In this South America trip, we were in Argentina for about 8 to 9 days. Therefore I can say that we did tried quite a bit of everything in terms of Argentine food. The food was good, but again, I did not notice a lot of traditional Argentine cuisine. I was most impressed by the trout dish that I had the first day we arrived in Bariloche. In the United States, I love seafood, but we seldom eat trout. It was really a delight to find the trout here very fresh and tasty.
According to an article in Academia Bariloche “Mouth watering salmon and trout, plentiful in the Patagonian lakes and rivers, are eaten fresh as well as smoked and accompanied by a range of different sauces., Patagonian lamb is a national delicacy. Lamb, wild pig and alpine venison are all very popular and highly appealing local dishes.”
I did not eat lamb in Argentina, but did see some open BBQ or in restaurants, where lambs were featured.
“Other typical Patagonian dishes include smoked meats like deer, wild pig, salmon and trout. Of course you will find a large variety of classic dishes like parilla grilled meat, homemade pizza and Italian style pasta dishes that are found throughout Argentina”
We did have a great experience in a restaurant that primarily served pasta.
So, what is the typical Argentine cuisine? According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentine_cuisine,
“Argentine cuisine may be described as a cultural blending of Mediterranean influences (such as those created by Italian and Spanish populations) within the wide scope of livestock and agricultural products that are abundant in the country. Argentine annual consumption of beef has averaged 100 kg (220 lbs) per capita, approaching 180 kg (396 lbs) per capita during the 19th century; consumption averaged 67.7 kg (149 lbs) in 2007.Beyond asado (the Argentine barbecue), no other dish more genuinely matches the national identity. Nevertheless, the country’s vast area, and its cultural diversity, have led to a local cuisine of various dishes.”
As I do not eat lots of meat, I only tried a small piece of steak here, but did not take a picture. Here’s a picture from this website:
The author of this article also had a very good description why and how tasty Argentine beef is:
“Live on steak alone, no. But a steak a week is an easy pull in Argentina. Argentine cattle are grass fed (in contrast to more common grain-fed beef typical in the U.S.). As a result, Argentine beef is not only a better taste experience, but also an easier digestive experience. To boot, Argentine steaks are charcoal grilled on a parrilla (i.e. a giant grill, also the word used to denote grill restaurants).
Although Argentine steak is rich and flavorful enough on its own, that doesn’t prevent most restaurants from offering chimichurri, an olive oil and spice rub to pick things up even more. In our opinion, when the meat’s this good, there’s no need to dress it up.”
A friend in our group had tasted the best steak he ever had here. He could testified that.
As mentioned in my posts about food in Chile, we always took beer or wine at meals, since water was nearly the same price. The beer was sweeter, and therefore I did drink it. Otherwise, I usually don’t drink beer. I think we drank beer more than wine in Argentina. The wine in Chile was better, but I am not qualified to evaluate wine. Our friend told us so, and I just followed!
What else was impressive in the Argentine food? Well, I like the empanadas. This is how the Academia Bariloche describes about this popular food in Argentina. “Empanadas, the ubiquitous Latin American savory turnover. Flaky or doughy, empanadas come stuffed with just about anything: spinach, cheese, acelga (Swiss chard), mushrooms, ground beef, chicken, even seafood. On balance, Argentine empanadas are usually baked, but occasionally you’ll find them fried, especially in the north.. Empanadas are the perfect traveller food — they are cheap, quick, high comfort and often oozing with cheesiness.” Indeed it wasn’t too costly. We had eaten quite a bit of empanadas in Argentina, but some were better than others.
Academia Bariloche also has a good description about “The tea houses'” which are another icon of the city.” They offer delicious cakes, hot chocolate, homemade breads and sweets that are part of the ‘snack’ tradition in Bariloche. The tea houses often have spectacular mountain and lake views which create an unforgettable ambience.”
These are some of the sweet snacks or desserts we ate in Argentina. Aren’t they beautiful? They are also very tasty!
Chocolates and ice creams are very popular in Argentina. We did try them all. We found some big chocolate stores offering quite a good variety of chocolates too.
This is my last post on food that I took in my South America trip. It was a very nice trip. Food and lodging did play an important part in making the memory so unforgettable. I will write a few more posts in my other travel blog ““My Notebook”. If you are interested, please go there to find my next post. Meanwhile, enjoy these beautiful food pictures. I am posting them in a slide show here. Enjoy!