Before you read this article, you must be made aware that this it is almost exclusively carnivore-specific. Argentina is a meat loving country, not loving, adoring. In 2016, Argentinos consumed over 5 billion pounds of beef, making them second in consumption per capita only to their north neighbour, Uruguay.
Yes, it’s fair to say they love their meat in Argentina, but this nation of food lovers don’t only get excited with a 2 pound stake on a platter; the food of Argentina is wonderfully unique and diverse and derives from the country’s mixed ethnic makeup.
Spanish, Indigenous, Italian, and German cuisines are just a few to be named when adding to the massive pot of Argentinian cuisine, and for any special occasion groups of friends and family will gather together to celebrate over some national specialities, or some regional favourites.
Here is a list of five foods you simply have to try when in Argentina.
- Asado – At any time of the day in the country’s cities and regional hubs you will catch the alluring scent of smoke: it’s billowing from an Asado, the Spanish word for barbecue. The smoke is cooking through huge chunks of delicious meats such as ribs, flank steak, pork, and Patagonian lamb as well as a mixture of grilled vegetables. It is served with the delicious chimichurri sauce – a mixture of chopped parsley, oil, garlic, oregano, and vinegar.I’m salivating, it’s weird.
- Empanadas – Adored throughout South America, and especially in Argentina, these pocket-size pastries filled with meat, vegies, and spices go flying out the door of a Buenos Aires bakery in their hundreds. The savoury, salty deliciousness of the Argentine empanada is unbeatable in the morning when all you want is something to satisfy your belly before wandering the seemingly endless streets of BA.
- Dulce de Leche – Have it in cake, have it in cookies, have it in chocolate bought from a kiosk on a street corner, this milk confection is everywhere and it is absolutely delicious. With its delightful brown consistency and indulgently sweet taste, you will find yourself constantly craving dulce de leche when in Argentina, it’s simply that good.
- Choripan – The Argentine equivalent to the late night kebab in Australia, poutine in Quebec, or the Glaswegian “munch box”, the choripan serves as a favourite for late night revellers and taxi drivers alike. The perfect walking home snack, this combination of bread roll, butterflied chorizo sausage, and tangy chimichurri sauce is great when sober, and even better when inebriated.
- Yerba Mate – Anywhere you go in Argentina you will see people walking around with these strange contraptions you may not have seen before. They are often a bulb-shaped cup with a pretty metal straw popping out the top. This is what is known as “yerba mate”, and is a tea that is drank throughout the nation and the rest of South America. You can pick up one of these kits in the country’s markets and stores, and enjoy strong, bitter flavour of this national beverage.
This has been an introduction to the foods you have to try when in Argentina, but there are many more that you will find yourself stumbling across, most likely by accident, and you will realise why food is such an important element of Argentinian culture and friendship.