Eating in Argentina
People from Argentina are known as avid eaters. Food is present in most social gatherings. An invitation to have dinner at home is a classic indication of friendship, and having lunch with your family on Sundays is a sacred tradition.
In Argentina fresh full-flavored food reigns and meals seldom come from a frozen food case in a supermarket. A crucial component of typical Argentine cuisine is beef. Argentina is the country with the second highest consumption rate of beef. The average argentine eats 55kg in a year.
While ordering steak at a restaurant in Argentina, the waiter will ask your preference of cut. “Bife de lomo” means sirloin steak, cut very lean. “Bife de chorizo” is juicier and fattier than “Bife de lomo”. “Vacio” means London Broil. “Matambre” is a fatty flank steak. The waiter will also ask you about the way you want it cooked. If you say “jugoso” your steak will be cooked rare. If you request your steak “al punto” it’ll be done medium rare. If you say “Bien cocido” your steak will be cooked well done.
One national dish that’s present in many social occasions is one called “asado” (barbecue). Typically, the asado starts by burning the charcoal. The charcoal tends to come from national trees, but not from trees with a strong smell such as eucalyptus and pines.
There are two ways to cook an asado. It can be cook “Al asador”, in which case a fire is made on the ground or in “asadores” (metal crosses surrounding a fire pit) that hold the meat so it can get heat from the fire. The other option is to cook it “A la parrilla”, this means making the fire and placing a grill over it after the charcoal had formed. Cooking the meat usually takes around an hour and a half. So, while waiting for the beef to be done, Argentines eat chorizos, black sausages (morcillas), cow chitterlings (Chinchulines) or sweetbread (mollejas). At the end of the gathering, there is always a round of applause to congratulate the person who made the asado for a job well done.
Another common dish in Argentina are empanadas, which are very often served as an entrance but can very well be the main course. Empanadas are made by folding dough around stuffing such as ham, cheese, tuna, vegetables, beef or chicken. In places that serve several types of empanadas, diferent “repulgues” or patterns are added to the pastry fold to indicate the stuffing of the empanada. Arabian empanadas are also popular in Argentina. These ones are filled with beef, tomatoes, onion, and lemon juice.
“Empanadas are the perfect traveler food. They are cheap, quick, high comfort and often oozing with cheesiness”, said expert traveler, Daniel Noll. And he added “Also, keep your eye out for Arabic empanadas. When done well, they offer a new set of flavors to wake up tired taste buds”.
After a delicious meal, Argentines, like Mediterranean people, love to have a good cup of coffee.