The acarajé, the main attraction on any tray held by the streets vendors in Bahia (Brazil) is a small cake characteristic of the Candomblé religion. The word acarajé is a very funny mistake. Its real name is "acará". When they say in yoruba: "acará -je" it means: "I have acará", and that is what the women who sell it shout. These women belong to the Yoruba ethnical group.
Acarajé belongs to the cult of Iansá. Iansá is the Lady of the Winds and the flash of lightning. It represents freedom in the figure of the wind. It corresponds to Saint Barbara in the Catholic Religion. She carries a scimitar, her colors are red combined with white and her ritual greeting is EPAHEI!
Acarajé is made and sold by women in Bahia and has been declared "heritage culture" of this region of Brazil. And the ceremony of certification of the craft, held on August 15, 2005, at the headquarters of the National Institute of Artistic and Historic Heritage (Iphan), in Salvador, was of great importance for these women and for the city of Bahia of Saint Salvador as well. During the ceremony, women were very proud, with their trays and bringing a lot of acarajé.
The acarajés are small cakes, made of black-eyed peas, seasoned with ground dried shrimp and onions, are shaped into balls and deep fried in palm oil, then split and filled with a spicy shrimp and onion filling. Though with dried shrimp are traditional, they have an extremely strong flavor.
Even though you can buy it and eat it any time by the streets of Bahia, Acarajé originally came from Western Africa, and is still sold on the streets of Nigeria and Ghana. But it turned out to be the most typical food in Salvador, where it can be bought in the streets.
Acarajes are part of the so many interesting things that you have to see and taste in the City of Salvador, which you should not omit on your next trip!