WHY IT RATES: In addition to Argentina’s diverse landscapes and people, the country also offers a variety of delicious culinary options. —Codie Liermann, editor-in-chief
Argentina is best known around the world for the quality of its beef, its legendary asados as well as its robust Malbec wines. Visitors to Argentina are also known to develop an obsession with alfajores (sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche), medialunas (Argentine version of a croissant), dulce de leche, helado (Argentine gelato introduced by Italian immigrants), and empanadas. . Getting used to drinking mate (a local brew), however, may be more of an acquired taste. But Argentina offers a lot more in terms of culinary delights than the classics. And many parts of the country have their own specialties. Different provinces also have their own version of empanadas. Here is a food tour through some of the different regions of Argentina:
Buenos Aires – Argentina’s vibrant and cosmopolitan capital is home to an endless array of culinary options ranging from fine dining to traditional bodegones, historic cafes, river side carritos for street food classics and a growing scene of food trucks serving creative dishes. Buenos Aires also offers a wide variety of cuisines from around the world inspired by the many waves of immigrants that have shaped Argentina’s identity since the late 19th century, from Italian and Spanish to Lebanese and Armenian. , from Korean and Japanese to Peruvian and Venezuelan. Young chefs are creating updated versions of Jewish immigrant cuisine, and there are plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians as well.
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Visitors to Buenos Aires will find that beyond classic grilled meat and empanadas, the most popular foods favored by Porteños (port dwellers are referred to as residents of Buenos Aires) are Argentinian adaptations of Italian classics such than pizza – a national obsession! – fresh pasta dishes and Milanese-style veal and chicken cutlets.
Atlantic coast – Mar del Plata, about 250 miles south of Buenos Aires on the Atlantic coast, is a popular resort town and the heart of Argentina’s fishing industry. In addition to all the Argentinian classics, visitors to Mar del Plata and popular nearby resorts can enjoy a wide variety of fish and seafood dishes. Squid, octopus, shrimp, scallops, mussels, seafood stews and sea bream are some of the must-sees here. Many Argentines also believe that the best medialunas in the country are in Mar del Plata and that some of the best brands of alfajores are also from here.
North West – The northwest of Argentina (Salta and Jujuy are the most visited provinces) is a land of breathtaking landscapes and a rich indigenous history. The Qhapaq ñan, the ancient Inca road network, crossed this region. The indigenous and Criollo (Creole) heritage has left its mark in the region’s cuisine, music, dance and crafts, and the unique flavors of its cuisine set it apart from the rest of the country. Empanadas are king here and each province has its own variety. Other foods to try include locro and carbonada (hearty stews with squash, corn, and a variety of meats and sausages), as well as tamales and humitas served in corn husks (humitas are filled with corn dough and cheese). More adventurous eaters can also try exotic meats like llama and ñandú. This region also produces full-bodied mountain red wines as well as fresh and aromatic Torrontés, Argentina’s emblematic white wine.
Patagonia – The richness of the lakes, rivers and forests of Patagonia as well as the cultural influences of the different groups of immigrants who settled here, mainly from the Alpine countries (Swiss, Austrians, Germans and Northern Italians), have influenced the cuisine of this region. Lamb reigns supreme in Patagonia, and game meats, especially wild boar and venison, are also popular. Local catches include freshwater trout and salmon which can all be doused with locally brewed craft beers. Smoked foods are also a local specialty. For a taste of local indigenous culinary traditions, try curanto, an age-old cooking technique where meat, fish, shellfish and vegetables are cooked on hot stones deep underground. Patagonia is also well known for its wild berries and rosehip jams. And San Carlos de Bariloche is a chocolate lover’s paradise with artisan chocolates scattered throughout the city.
Further south in Tierra del Fuego, the frigid waters of the South Atlantic and the Beagle Channel provide an abundance of southern king crab, shrimp and large mussels.
Additional information about Argentina is available at argentina.travel.
THE SOURCE: Visit Argentina’s press release.