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In a city where inhabitants are reported to eat 100kg of beef per capita each year, you could be forgiven for thinking Buenos Aires is a one-trick pony. Although famed for its ‘asado’ meat dishes (it’s not called Argentine BBQ for nothing), Buenos Aires offers visitors a rich and diverse culture of food. Melt in your mouth empanadas, sweet and sticky dulce de leche, and mouth-wateringly tender BBQ steak are just the beginning in this capital where Italian, Creole and Spanish traditions combine to create a unique food culture all of its own. Different spices, tastes, textures and smells overwhelm, as you attempt to eat your way through the city. Here are some local specialities that you should be sure to try.
The Argentinians really know how to do desserts. Try these sweet treats for some holiday indulgence.
Dulce de Leche – literally “candy of milk”, this much-loved sweet is like smooth, spreadable caramel. Argentinians use it on cakes, biscuits, breads and in desserts like crème caramel and it will challenge even the most experienced sugar addict. Which brings us to…..
Crème Caramel – really called “flan de dulce de leche” by locals, this is a sweet flan made from custard flavoured with dulce de leche. Bring your sweet tooth.
Medialunas – like sugary croissants, these are a popular breakfast dish all over Argentina. Have yours in a café with a Café Con Leche (that’s a milk coffee for those of us who struggle with Spanish).
Prepare yourself for an onslaught of delicious tender meats, sold by takeaways, restaurants and street vendors on every corner. After all, the streets of Buenos Aires are permeated with the delicious smells of BBQ for a reason. Maybe leave the vegetarians at home.
Asado – we would be remiss not to include this Argentine tradition on the list. The national dish of Argentina, the asado is really less a dish and more a way of cooking. Generally asado is beef alongside various other meats cooked on a grill (called a parrilla). Not for the vegetarians amongst us, this Argentine tradition will please the meat lovers in your life.
Empanadas – there are regional variations of this much-loved dish all over Argentina and South America generally, including filling of olives, onions, meats, cheese and fruit. Buenos Aires tradition is to have these delicious pastries stuffed with beef, mondongo (tripe) and chicken, with flavours such as cumin and paprika dominating. They are sold all over the city usually in take way establishments, where the filling type is noted by different patterns in the pastry fold. This should help you avoid the tripe when you wanted chicken, though it might pay to learn to say “carne, carne” to ensure you get what you’re asking for!
Pizza, Pizza….wait, aren’t we in South America?
Thanks to the Italian influence in Buenos Aires there is a stall, restaurant or shop front that sells pizza on just about every corner. Forget what you know about thin based Italian pizza, with its sparse toppings and a focus on simplicity and embrace the new. Pizza here is thick and very cheesy with toppings are added after baking, giving a delicious mix of melted cheese and fresh toppings for balance. Maybe not one for the diet conscious.