The Saara neighborhood is one of our favorite areas in Rio. It is a great place to shop for anything under the sun, people watch, and get a bite to eat on a sunny afternoon. The name “Saara” is rumored to derive from the word “Sahara,” an explanation that has entered into the public lore of Rio. Nowadays, the area is mostly given over to selling clothes, home goods, party/Carnaval supplies and any kind of bric-a-brac you would ever want (there is an entire store dedicated to Tupperware, for example). However, there are a few places in Saara that do specialize in Middle Eastern spices and foods. Our favorite, Casas Pedro, has several branches are sprinkled throughout Rio, including 3 in the Saara. You can get nearly any spice you could imagine at Casas Pedro, several kinds of cinnamon, tumeric, coriander, cumin, along with nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips and other oddities (even baking soda) sold by weight. You can also find “Pao Sirio” a kind of flatbread popular in Brazil, tahini paste, honey and other Middle Eastern packaged goods. If you are feeling hungry, a counter sells meat and cheese esfihas to go.