Buenos Aires is the steak capital of the world and the entire country feels like a land designed for the carnivores. But what do you do when you are a …vegetarian? The thing is that there are options for those not into meat, but a vegetarian in Argentina is most likely a tourist. Oh and just as a warming: the Argentinians seem to have a sweet tooth.
Beef is the most consumed meet in Argentina and steaks are definitely on your must-eat food while here. Remember that the animals are raised naturally so, for those used to mass production farming, the meat might seem a bit gamy. But the sauce and the salads (from organic vegetables) go really well with the meat.
You don’t even have to pay too much for such a meal. Look for parillas where steaks are excellent and affordable.
Asado stands for grilled meat. You can have excellent asado in Buenos Aires but , to fully understand what this is about and taste it properly, enjoy it in Bariloche after some time spent burning calories in nature.
The whole idea behind such a BBQ is not to eat just…grilled meat. The process of preparing the lunch starts in mid-morning and, before tasting the beef, you also get to eat cheese, blood sausage and intestines. Then follows the baby goat and only at the end…the beef.
Whenever I hear this word I think about Anthony Bourdain’s No reservations episode in which he had to talk about empañadas, but didn’t exactly feel like.
Empañadas are a pocket of dough filled with cheese, meat, vegetables and even fruits, deep fried, of course. Needless to say there are plenty of varieties of this food which you can taste to your own delight during your stay in Argentina.
If you are vegetarian, go for the queso & cebolla (cheese and onion) empanadas.
Dulce de Leche
This is a milky caramel spread which can be eaten in the morning on toast or between cookies to make Alfajores, for snacks.
This is the direct result of the Palermo’s Italy legacy and the caramel is at best in this Argentine gelato. During hot summer evenings, the heladerias are packed with locals and tourists alike.
Now, what would pasta have to do with a country in South America or better said with its capital of Buenos Aires? Well, half of the capital’s population comes from Italy and they brought the food with them (see Helado, too). So don’t be surprised to see trattorias pretty much everywhere. Expect to find many types of pasta dishes, including ravioli.
And yes, pizza is also good but don’t be surprised to find thicker crusts than in Italy. However, if you look for something that doesn’t have to do with meat, you are in luck as you can find vegetarian options, too.
The idea of mixing coffee with something sweet for breakfast surely came to Argentina together with the Italians, so you can eat medialunas (sticky croissants) for breakfast or as a snack in the afternoon.
They are either toasted bread with jam or grilled sandwiches with ham and cheese. If you aren’t into croissants for breakfast, these are the best options.
Provoleta is cheese on the barbeque. Yes, it’s delicious and no, they are not the only ones who do it (hint: Greece!). Provolone cheese on the barbeque is an excellent choice if you want to escape the meat meals, but be aware that it might have some meaty taste, too as the cheese is grilled on the same barbeque as the meat.
A bonus: mate
Mate is a very popular drink in Argentina and is made with brewed yerba plant leaves. It’s a pick-me-up which can be just as addictive as coffee. Looks unappetizing but it’s tasty (however, you probably have to get used to it).