While we are in Salvador partaking in the city’s extensive acarajé offerings, visitors to Salvador for next year’s FIFA World Cup (possibly us!) will not have such an opportunity. For a series of complex reasons outlined by Jamie Anderson on her blog about life and culture in Salvador, the sale of acarajé will be banned within two kilometers of the refurbished Estadio Fonte Nova, the site of all the World Cup games here. Instead, McDonald’s – a major World Cup sponsor – will have full rights to all food distribution. As such, Bahia’s main street food – a major source of income for locals, and an integral part of the experience of Salvador – will be banned in favor of an American fast food establishment. Coca Cola’s recent billboard in support of baianas and acarajé (seen below) is a great commentary on the issue: Coca Cola claims it is working to “preserve this culture,” but what does it mean that a large corporate entity is working to preserve a culture of Afro-Brazilian street food? We’d like to think that acarajé is doing well otherwise, and will do even better if allowed to continue on its own terms.
Needless to say, we at ETW do not support the move, and you can do the same: sign the petition at Change.org in support of baianas’ right to sell acarajé during the World Cup.