Argentine food is a diverse and flavorful blend of European, African, and indigenous influences. Argentina’s popular beef and wine are just the beginning of what makes Argentine cooking unique and delicious. Here are the best and famous Argentine dishes, snacks, and desserts.
Asado - Argentine Barbecue
The asado is an Argentinian gastronomic custom. It is not only a culinary technique of grilling meat but also a social event that is very important for the people of Argentina.
Asado is a staple of Argentine cuisine and a must-try for anyone visiting the country. The meat is roasted on a grill with charcoal or wood. "Asado" refers to cooking meat over an open flame, typically on a parrilla or grill. Asado can be made with various cuts of beef, pork, or chicken, but beef is the most popular. The meat is usually seasoned with salt and simmered over hot coals, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish. It is generally served with ¨chimichurri¨ or another sauce, salads, and bread.
Chimichurri is a trendy sauce in Argentine cuisine, typically served with grilled meats. The ingredients are chopped parsley, garlic, and vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. Some variations may also include oregano, cilantro, or lemon juice. The sauce is usually served at room temperature and can be used as a marinade or a condiment for meats, vegetables, or bread. Chimichurri adds a zesty, tangy flavor to dishes and is a staple of Argentine cuisine.
Empanadas - Argentine Meat Pies
Empanadas are another popular Argentine dish found in nearly every corner of the country. The argentine prepares the empanadas with various fillings, including beef, chicken, ham, cheese, and spinach and cheese. The filling of the empanadas is typically seasoned with onions, paprika, and cumin, then wrapped in a flaky pastry crust and baked until golden brown.
Milanesa - Breaded Cutlets
As its name suggests, this Argentinian dish has Italian origins: the Milanese practice of dipping fileted meat in egg batter, then breading and frying it. Served in sandwiches or on its own with a side dish, milanesa usually features thin cuts of chicken, beef, or veal pounded thin and fried until crispy. It is traditionally served with a simple tomato sauce or chimichurri.
Also called "matambre arrollado," this Argentinian meat dish differs from the thick cuts of grilled asado. Matambre means "hunger killer", and "arrollado" means "rolled up." So, Matabre wraps a thin slice of beef around mixed vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, herbs, or olives before cooking.
Locro - Hearty Stew
Locro is a traditional Argentine stew made with corn, beans, and meat, typically beef or pork. People eat it during national holidays in Argentina and special occasions like Independence Day or religious celebrations. The stew is thick and hearty, with a rich flavor from the slow-cooked meat and various spices.
Choripán - Argentine Sausage Sandwich
Choripán is a popular street food in Argentina and a favorite among locals. It is a sandwich made with grilled chorizo sausage and crusty bread, typically served with chimichurri sauce and a side of fries. The sausage is spicy and flavorful, with a smoky taste from being grilled over an open flame.
Dulce de Leche - Sweet Milk Spread
Dulce de leche is a sweet spread made from condensed milk that has been slowly cooked until it thickens and caramelizes. It is similar to caramel but with a creamier texture and a richer, more complex flavor. Dulce de leche is used in many Argentine desserts, such as alfajores, a cookie sandwich filled with dulce de leche (see below). Literally "candy of milk," the must-try Argentinian treat is a caramel-like pudding of condensed milk, slowly reduced into a sweet, sticky dessert… delicious
Provoleta or- Grilled Cheese
Provoleta is a type of cheese similar to provolone but with a milder flavor. It is typically grilled over an open flame until melted and bubbly then served with a side of bread or roasted vegetables. Provoleta is a popular appetizer in Argentina and a great way to start a meal. Provolone - with Italian influences - is seasoned with fresh herbs. It is then cooked on the grill so that the outside caramelizes while the inside gets melted and gooey.
A media luna is like France's famous croissant. But, translating as "half moon", a media luna closer is smaller and sweeter than a croissant, typically enjoyed with breakfast.
Argentine alfajores are a type of cookie sandwich extremely popular in Argentina and other parts of South America. They consist of two soft, crumbly cookies made with cornstarch and flour, sandwiched with a layer of dulce de leche (caramel-like filling) in the middle. The cookies are usually coated with a thin layer of chocolate or powdered sugar. Argentine alfajores come in various flavors, such as coconut, chocolate, and fruit fillings, but the classic version with dulce de leche remains the most popular. Alfajores are a beloved sweet treat in Argentina.
Mate is a traditional Argentinian drink, it’s like a herb tea. It consists of a container (the mate itself), bulb, and yerba mate. Yerba mate comes from a plant that grows in South America, previously dried and ground for its use. It is a powerful activity stimulator.
The preparation of mate is a complete ritual for the Argentina people. It consists of putting the weeds within the mate and pouring hot water (70°c). Then, lastly, the bulb is introduced, and mate is ready to be sucked from it. This tradition's characteristic is that the mate is usually shared in a round of several people.
Argentine food is a rich and flavorful blend of cultures and traditions. From the famous asado to the sweet and creamy dulce de leche, there is something for everyone to enjoy.