From Brazil, a “quick” summary
First, it’s kind of a meme at this point, but we speak portuguese. Not spanish, like everywhere else in Latin America. Portuguese and spanish are close in nature, but not interchangeable. And our accent is quite different from Portugal.
Speaking of accents, we have a lot of them, in different states and regions, to the point of even brazillians having a hard time while travelling around the country. Think like US states. Our population tends to be mixed, and that influences everything around here.
This brings me to the next point: Brazil is really huge, and culture varies a lot between regions. So, many of the generalizations you see in media and in the internet don’t hold true for the whole country. Many times, they’re specific for a state, or even a subset of a population from a state. The size of the country and these differences are often ignored, even by ourselves.
Food, like everything, varies a lot between regions. One important thing is that we tend to mix and adapt things a lot, to the point it can be argued that the result is a different thing altogether. Pizza is a good example, we put almost anything on it (any kind of meat, fish, fruits, chocolate, etc). Hot dogs are another example: we often put potato (either mashed or shoestring), corn, cheese, various condiments (peppers, mustard, mayonaisse), tomato, lettuce, etc. And it’s delicious. As long as the final result is edible, we will probably try it.
From personal experience (in São Paulo), I recommend the classic “coxinha” (chicken meat, covered in dough and fried), “pastel” (pasta “rectangles”, like lasagna dough, with many options for filling, and fried), “pão de queijo” (cassava flour dough, with cheese, baked on an oven). If you want something heavier, try “feijoada” (beans, pork parts and various spices).
For drinking, “caldo de cana”, a sugarcane extract, is a good option, though not found everywhere. Being sugarcane, it’s as sweet as something can be, but surprinsingly good to drink. Just avoid drinking too much, it raises sugar levels on the blood pretty quickly, which is bad even for healthy individuals.
“Cachaça / Pinga” is a good option if you like alcoholic beverages. Also made from sugarcane, it’s kind of close to vodka, but a bit drier in my opinion, with better flavour. It has many variations, often with fruits, and goes on many cocktails, like the famous “caipirinha” (cachaça, lemon, ice and sugar).
We do love our holidays, and non essentional work tends to be closed (smaller factories, business and banks). Many argue that we have too many of them (often tied to christian religious dates), disrupting work and the economy, but they do generate a lot of money in tourism. For example, Carnaval tends to be as huge as portraied, generating around 2 billion dollars in revenue. In Carnaval, people often go to street parties, bars and other events. The big parades (desfiles) you see in media (in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) are the most visible part, but a fraction of the whole thing. Yes, there’s people who hate it (like any other event), but they do at least appreciate the days off.
Could go on, but don’t want to write a full article. So that’s all, for now.
Edit: and the meme of brazillians being everywhere is kinda true. Any community online (and many even offline), be it big or small, probably have a brazillian in it.