes it.
These look like little sprats.
Delicious little fishes.
It's ready to thaw, batter, and fry.
These appear to be onion rings,
but I'm gonna go ahead and say
that they're breaded, frozen squid rings.
Also a great place to be if you're a calamari fan.
This is a very essential convenience product.
So, this is easily one of the most special,
amazing parts of Seabra Market.
We have the bacalhau room.
Salted, dried cod, bacalhau, is a great way
to preserve fresh fish.
Also the salting and drying process
concentrates the flavor and makes the texture
kind of denser.
You've got bacalhau in different salt levels,
A few different types of fish, too.
Let's head into to bacalhau chamber.
This is the best one?
And then salted.
[Adina] So, it's been traveling the world
to come here. Yes.
The fact that it's being sold whole and cut to order,
it's going be as fresh as possible.
It is impeccable.
It is pristine.
It is sliced with a chainsaw.
It's white. Yeah.
That looks great.
Yeah, it actually is pretty soft on the inside.
Yes. Not totally dried out.
Thank you. Have a nice day.
Seabra may be home to New Jersey's only church
of salted fish, but the market gives plenty
of reverence to the fresh stuff, too,
with special Mediterranean varieties
often imported straight from Portugal.
This is not a fish filet eating culture.
This is a fish steak eating culture.
Anything that has the bone in and the skin around it
is definitely gonna have more flavor
and be juicier and more delicious.
And then a gorgeous array of fresh fish here.
There is a lot of fearless hacking and cutting
and bandsawing going on here.
I feel while I'm watching this a little scared
for the people who are doing this,
but they're such professionals that obviously
there's nothing to worry about.
Now we're in the butcher shop and they've got
some pretty amazing things here.
Really fresh looking cuts of pork ribs.
Another thing you don't often see, goat cabrito.
It's a young goat, right? Yeah.
I've already committed to an enormous bag
of bacalhau, but I kind of wanna get a whole baby goat, too.
(upbeat jazz music)
An incredible array of cooked sausages.
They make it in house, which is pretty remarkable.
We've got a really beautiful kind of loin like piece here
and then a nice amount of fat.
You can see the marbling of chili spices.
This is a smoked sausage so you can eat it raw.
But also really delicious simmered in stews.
Salpicao version, larger with a lot of really deep flavors.
I can tell already.
Sweet almost raisiny chili flavors.
This is really amazing sausage.
Does anyone else want some sausage?
Really special to be able to taste
the Portuguese version of Prosciutto.
It seems softer than an Italian style Prosciutto.
Hand cut so it's definitely thicker.
A little bit less salty.
I would almost compare it to, like,
a Prosciutto San Daniele.
Just with that really pure,
sweet pork flavor.
And here we have a veritable shrine of sausage.
This looks like a blood sausage.
Some chorizo down here.
This is what's completely blowing my mind right now.
This is salted, raw pork.
It's a great alternative if you want something
a little different than your fresh pork
over at the butcher counter.
Truly crazy assortment of chorizo here.
Peruvian chorizo, Uruguayan, Spanish, Calabrese,
Ecuadorian chorizo, Argentinian chorizo,
Salvadorian chorizo, Mexican chorizo.
It's a world tour of chorizo sausages.
The baby goat carcasses were just the beginning.
Piled alongside the butcher counter
is the mini Costco of meat in massive slabs
with top notch cuts sold for rock bottom prices.
We're in enormous cut of meat section of the supermarket.
This is an entire slab of short ribs on the bone.
You've got your ribeyes here.
Imagine how many ribeye steaks you can get
from this entire slab.
Also a really good idea if you're feeding a crowd.
And the meat section just keeps on going
and getting more and more interesting all the while.
So, now we're getting into some truly beautiful types
of pig parts here.
Pork trip ruffle fat, which sounds very decorative.
You've got nose to tail, literally, right here.
Everything in between, nothing is wasted.
From cow to sheep to goat, the cheese section
at Seabra is dense with delicious flavors.
And those cheeses often come in delightfully large rounds.
Yeah, these are all cheeses that I've just never had before.
I think I should just try this ball of sheep's milk cheese
and just see what happens.
Kind of like a semi-soft cheese.
It almost feels like a kind of sticky mozzarella.
But a lot more flavorful.
It kind of almost tastes like an aged sheep's milk
with the texture of a soft mozzarella.
I bet it melts really nicely, too.
You've got your queso blanco.
This one's wrapped in plantain leaves.
And if you're down for making Pao de Queijo,
that Brazilian cheesy bread,
this is the cheese that you wanna use.
I need that.
The freezer aisle at Seabra is a wonderland,
a visual encyclopedia that showcases
the stunning technicolor variety of produce
grown south of the United States
that usually never crosses our borders.
The freezer aisle here at Seabra
is almost like a second fresh produce aisle.
This is traditional Andean corn on the cob,
so you can see the kernels are, like,
at least three times as big as ordinary corn kernels.
These are whole red peppers.
They look like tomatoes.
They have little recipes on the back.
So you can cook this with mussels and make it
into a spicy sauce, which sounds truly delicious.
Aji amarillo, I've only had it in chili sauces.
The fact that you have it straight like this,
raw and frozen, means that you can make a vat
of your own sauce.
Baked plantains, even though they're frozen solid,
they're smushy and soft because they're so sweet.
It's seaweed salad.
I feel like I've seen this in a Japanese mix.
I never knew that seaweed was a part of Peruvian cooking.
This is just really eye opening to me.
Every door I open unleashes my ignorance
of South American fruit.
I know what a mango is, I know what a papaya is.
I have no idea what that is.
It looks like it might be kind of a guava,
but it looks gorgeously green.
It's like a delicious beverage.
I feel like any of these things blitzed
into any kind of fruit juice or smoothie
would be absolutely unforgettable.
Okay, I think I'm done here.
Seabra might not have a food court,
but it's super concentrated selection
of regional pastries, snacks, cakes, and breads
is all the consolation I need.
First of all, it's warm.
It's thawing my cold hands.
It's also filled with delightfully breaded, fried things.
I'm really intrigued by this crab Risoy.
Just like bacalhau, it's a combination
of dried salt cod and potato.
This looks like a combination of crab and potato.
Definitely a garlicky edge to it.
This food is totally bringing me back to life.
It's more like a chicken teardrop.
There's steam coming off of it.
It almost has, like, a pao de queijo type
glutenous chew on the inside.
A crunchy crust.
This is not just potato.
There's definitely something more interesting going on.
Now, the sweets counter here is just as tempting
as the savory fried foods area,
which is a really huge statement.
This is practically a love letter
to eggy milky custard things.
It's raining sugar as I'm even lifting this.
Now, the cake is nice and eggy.
It tastes like a pretty classic genoise style cake,
so a lot of frothy, egg yolky fluffiness.
This is pretty much like a jelly donut,
only it's filled with milk jam.
It kind of almost looks like a cajeta
or, like, a milky caramel.
It's just all of this ooziness coming out.
There's a pretty potent sweetness.
I feel like I could probably jump up
and hit the ceiling right now.
And, of course, tres leches.
This cake shouldn't be as delicious as it is.
It's completely drenched in liquid,
which is not exactly a typical cake making strategy.
It turns it into this kind of cross
between pudding and cake.
You gotta love a cake that when you press on it,
it releases liquid.
The array of options in Seabra's middle aisles
is just as fascinating as its outer perimeter,
with an array of drinks, spices, condiments,
and beans that puts any overpriced gourmet market to shame.
This is a wall of tropical juices.
We've got Rocha style pears.
My particular favorite is cashew fruit juice.
Do I need to drink this straight from the carton
in the middle of the supermarket?
I guess I do.
Kind of like apricot juice, but not as puree-like.
This aisle is all about the Goya.
You're going to find an amazing assortment
of juices, adobo powder, every kind of bean known to man.
It just keeps going and going.
More regional grains here and legumes.
You've got a whole other section of beans here.
Canary beans, which definitely taste delicious
when braised with a hunk of salt pork.
When you get into places like Peru,
the variety of chilies and the fruitiness
and flavor of those chilies is just remarkable.
And if you aren't always able to get to a supermarket
to get the fresh versions, these chili pastes
are a really good thing to stock in your pantry.
Rocoto pepper, that's that tomato looking pepper.
Aji mirasol, aji amarillo.
It almost looks like mango puree,
but it's just a super fruity chili pepper.
Sweet potato jam.
I mean, this kind of looks like a cousin
I've never even heard of jam being made
from a sweet potato, but I bet you could probably
use it in the same way.
Just slice it up, serve it alongside cheese.
It would be really delicious.
If you're ready to make your pao de queijo,
this is what you need.
Sweet manioc starch, which you mix with your milk,
your eggs, and some of that special cheese
to make your delicious Brazilian cheesey bread.
Here you've got farofa, which is this kind of, like,
crumbly cassava flour that's toasted
and sprinkled onto things almost like bread crumbs
right before you eat them.
It's like a topping.
So this aisle starts out with a pretty typical thing,
olive oil, but none of these labels look familiar to me
and that's because these are all Portuguese olive oils.
The romance and drama of these olive oil containers
just really can't be beat.
Portugal might not be as famous as Spain or Italy
or France for their olive oils,
but they are absolutely delicious,
and this is a great place to get it
without spending too much money.
Over here we get into the spicy, vinegary,
delicious pickled things that are so good
with all of the fried snack treats.
Some really delicious piri piri sauce.
A whole bunch of dried ground chilies here.
We have a vinegar jampacked with tiny little peppers.
I think I'm going to try this chili.
It is so spicy.
I definitely want it with something fried
and porky and fatty because it on its own
is a little overwhelming. (sighs)
Like that shot of chili spiked vinegar,
my visit to Seabra has left me feeling invigorated,
amazed, and ready to eat something crispy and porky.
And it's pretty much inevitable that you'll feel
the same way when you walk through the doors
because the market is a testament to the treasure trove
of food cultures that are often overshadowed
by Mexico and Spain, but are no less delicious.
And if you see someone vaguely familiar
standing underneath the chandelier in the bacalhau room,
chances are it'll be me.
(upbeat jazz music)