7 Things to Eat & Drink in Argentina
As famous for its food as it is for football, frozen landscapes and fancy footwork (Tango, anyone?), Argentina boasts a cacophony of culinary creations that are sure to tempt all taste buds; from steak and red wine to caramel-topped confections and aromatic teas made for sharing. Here are seven of the country’s very best food and drink offerings worthy of a spot on your must-visit menu.
It wouldn’t be an Argentina food round-up without a mention of the country’s biggest culinary export - steak. Whether you like it rare, with a side of fries, or smothered in chimichurri sauce, all tastes are catered for here, and then some. The best way to enjoy this much-loved delicacy is in a traditional parrilla. A carnivore’s dream, these roadside eateries can be found up and down the country, boasting menus filled with juicy cuts of Bife de chorizo (sirloin) cooked just the way you like it. I recommend visiting Buenos Aires’ famous upscale steakhouse Don Julio for some of the best in the city. Pull up a pew on one of the outdoor tables and feast on mouthwatering plates of meat paired with fine wines.
Don Julip Steak - Image: Carlie Mesquitta
Don Julip SteakImage: Carlie Mesquitta
They say food is the way to a person’s heart, but when it comes to feeding the soul, nothing beats a warming, hearty stew. In Argentina, soul food comes in the form of Locro, a thick casserole-style dish that originated in the Andes and can now be found on menus up and down the country, from Cachi to Cordoba. Usually formed with chunks of pork, chorizo and veal and blended with chickpeas, lima beans and squash, it’s best served with a wedge of bread on the side - perfect for unapologetic dipping.
Locro - Image: Carlie Mesquitta
LocroImage: Carlie Mesquitta
Spicy, tangy and full of flavour, Choripan is like a traditional hotdog with a whole lot of added oomph. Instead of a traditional frankfurter as its base, this street food favourite consists of a hearty helping of chorizo topped with a fragrant blend of chimichurri and creole sauce and served in a soft white bun. Best eaten on-the-go, the best spot to try one for yourself is Chori, a no-frills Buenos Aires institution that serves theirs three-ways, with lashings of potato salad and a gin and tonic on the side.
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Another carnivorous Argentine delicacy, Milanesa comes in all shapes and sizes but at its most simple, it’s a cut of beef dipped in egg, flour and breadcrumbs and fried until golden. Similar to a schnitzel, these savoury staples can be served in a sandwich, smothered in tomato sauce or topped with a fried egg for a filling, tasty and inexpensive meal that’s definitely worthy of a place on your must-eat list.
Dulce de Leche
Now you might not think of caramel as a traditional breakfast food, but in Argentina, anything goes when it comes to dulce de leche. This sweet, sugary treat is used as a topping for ice-cream, baked into sponge cakes and sandwiched between biscuits. You’ll find dozens of varieties in every supermarket and jars on every hotel breakfast spread so it’s definitely worth trying while you’re here, especially if you have a sweet tooth. As a self-appointed dessert specialist, my favourite dulce de leche encounter was a creamy coconut cake that was served at a local barbeque. Sticky, sweet and oozing with thick layers of caramel, it was truly the stuff dessert dreams are made of.
Dulce de Leche - Image: Carlie Mesquitta
Dulce de LecheImage: Carlie Mesquitta
Whether you like yours red, white or out of a box (no judgement), a visit to Argentina isn’t complete without sampling some of the world’s finest wines. Most famous for its Malbec, you’ll also find that white and pink varietals are produced here too, including the crisp, fruity Torrontes and deliciously moreish Malbec rosé. I highly recommend a visit to Cafayate, the country’s second wine region, where you can bike between Bodegas and sample flights of wine in sun-dappled courtyards - heaven!
Torrontes wine - Image: Carlie Mesquitta