Whenever one talks about food in Argentina, our slow-cooked style bbq (asado) with tons of meat is probably the first thing that comes to mind; dining at one of the many parrillas (bbq steak houses) is no doubt high up on every visitor’s to-do list. However, there are a lot more to the Argentine cuisine than just juicy bife de lomo con puré de papa. In fact, while you can find similar food on offer all over Argentina, when you go deeper in exploring, the differences are in the details.
If you go to the south in the Patagonia region, lamb (cordero) will always be one of the staples on their grill at the parrillas because that’s their specialty. However, don’t count on it when you are in central Argentina, say in Buenos Aires city, where lamb may not even be available on the menu for many typical eateries. Another good example would be empanadas. You can find them literally everywhere but it is the mix of ingredients in the filling that makes them regionally unique. In the area of Cordoba, you would find raisins in them and sugar sprinkled on the wrapping to give them some sweetness. In Tucuman, locals also like to use raisins in their empanadas. In the region of Salta, you would find boiled potatoes and peas mixed in the filling. In the central part, it is common to have boiled eggs and olives in the beef empanadas. Since fish and lamb are regularly consumed in the Patagonia region, you will find versions of empanadas with these ingredients.
In the capital city of Buenos Aires, there are more and more regional specific restaurants opened up, you just have to pay attention to their names. So even if you don’t get to travel to every corner of Argentina (it IS a big and long country), you will still get to taste and appreciate the subtle variations in the seemingly similar dishes with a regional touch.
To find out which region is famous for what type of dishes, we came across this great infographic which will guide you on your gastronomic adventure in Argentina! It is in Spanish so get your dictionary out and read on: