The country of Argentina in South America is a "top 10" entry on the bucket list of many world travelers. It has a culture and cuisine influenced by the Spanish and Italian colonists of past centuries along with the foods of the indigenous communities. It is a huge country worth your time to explore and to satisfy your hunger with these traditional dishes.
Argentina is world famous for asados - a variety of grilled meats. Typically you will see beef steaks, ribs, chorizo sausages, and perhaps sweetbreads (organ meats) or chitterlings on the grill.
Here is the must-have side sauce for your asado plate. Chimichurri is an oil-based condiment made with chopped parsley, oregano, fresh garlic, chopped onion, red chili pepper, lemon juice, vinegar and oil. You can intensify the heat of the sauce from mild to extra hot depending on your taste.
These pastries are filled with ground meat, veggies or cheese. In some regions the dough is made with lard and in other regions it is made with butter. A traditional filling in Argentina is a savory meat empanada called "mendocina" which is contains ground beef, onions, paprika, chili powder, cumin, hard-boiled egg, and green olives. But ham and cheese ("empanada de jamon y queso") or onion and cheese ("empanada de cebolla y queso") varieties are also quite popular.
Americans have their hot dogs, and Argentinians have their choripáns. Go to the "futbol" (soccer) stadium or to the street food cart vendor and you will find them.
This is considered a snack food - it is a grilled chorizo sausage which is sliced in half and served on a baguette bread with a large spoonful of chimichurri sauce on top.
Not everything to eat in Argentina is meat-based. Here is a quiche-like pie called "pascualina" which is filled with swiss chard, spinach, parmesan cheese, garlic, and hard-boiled eggs. You can find it on the menu at most traditional Argentine restaurants. You can also ask for it as a take-out item.
Perhaps the dish that most represents traditional Argentina is a stew called "locro." It is full of meats, beans, corn, potatoes, and other vegetables depending on the recipe. The stew was created by indigenous people living in the Andes Mountains; today you can find different versions of locro in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. Some cooks will include tripe (part of the cow's stomach) in the stew.
Life without dessert is just no fun, and when it comes to dessert South Americans go crazy for dulce de leche ("sugar of milk") sweets of any kind. Argentinians have big love for a sandwich cookie they call "alfajores" (pronounced AL-fa-HO-res). Though these crisp butter cookies with the gooey dulce de leche center filling are rich and high in fat, they are quite delicious and perfect to have with your espresso coffee. Some panaderías (bakeries) will roll the cookie edges in chopped nuts or shredded coconut to make them extra fancy. You might even try a milkshake or ice cream made with alfajores.
You just can't eat all those meat-rich meals without a glass of beautiful red wine to sip between bites. There are plenty of dark Malbecs, Cabernet Sauvignons, and Pinot Noir types to choose from along with varietal blends. Many travelers visiting Argentina enjoy spending one or more days touring the famous vineyards of the Mendoza, San Juan, and La Roija regions, especially when the grapes are ripe and ready for harvesting.
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