What to eat and drink in... Argentina

Argentina is famed for its red meat and red wine and whilst these are "musts" when you visit, there is a huge variety of other exciting food and drink to try. Here's a selection of some of the best:

 

EAT

 

1. Steak

Need I say more? The steak in Argentina is famous the world over and for good reason. Dozens of different cuts ranging from the familiar to ones you'll have never heard of, try them all to find your favourite. Best when cooked on a BBQ or Parilla, this type of restaurant is everywhere so you'll have no trouble finding a great one.

Steak and chips  

Steak and chips  

2. Empenadas 

These tasty little parcels are like mini pasties and usually come baked but are sometimes fried. Stuffed with flavour packed fillings like chicken or spinach and ricotta, order a selection and get stuck in.

Empenadas by the boxful

Empenadas by the boxful

3. Chorizo 

Chorizo in Argentina is different to the Spanish variety in that it's more like a traditional sausage, but it still packs a punch flavour wise. Often served in a bread roll with a bit of salsa and called a Choripan, these are highly addictive so watch out.

A grill full of Argentine chorizo

A grill full of Argentine chorizo

4. Tamales 

Stewed meat and vegetables encased in a corn bread, wrapped in a corn leaf and steamed. Simple country style food but really delicious.

Beautifully parcelled tamales

Beautifully parcelled tamales

5. Pizza 

You always thought pizza was Italian right? Not if you speak to an Argentine! To be fair they are completely different to Italian pizzas, have slightly thicker bases and are loaded with awesome toppings. You can also try eating it with Finar which is a kind of chickpea cake that you put on top - unusual and tasty.

Simply mozzarella and olives

Simply mozzarella and olives

6. Picada 

These are like huge tapas boards with all your favourite stuff on. Cured meats, different cheeses, olives, palmitas (palm tree hearts), roasted peppers, mini salad dishes and egg frittata. Accompanied by warm bread and butter, it's like a picnic on a plate.

Picada - a picnic on a plate

Picada - a picnic on a plate

7. Locro 

A hearty peasant stew from the north full of corn, cheaper cuts of meat and potatoes. A warming winter dish that gets you going on those colder days.

Argentine soul food

Argentine soul food

8. Ice cream 

Ice cream parlours are everywhere in Buenos Aires, and once you taste it it's easy to see why. Whilst many are quite traditional, there are newer ones springing up which serve interesting flavours and some even make your ice cream in front of you using dry ice for an added bit of theatre.

So big it requires a plate

So big it requires a plate

9. Provoleta 

Often served as a starter or as part of a Parilla, this salty, melty, oozy cheese may not be the healthy option but it's definitely worth the sin.

Bubbling melted cheese

Bubbling melted cheese

10. Dulce de Leche 

This super sweet, caramel-like substance is the ubiquitous ingredient in Argentine desserts. Used in everything from pastries and cakes to ice cream and biscuits, it's also often eaten by the spoonful straight from the tub!

Dulce de Leche Tirimisu  

Dulce de Leche Tirimisu  

11. Milanesa

Thin flat escalopes of beef, pork, chicken or veal, breaded and then fried. What's not to love?! A great Argentine variation on this is the Milanesa a la Napolitana which has ham, tomato and melted cheese on top - great comfort food.

Nicknamed the "bad boy sandwich" 

Nicknamed the "bad boy sandwich" 

 

DRINK

 

1. Red wine 

Of course!! There are thousands of varieties to try, the most popular being Malbec. The house wine in restaurants is often served in "penguinos" which are ceramic carafes in the shape of a penguin and are usually still of a good standard. They also make great white wines and sparkling wines on a par with champagne so do give those a try as well.

Cute pinguino

Cute pinguino

2. Fernet 

This is an acquired taste but wildly popular amongst Argentines. Often mixed with Coke (a Fernola), it's a bitter, liquoricey, spiced drink that you either love or hate.

Love it or hate it... 

Love it or hate it... 

3. Mate 

This tea-like hot drink is a national obsession! It's a very social drink and is ritually drunk from a communal cup through a metal straw or bondilla as they're known, often in large groups. Lots of people wouldn't imagine leaving the house without their mate cup and a flask of hot water with them. It tastes a bit like a strong green tea and there are dozens of different varieties.

Decorative mate cup from... Tigre

Decorative mate cup from... Tigre

James X 

Ever eaten steak in Argentina? What's your favourite Argentinian food or drink? 

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