Food

Argentina is a large and very developed country that produces and exports many different foods including beef, grains, and wine. Argentina is particularly famous for its wine and its beef. The asado, an elaborate meal of grilled meat, is one of the most important culinary traditions in this country.

Argentina's cuisine is very influenced by Europe and includes many Spanish-style dishes, Italian pasta and pizzas, and French pastries. The Argentinians add their unique style to these dishes, however, making them their own.

In Buenos Aires, one can find a very sophisticated restaurant culture, with foods from around the world. In the more rural parts of Argentina, people still eat a more traditional South American diet.

Argentina traditional food you shouldn’t miss:

ASADO:

The asado or parrilla (barbecue) is to Argentinians as poutine is to the Canadians or pizza to the Italians: it’s the country’s staple dish. With asados held in homes around Argentina every week – rain or shine – and restaurants with parrillas practically every second building in the capital, you won’t walk far without seeing delicious cuts of meat being grilled over an open flame.

Sample chorizo (sausage) and cuts of ojo de bife (ribeye) or bife de chorizo (sirloin) for a true Argentine feast, coupled with a glass of local malbec.

MILANESA

Known as “escalope” in the rest of the world, the Argentine milanesa is a similar dish. A cut of veal or chicken is pounded until thin and then coated in breadcrumbs before it is baked or fried. Milanesas are usually served with purée (mashed potato), fries, topped with an egg or cheese sauce.

EMPANADAS

Empanadas are a South American staple but still deserve to take their place on this list of top Argentina traditional food. Squares of pastry are packed with meat, potato, boiled eggs and scallions to make a typical empanada salteña, while you might even encounter those with a bit more of a punch, as peppers are sometimes added for spice.

A perfect snack when you’re out and about in Buenos Aires, you can buy these from most corner shops or even from street sellers.

PASTA

Argentine society is very close to Italy in many ways, but nowhere is this more evident than in its food. Pizzas, often with a thicker dough than traditionally found in Italy, are readily available around Buenos Aires, while pasta takes a starring role in most restaurant menus.

Tallarines (fettuccine and tagliatelle), ñoquis (gnocchi) and canelones (cannelloni) are the most common types you’ll encounter and can even be bought fresh in dedicated pasta shops around the city.

ALFAJORES

Argentinians also have an extremely sweet tooth. Dulce de leche, a paste made of caramelized condensed milk, is the national addiction and takes its most typical form as the filling for alfajores.

Two cookies are sandwiched together using dulce de leche and the whole construction is dipped in chocolate or shredded coconut to make a delicious snack.

MEDIA LUNAS

A typical breakfast or mid-morning bite, media lunas take their inspiration from France and the ubiquitous croissant. Baked from butter or lard pastry (with the former much sweeter in flavor), they are brushed with a sugar glaze and eaten in the morning with a coffee.

YERBA MATE:

Is probably the most popular beverage in Argentina. Dried and crushed up leaves of the yerba mate are placed into a hollowed out gourd and drunk through a screened straw called a bombilla. Hot water is poured from a thermos over portions of the yerba mate in the gourd and sipped through this metal straw. Mate has a distinct flavor and mostly resembles a raw green tea. The beverage contains caffeine-like stimulus and serves as an appetite suppressant. 

During the hot months of summer locals will often switch the hot water for cold water, orange juice, or lemonade. Drinking in the same fashion with a gourd and bombilla, this is called “Tereré“. This is very common in Paraguay, Southern Brazil and Northern Argentina.