Food culture of argentina

Argentina

Published on 28-March-2018 by Junaid herekar

Asado
Pasta
Empanadas
Choripan

Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) share a love of good food with their fellow countrymen, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that a trip to the capital is a guaranteed way of encountering the very best of Argentina traditional food.

Indeed, this vibrant city has more than its fair share of top-class restaurants, all of which can provide a solid education in the nation’s most cherished dishes. Here are the eight you should be sampling.  

Asado

The way to Argentina’s heart is through its asado, or barbecue Also known as parrillada, it is a crime to leave the country without spending a leisurely afternoon beside the warmth of a grill or open fire, feasting on copious grilled meats. This is the national dish, originating with the country’s gauchos, or cowboys, who would subsist on the abundant cows dotting the country’s plains. Expect to find beef, pork, ribs, sausages, blood sausages, and sweetbreads hot off the fire. In Patagonia, look out for a whole lamb or pig roasting over an open flame. Lightly salted, topped with chimichurri, and paired with Malbec this is Argentina. 

Chimichuri

To make your first experience of an Argentine parrilla even more authentic, don’t forget to ask for Chimichurri as an accompaniment to your meal. Rich in garlic and with a bit of a tang (depending on the amount of chili used), this typical sauce is the perfect condiment to go with your meat.

Provoleta

Argentineans give whole new meaning to grilled cheese with provoleta. A consequence of the significant Italian immigration to Argentina, provoleta is the country’s variant on provolone cheese. Pungent and sharp, sliced discs are topped with herbs, like oregano and chilli flakes then grilled. The nearly-melted cheese is crispy and slightly caramelised on the outside, gooey and smokey on the interior. Top it off with a drizzle of olive oil, or a spoonful of chimichurri. 

 Empanadas

Another gift from the Moors to the Spanish and finally, to the Argentineans, where this hot, cheap and portable meal was popular amongst working classes. Like a South American pasty, empanadas are deep-fried or baked, then filled with sweet and savoury stuffing, depending on the province. Dessert empanadas are commonly packed with quince jam, sweet potato paste, or dulce de leche, and sprinkled with cinnamon, sugar or sweet raisins, as is typical in Cordoba. Savoury empanadas hug stewed and spiced ground beef, chicken, goats meat, cheese and/or vegetables, with the markings on the pastry fold identifying the treasures inside. 

  Pasta

Argentine society is very close to Italy in many ways, but nowhere is this more evident than in its food. Pizzas, often with a thicker dough than traditionally found in Italy, are readily available around Buenos Aires, while pasta takes a starring role in most restaurant menus.

Carbonada

Argentina traditional food typical of the north of the country, carbonada is a hearty meal that’s mostly served during the winter. Made from meat, potatoes, carrots, peppers and sweet corn, topped with fruit, such as dried apricots and raisins and cooked over a barbecue in a hollowed-out pumpkin, this stew yet again proves the country’s love of a parrilla.

Alfajores

Argentinians also have an extremely sweet tooth. Dulce de leche, a paste made of caramelized condensed milk, is the national addiction and takes its most typical form as the filling for alfajores.

Two cookies are sandwiched together using dulce de leche and the whole construction is dipped in chocolate or shredded coconut to make a delicious snack.

Media Lunas

A typical breakfast or mid-morning bite, media lunas take their inspiration from France and the ubiquitous croissant. Baked from butter or lard pastry (with the former much sweeter in flavor), they are brushed with a sugar glaze and eaten in the morning with a coffee.

Choripán

A pre-requisite before any football match, a go-to amongst taxi drivers, and a mainstay at markets and from street vendors, choripán is the ultimate Argentinean street food. Made with pork and beef chorizo cooked over charcoal or wood flames, the sausage is grilled then butterflied down the centre, topped with chimichurri, and served between slices of crusty bread. Depending on the province, caramelised onions, pickled aubergines, green peppers and a host of other condiments are also added. Another gaucho tradition the choripán has experienced a rural-to-urban shift that has placed it firmly on the country’s culinary map.