Argentina is home to some of the tastiest dishes of South America. With millions of Spanish and Italian immigrants settling in the country, one can clearly witness their influence on Argentina’s cuisine. While the well-known dishes like empanadas and puchero come from Spain, other delicacies like fugazza and milanesa have Italian roots. Also, being one of the few countries having more cattle than people, Argentina has steak as its primary component in almost all savory foods. Trying out these tender and juicy meat and hearty stew dishes will make you crave more. Though they can be enjoyed all year long, some like asado and empanadas are Argentina’s special dishes eaten mainly during Christmas or other significant occasions.
Argentina’s national food, Asado, is the traditional barbequed meat. However, not just the dish, but the whole event where friends or family gather on weekends over the grill fire is called asado.
A wide range of meat, including chicken, pork, sausages, and a boneless cut of beef called churrasco, is roasted on the cast iron grill called a parrilla.
In the Patagonian region, whole lamb or pig are also placed on an open fire. It is slowly barbequed until it achieves a tender and juicy texture. Before serving, it is lightly seasoned with salt and paired with salad or chimichurri.
Though empanadas have Spanish roots, it is a famous street food in Argentina. They are also often enjoyed during holidays like Christmas or Easter.
As its name translates into wrapping in bread, the dish consists of fried or baked pastry pockets filled with a sweet or savory preparation. The common savory fillings include stewed and spiced ground or minced beef, ham, goat, or cheese.
On the other hand, the sweet ones are loaded with dulce de leche, sweet potato paste, or quince jam. These crunchy delights have markings to identify what hidden pleasure is stored inside.
Chimichurri is a traditional green sauce made with finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, onion, oregano, chili flakes, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Besides pairing them with grilled meat, it is also used as a marinade. The savory and spicy blend of flavors is a classic combination with smoky meat.
One of the delicious and common foods in Argentina, choripán, is sold in food trucks outside football stadiums. It consists of a blend of grilled pork and beef chorizo sausage placed between half-slit crusty buns. Before serving, a topping of chimichurri is added to give it a fresh and flavorful kick.
In Argentina, the Italian cheese called provolone is grilled and served hot right from the BBQ before a meal or as an accompaniment with barbequed meat. When preparing an asado, a thick slice of provolone is cut and seasoned with oregano and chili flakes.
The melted, gooey cheese is often topped with tangy, garlicky chimichurri sauce. It is best relished as finger food with crusty bread.
Though having Italian roots, milanesa is a typical food of Argentina especially made for lunch. Its preparation includes coating beef or chicken with breadcrumbs and then deep frying or baking them. Various toppings like fried eggs, ham, cheese, and tomato sauce make it a wholesome dish. The crunchy and delicious tasty treats are best served with a side dish like mashed potatoes or fries.
Matambre arrollado is a unique traditional grilled flank steak, rolled around stuffings like hard-boiled eggs, carrots, bell peppers, olives, and herbs.
While matambre translates into ‘hunger killer,’ arrollado means ‘to roll up.’ It is named so as it takes the least time to prepare on the same grill in which other meat dishes are also placed.
Hence, this makes matambre arrollado an ideal appetizer to relish and curb your hunger while waiting for the other meat delicacies to cook slowly.
An Argentinian-style pizza, Fugazza has its origin in the capital city of Buenos Aires. Its preparation includes a thick pizza crust smothered with a bit of sauce but sprinkled with a generous amount of cheese. In fact, it is not fugazza until the dish is dripping with cheese on all sides.
Additional toppings of onions, oregano, and even green olives at times go into it. A mouth-watering combination of cheese and vegetables, fugazza can be served as an appetizer or a main dish in a platter.
Llama steak is a popular delicacy in the northern region of Argentina, where llamas are plenty in number. Vegetables such as carrots and potatoes are also added when the meat is being slowly cooked. Loaded with rustic and earthy flavors, it is delicious, fulfilling, and a healthier option than beef. Many enjoy llama meat in the traditional stew preparation called cazuela de llama.
A national dish, locro is a hearty stew made with a combination of meat and vegetables like beef or pork, red chorizo, tripe, white hominy, squash, white beans, potatoes, and carrots. The preparation requires several hours of simmering in a pot until it achieves a thick and creamy consistency.
Though the rich and flavorful dish can be enjoyed throughout the year, it is traditionally consumed on May 25 to celebrate Argentina’s May Revolution.
A traditional vegetarian delight, humita is made with fresh corn, onion, pumpkin, tomato, milk, and spices. Sometimes, queso fresco, a traditional cheese, is also added. The mashed preparation is either wrapped in corn husks and boiled or simply cooked in a pan until it attains a creamy texture. It is a mouth-watering savory dish served hot as a breakfast item or a main meal.
The Argentine version of pasta, Fideos is a common food item served in Argentinian restaurants. It comprises a combination of freshly prepared fideo pasta, homemade tomato sauce, and spices. Tangy and flavorful, it can be served as a side to any meat dish.
Carbonada is an appetizing stew enjoyed during the winters. The main ingredients include potatoes, corn, carrots, peppers, and beef chunks. Spices are also added, and the preparation is slowly cooked until everything is juicy, tender, and infused with flavors.
It can be served in a hollowed-out and baked pumpkin once the stew is topped with fruits like dried apricots, peaches, pears, and green grapes. A savory and slightly sweet dish, carbonada teams well with a bowl of rice.
This traditional dish originated in Salta, a town in northwest Argentina. It comprises a combination of minced lamb or pork meat, corn flour, onions, hard-boiled eggs, and traditional peppers filled inside corn husks called chalas. They are boiled to get a soft and juicy inside that is warm.
During the winters, puchero is indeed a comforting stew. Though beef is its typical component, other ingredients like potatoes, squash, corn, carrots, onions, pork belly, and bacon also go into its making. It is a delicious stew with varied textures and flavors, often sprinkled with black pepper powder on the top and served with crusty bread.
This tasty pasta dish is one of Argentina’s famous food. Though it is much similar to its Italian counterpart, cannelloni, it does not include pasta sheets. Instead, it comprises crepes stuffed with various fillings like spinach and ricotta, beef and spinach, and many more.
While the filling is topped with a homemade tomato sauce, the crepes are covered with béchamel sauce and cheese. It tastes heavenly with all the goodness of cheese and juicy insides exploding in your mouth with every bite.
While these are some of the most delicious dishes containing succulent meat, fresh vegetables, and cheese, the list does not stop here. In fact, you wouldn’t want to miss the equally tasty Argentinian desserts to round off your savory meals. The must-try ones include alfajores, dulce de leche, medialuna, and helado.
Best Traditional Dish: Asado, Matambre Arrollado, Locro
Best Street Food: Empanadas, Choripán, Fugazza
Best Christmas and Easter Dish: Empanadas, Humita, Asado
Best Breakfast Food: Humita, Empanadas
Best Finger Food: Provoleta, Empanadas
Best Main Course Dishes: Milanesa, Asado, Matambre
Best Side Dishes: Humita, Fideos
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