Food in Argentina

Argentina food

Traditional Argentine food, known as Criolla tends to consist of large grills and barbecues called 'asados' or 'parillas' on which copious amounts of meat (primarily beef), chorizo, kidney and morcilla (black pudding) are flung. Criolla food is also particularly hot on tasty, filling stews like Locro (pork, white bean and sweetcorn stew) or variations of the same idea like Carbonado (beef with fresh veg, apples and peaches) or Cazuela Gaucho (with chicken and pumpkin). Popular snacks include humitas (sweetcorn patties), empanadas (yummy pastries stuffed with anything from minced meat to chicken to cheese and ham) or tamales (cornmeal tortillas normally filled with meat). Matambre relleno (stuffed rolled beef) and sandwiches de miga (white bread ham and cheese sandwiches with no crusts) are other popular choices.

The most common sweet is Dulce de Leche, made from heating sugar and milk which makes a caramel type sauce. The Argentines wack it on bread, biscuits, in cakes and it is also a very popular ice cream flavour.

The huge European influence in Argentina is clearly visible in the food. The Spanish have made paella, traditional stews, churros and alfajores (pastries with dulce de leche and chocolate) staples in Argentine cooking. Similarly, the German influence threw medialunas (croissants) and even sauerkraut (renamed chukrut) into the mix. In the southern Patagonian community of Chubut there is also a long tradition of Welsh inhabitants who have introduced traditional tea drinking and scone eating!

However, instead of reproducing the foods from other countries to the dot, there is often an interesting Argentine touch added to traditional dishes. For example, typically Italian food like pasta and pizza is widely available and extremely popular in Argentina but the pizzas are generally calzone-like and very filling whilst the pastas are doused in thick sauces more resemblant of stew than a light Italian sauce.

The foods listed above can generally be found throughout Argentina but certain regions use local produce specific to the area as well. In the northwest you are likely to find quinoa, pumpkins and marzipan whilst the northeast is especially good for freshwater fish and exotic fruit. In Patagonia you will also notice an absence of beef as goat and lamb is more commonly found.

Whatever region you are in, food in Argentina is always tasty and you will find a good selection to choose from. Argentina eating habits usually involve a light breakfast and a light dinner (at around 10pm) and the main meal is at lunch time which is often a big social event.