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Tacacá is a typical dish from the Brazilian Amazon region, made from tucupi (yellow broth extracted from wild cassava), and tapioca gum, also extracted from cassava.


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Last update: 17/03/2022

By: Maria do Carmo Gomes de Andrade - Librarian of the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation - Specialist in Librarianship

Tacacá is a typical dish from the Brazilian Amazon region, made from tucupi (yellow broth extracted from wild cassava), and tapioca gum, also extracted from cassava. It is most commonly found in the states of Acre, Pará, Rondônia and Amapá. According to researcher and writer Luis da Câmara Cascudo this food is derived from a kind of soup called mani poi that was part of the eating habits of the Indigenous people from Pará

In general, people from Amazonas do not consume tacacá as their main meal. It is tasted as a kind of appetizer, in the late afternoon, in the traditional tacacazeiras. The tacacá sellers, called tacacazeiras, are typical figures on the streets of several Amazonian cities and have already been immortalized by several artists such as Antonieta Santos Feio, from Pará, in a 1937 work that is part of the collection of the Belém Museum of Art. The tacacá has also been sung in verse and prose as in the song Tacacá by Luiz Gonzaga. The tacacazeiras usually have a fixed point of sale that remains for decades, being passed on from generation to generation and known by the entire parish.

One of the main characteristics of tacacá is that it is served very hot in gourd shells that are taken directly to the mouth and sipped in small amounts, using a wooden stick to eat the shrimp or jambu (a typical herb from the North of Brazil, also known as watercress from Pará). However, regardless of the weather and temperature, tacacá is always taken hot at any time of the day. As a result of this characteristic, from the 1990s onwards, in order to take the tacacá more comfortably, a support (straw basket) was included at the base of the gourd shell. 

The basic ingredients of the tacacá recipe are: tucupi, tapioca gum, salted dried shrimp, jambu, chicory, salt, garlic, and hot pepper. The preparation of tacacá involves first obtaining the tucupi, which takes a lengthy artisanal process, then the starch, then the tucupi begins to be cooked, properly seasoned with chicory, salt, garlic and hot pepper.

Respecting possible variations in the preparation and presentation of the tacacá, the following recipe can be suggested: from the ready-made broth (tucupi), the tacacá is assembled to be served. In a gourd shell, place a portion of the tucupi and then add the tapioca gum; next, add the branches of the jambu and then the dried shrimp. Finally, more tucupi is added to complete the gourd shell.

Luís Gonzaga

Lembrar o açaí, o tacacá,
que saudade que dá
de Belém do Pará! Quem vai a Belém do Pará,
desde a hora em que sai
não se esquece de lá,
quer voltar.

Orar na Matriz de Belém,
conversar com alguém,
como é bom recordar!

Jesus em Belém foi nascer,
eu quisera morrer
em Belém do Pará.

Tá aqui tucupi,
tem mais o jambu,
também camarão.
Quem quer tacacá? 


[Who goes to Belém do Pará,

from the time you leave

don't forget there

wants to go back.


Remembering the tacacá, and açaí

makes you miss

Belém do Pará!


Praying in the Mother Church of Belém,

talking to somebody,

how nice it is remembering!


Jesus was born in Bethlehem,

I’d like to die

in Belém do Pará.


Here’s the tucupi,

plus jambu,

and also shrimp.

Who wants tacacá?]



Recife, December 3, 2012.

sources consulted

CASCUDO, Luís Câmara. Historia da alimentação no Brasil. São Paulo: Global, 2004.

CULINÁRIA amazônica: o sabor da natureza. Rio de Janeiro: SENAC Nacional, 2000.

ORICO, Osvaldo. Cozinha amazônica: uma autobiografia do paladar. Belém: Universidade Federal do Pará, 1972.

OLIVIER Anquier prefere tacacá. [S. l: s. n.], 2007. 1 vídeo (10 min). Publicado pelo canal Heider Torres. Available at: Accessed: 3 dez. 2012.

TACACÁ. [Foto neste texto]. Available at: Accessed: 7 dez. 2012.

how to quote this text

ANDRADE, Maria do Carmo. Tacacá. In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2012. Available at: Accessed on: mês dia ano. (Ex.: ago. 6 2009.)