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A bright yellow boteco on a corner in Lapa shines in the spring sunshine, as it has done for the past 49 years. The regulars drink beers in the shade outside, while a solo diner tucks into frango à passarinho (deep fried chicken pieces, R$26.90) with her companion – a Yorkshire terrier in a fetching bow – sitting on her lap, licking its lips. In spite of its annual ‘best boteco’ awards, Valadares has kept its local charms; from the faithful clientele to the walls adorned with framed football shirts that cross the ages and divides, from Deco to Rivelino.
The menu is an unconventional nibbles nirvana. The thought of a bread-crumbed bullfrog, rã touro à milanesa (R$12), might not leave you salivating, but it has plenty of delicious light, white meat. Cock’s testicles (testículos de galo) weren’t available, sadly, when we visited, but bull’s balls (testículos de boi) in garlic (R$26.90) are apparently a firm favourite. Try a portion of tradição do Valadares, half super-salty torresmo (pork scratchings) and half batata na serragem (seasoned potatoes) sprinkled with manioc flour, garlic and chilli.