In recent posts, the traditional sale of acarajé on street corners and squares throughout Bahia has been discussed. In the most recent post on this subject, the close connection between acarajé and the Afro-Brazilian religion of candomblé was highlighted. However, not all acarajés are sold in this traditional manner, and this signature dish of Bahian cuisine shows up on restaurant menus everywhere in Brazil, from small hole-in-the-wall lunch spots, to white tablecloth fine dining establishments.
In more upscale restaurants, the traditional acarajé is more likely to be modified or altered; in the more traditional ones, it is likely to be served exactly as it is outside on the streets. Last night, I dined here in Fortaleza with some friends in a Bahian-style restaurant called Cabana da Negona. The name of this restaurant is particularly hard to translate into English. It literally means The Hut of the Large Black Woman. But negona, and similar Portuguese words derived from "negro" such as neguinho and negão, are familiar and affectionate and are even used in Brazil to refer to persons who are not black. So, you might say a better translation for the name of this restaurant is "Big Mamma's Hut."