Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Food is always an interesting way to see a culture. When you are living in a country different from your own, eating new kinds of food can be a big part of the cultural shock. Lucky for me, Argentinian diet does not differ too much from other South American countries, so instead of being in shock, I have been indulging in all kinds of delicious things.  Not good for my waist line, but good for my mood! 
 The traditional foods I have tasted during my time in Buenos Aires show strong European influence.  On the other hand, national ingredients are also present, which results in a unique array of flavors.   Below I mention some of the dishes, snacks and drinks I have been lucky to try -and a couple I am planning to -:

Breads and snacks

  1. Facturas
Facturas are small pastries and sweet bread pieces.  There is a great variety of facturas.  They vary on size, flavors, fillings and shape.  People eat facturas for breakfast or as a snack between meals.  They are my favorite from Argentinian’s cuisine!

Note:  The word factura also means bill.  Funny, uh?

  1. Empanadas
Most empanadas, when served, look like a semicircle.  Their shape reminds me of an Italian Calzone, being empanadas way smaller.  The dough for empanadas is usually made with flour and fat. The fillings vary from meat and cheese to dulce de leche. Once the filling is placed inside the empanada, these are either fried or baked.     

  1. Choripan

Chori, from the word chorizo, plus pan which means bread equals choripan. 
A baguette type of bread cut open and pieces of chorizo placed inside. That’s it!  
Choripan is seasoned with chimichurri, a common Argentinian sauce.
As an interesting note, I have not seen choripan offered in restaurants or cafés.  I have seen it a couple of times on the street. 


  1. Pizza

In Argentina there is pizza de molde which has thick crust, and I have not yet tried.  The other type is Pizza a la Piedra. With a thinner crust, and generous on the cheese, this is the one I have seen the most.  Toppings are what you usually find in other countries.  Argentineans make good, good pizza.

5.  Pastas

Pasta has not been my first choice when eating out.  However, you can be sure it is in every single menu in Buenos Aires’ restaurants.  Along with the pizza, this part of the diet is a pretty obvious consequence of Italian immigration to Argentina.

  1.  Milanesas
Milanesas, as pasta, are omnipresent.  You could even buy a milanesa in the carnicería ready to fry.  Not frozen, just ready!

  1. Parrillada

This dish, to me, is the most representative of  Argentinian cuisine. Parrillada includes chorizo, chinchulines, morcilla and different cuts of red meats cooked and served on a grill (parrilla).   This meat feast is usually accompanied by red wine, bread and salad.  –and a good nap, if possible-.


  1. Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche is widely consumed and used as baking ingredient in Argentina, as well as in many other Latin American countries.

  1. Alfajores

Alfajores are basically two cookies joined together by a sweet filling, usually dulce de leche.   They may be covered in chocolate. Alfajores are common in Spain and many South American countries.


  1. Vino patero

This is foot-pressed wine.  Made using more traditional techniques, and sold by cup or jar.

  1. Mate
Mate is a traditional infused drink, inherited from the indigenous that inhabited this part of South America.  Mate is also common in some parts of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and, of course, Argentina.  It is prepared infusing dried leaves of the plant yerba mate in water.   

I know there are many more dishes and foods to try.  I may comment on them as I learn more about Argentinian cuisine… Have you been to Argentina and tried their food?  Did you have a favorite?


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