When you are sitting at any of the traditional botequims (bars like Clipper) enjoying some yummy petiscos (snacks) and reach for a napkin you will notice that it feels a bit ‘off’, like maybe you are at the end of the dispenser. You might even grab a few of these ‘napkins’ thinking it’s you- it’s not. You aren’t going crazy, the napkins are actually made of wax paper (think what you use for cooling warm cookies on) and are about the size of a square of toilet paper (so no matter what you need it for, you will have to take a handful).
Unlike normal napkins, you cannot rely on these to soak up a mess (especially if you spill something), or even clean your face (you will just be spreading it all over). I am give you the ‘heads up’ so you are not surprised when after using them you have created a larger mess than you started with. I did some digging as to why these were the napkins being used at places where you get all greasy and need a real napkin the most. Here is what I found:
1) It’s hot and humid so regular napkins absorb moisture over time and get soggy
2) Regular napkins are more expensive and generally it’s the more expensive places that use them (ie unless you are eating at a high-end restaurant don’t expect a real napkin)
3) Brazilians don’t complain enough to actually change things (‘se deus quiser’ attitude– this (unfortunately) is with a lot of things)
You’ve been warned