When traveling, we look at everything with fresh eyes. What used to be mundane and commonplace back home can suddenly become part of an exciting adventure when on the move!
Take food, for instance; a regular snack from your local takeaway cafe would suffice in satisfying hunger. But once you travel to a different place, it may even turn into a tourist attraction that could warrant entire tours being dedicated to exploring its flavors!
In Argentina, there are many such ‘gastronomic’ tour opportunities available – ranging from each province separately. Surprisingly enough, though, the cuisines of these regions do not mix with one another. Yet, they have something in common – Argentine meat!
The amazing fusion of flavors constitutes Argentinean cuisine, almost like religion and football rolled into one.
Traditional foods here are definitely worth trying out so as experience this unique blend firsthand.
Asado is a traditional meat dish consisting primarily of beef. It also includes pork, chicken, and vegetables cooked over an open fire or grill. And sometimes you can eat Asado even with the meat of llamas and caimans!
This delicacy is not just about eating; it is about savoring every bite slowly while sipping red wine and talking with friends. Argentines even refer to this mealtime ritual as more than just food. Even at the World Cup, the Argentine national team brought almost a ton of meat for Asado because this is a favorite food that helps build team spirits.
When cooking Asado, no marinades or seasonings are used aside from coarse salt added toward the end. The finished product usually includes sauces such as ketchup or Chimichurri sauce for dipping. It has become so popular that nearly all modern homes (except for some older ones) feature areas equipped with grills where Asado can be prepared – often found on rooftops or balconies within common areas throughout households of Buenos Aires.
You should also learn about “Parrilla.” This word refers not only to these grills but also to restaurants that serve delicious grilled steaks alongside other succulent meats like tenderloin ribs and sausages – even entrails known here as “guts” and bull testicles!
Best parrillas (steakhouses) in Buenos Aires
What people say on Google: 4.5 stars, 12k+ reviews
The recipe for Chimichurri sauce was introduced to Argentina by the Basque people several centuries ago. It is a relatively simple and quick preparation.
However, its composition may vary depending on what ingredients are available at home. The basic components of this sauce include:
Oregano with garlic and pepper is finely chopped and added to the oil with vinegar. You can also put lemon, other herbs, and onion, whatever you come up with.
The most delicious sauce is freshly prepared and served in Parrilla. You can also buy a ready-made Chimichurri in the store as a souvenir.
Delicious Argentine pies, or empanadas, are a very popular street food in Argentina and are sold everywhere.
Empanadas often come with thin dough and various toppings. Fried empanadas are the most common type of pie that you can find there; however, some may opt for the baked version instead. To me, fried tastes better.
Meat is usually one of the most sought-after fillings among locals who purchase them to take home for dinner or serve up at parties as an appetizer.
Though meat is a pretty popular filling, other options, such as cheese with basil, make excellent alternatives if you do not particularly enjoy eating lots of meat. I am still not good at eating as much meat as the Argentines, so my favorite topping is basil cheese.
In addition to a wide selection of fillings available for their empanadas, each Argentine province has its own unique recipe – Patagonia serves hare and shrimp. At the same time, La Rioja offers olives, and Tucuman features vegetables!
If you want to make empanadas at home, then ready-made dough can easily be found at grocery stores which is quite helpful! Just add your favorite filling before pinching the edges together using a fork and send them off into the pan or oven – deliciousness awaits!
Best places to try empanadas in Buenos Aires
What people say on Google: 4.5 stars, 80k+ reviews!
Choripán is an Argentinean sandwich that has become a popular street food and often serves as an appetizer while the classic barbeque, or ‘asado,’ is being prepared.
Generally, Choripán is a baguette cut lengthwise and lightly fried before grilled chorizo sausage is added inside. Chimichurri sauce typically accompanies this dish; its combination of juicy sausage with the aroma of campfire smoke and fresh herbs makes it hard to resist!
Best places to try Choripán in Buenos Aires
What people say on Google: 4.4 stars, 416 reviews
Bolívar 954 local 42, C1091 AAT, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Milanesa, an Italian dish renowned around the world, has become particularly popular in Argentina.
Argentine Milanesa is a traditional dish consisting of a thin, breaded, and fried cutlet made from beef, chicken, or veal. It is often accompanied by french fries, mashed potatoes, or salad.
The excellence of Argentine Milanesa comes from the exceptional quality of meat and the remarkable culinary skills of the Argentine people. Milanesa is a symbol of their country, just like the famous Asado.
Best places to try Milanesa in Buenos Aires
El Preferido De Palermo
What people say on Google: 4.3 stars, 5,105 reviews
Locro is a traditional soup among the indigenous people of the Andes. Its basic ingredients are pumpkin, corn, and meat cooked over low heat. The recipe can vary from region to region, with options for other ingredients such as zucchini, potatoes, onions, and beans.
In Indian mythology, “locro” is thought to be a dish given by gods. According to legend, when there was an extreme drought, people prayed and sacrificed all their products into one pot then lightning set fire under it, giving them locro soup.
Today, Argentinians traditionally consume this soup on two patriotic days May Revolution Day (May 25th) and Independence Day (July 9th). It is also consumed on other days, especially during colder seasons, since it provides warmth and lots of calories.
Best places to try Locro in Buenos Aires
What people say on Google: 4.4 stars, 4,356 reviews
Provoleta is a slice of barbecue cheese rarely missing in a good Argentinean barbecue. It has a marked, salty, intense flavor, crunchy exterior texture, and a soft and smooth interior. Cut into slices about 1 inch (2 cm) thick, the Provoleta is a true culinary delicacy and probably the only product of dairy origin that has been integrated into the barbecue with real success.
Provoleta is served as an appetizer or snack, often accompanied by chimichurri sauce.
In fact, the provoleta is made from a slice of Italian provolone cheese.
Tradition has it that the provoleta is cooked directly on the grill and is also said to be an art. This cheese is perfectly suited to cooking on the embers thanks to its low-fat and higher fiber content. However, it can also be cooked in a frying pan or oven.
Whichever cooking method is chosen, one thing is certain, the cheese should be melted and served immediately.
In Argentina, they are certainly known for their love of meat and their ability to cook it expertly.
But what about sugary treats?
It turns out that Argentines have a major sweet tooth as well! You can find croissants, candy, and all sorts of cakes for sale throughout the country. Some of these confectionary shops in Buenos Aires even stay open 24 hours a day, so you do not have to go without your chocolate fix if you are having trouble sleeping.
Additionally, there are traditional sweets native to Argentina which the locals take just as much pride in as they do with their famous Asado dishes.
Dulce de Leche
Dulce de leche is a creamy caramel-like confection made by heating sweetened condensed milk until it turns into a thick, golden brown sauce.
In Argentina, Dulce de Leche is wildly popular. It is often added to cakes and pies as a filling and employed in pancakes, cookies, ice cream, waffles, and cupcakes; it can also be eaten simply with a spoon!
The shelves of grocery stores in Buenos Aires are filled with cans of various compositions ranging from low-calorie options to coconut-flavored sorts that contain chocolate too!
According to data published by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Observatory of the Argentine Dairy Chain (OCLA), around 128 thousand tons of dulce de leche are produced in Argentina per year, and, on average, each Argentine consumes 7 pounds (3.2 kilos) per year, which places it as the fourth most chosen dairy product, after milk, cheese, and yogurt.
I have difficulty not eating the entire can for breakfast and my coffee, but if you are ever in Argentina, try at least one local helado (ice cream) flavored with dulce de leche.
Alfajores is another favored dessert in Argentina, consisting of two shortcrust pastry cookies with a layer of dulce de leche or jam between them. Coconut flakes may be sprinkled around the edges, and the entire alfajore can also be covered with dark or white chocolate.
You can find these desserts at regular grocery stores, often packed in large bundles for larger gatherings or one at a time; however, it is best to try them from bakeries where they will have superior quality and taste.
Other Argentine foods worth trying:
Medialuna is a type of pastel, or Latin American pastry, famous in Mexico and Argentina with a crescent moon shape. It can be filled with sweet cream, cheese, or fruit.
Matambre Arrollado is a traditional dish from Argentina and Uruguay that consists of flank steak rolled around vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, herbs, and spices. The ingredients are usually tied together with kitchen twine and then boiled or grilled before being sliced thinly to serve. It is often served as an appetizer alongside chimichurri sauce.
Argentine Pionono is a dessert with sponge cake filled with dulce de leche (a sweet caramel-like sauce), fruit, or cream. The cake can be rolled or served as cuts, often adorned with meringue before serving.
Llama steak is made of meat from the flesh of llamas, large mammals native to South America. The dish has recently gained popularity due to its low-fat content and mild flavor. It can be grilled, pan-fried, or stewed and served with various sauces or seasoning blends.
Tamales is a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa or dough (usually corn-based), typically filled with meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, chilies, or any combination of these ingredients. They can be steamed in plantain leaves or corn husks soaked in water to soften them before use. Tamales are often served as part of celebratory meals and family gatherings throughout Latin America.
Humita is a traditional dish from the Andes region of South America. It is made with fresh corn, ground and mixed with butter, onion, garlic, basil, and cream. The mixture is then wrapped in corn husks (or sometimes banana leaves) and steamed until cooked. Humitas are usually served as an accompaniment to other dishes, such as tamales or empanadas.
Mate is a traditional herbal tea that is really popular in Argentina. It is made by steeping the dried leaves of yerba mate, an evergreen shrub native to subtropical regions of South America. The drink has a slightly bitter flavor and contains caffeine, antioxidants, and numerous vitamins. People typically sip it from a gourd-shaped vessel through a metal straw called a “bombilla.”
Frequently asked questions
Provoleta vs Provolone?
Provolone and Provoleta are nearly indistinguishable types of cheese, with only a slight difference in their forms and the way they are prepared. Italian Provolone is often shaped like an elongated pear, sausage, or cone, while Argentine Provoleta is designed to be cut into one-inch-thick slices that can then be grilled.
In conclusion, Argentine cuisine is a unique combination of various cuisines from around the world that has been perfected by Argentinians.
They are extremely proud of their Argentine dishes and will happily share stories about how their grandmothers or other relatives cooked certain meals. Such conversations often arouse an irresistible desire for something delicious and distinctly Argentinian.
I live in Buenos Aires and write about Argentina and other places I like. For me, traveling is a great possibility not only for discovering new destinations but also for learning about myself (that is usually hidden behind everyday life).
In other words, you discover new landscapes of your soul when traveling!
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