Buenos Aires, also known as the “Paris of South America” and the “City that never sleeps” offers a lot – from culture to nature to sports – you can find everything in this amazing city and for sure the gastronomic sector as well is one of the aspects, that makes this city so fabulous. From typical Argentine restaurants to five star gourmet temples, Buenos Aires has it all, but as in every big city, “insider” places exist, where you can find delicious food at (compared to the restaurants) really cheap prices.
1. Enjoying a Bondiola in Costanera Sur:
The Costanera Sur is part of the Buenos Aires coastline, mostly a long pedestrian walkway, situated next to the Ecological Reserve and along side the most modern neighborhood Puerto Madero. There are many reasons why you should visit the Costanera Sur, but what you should never miss is eating a BONDIOLA (pork shoulder) sandwich. Just choose one of the numerous bbq food stands which line up along the Costanera and order it. After receiving a big piece of juicy meat in a toasted white bread, you can start to add different kinds of condiments which are offered on a big long table next to the stand. From salad to crisps and tomatoes, and a huge selection of sauces including chimichurri and the famous salsa criolla. You will find everything you desire. The only thing you have to do now is to sit down on a sunny place and be happy that you can enjoy a delicious sandwich for just 18 pesos (as of April 2013).
2. Hamburgers and Panchos at Nac & Pop
Spread all over the city you will find little to medium sized snack stands called Nac & Pop (which stands for “Nacional y Popular” – national and popular). Open 24 hours all year long where you can just go in and order whatever you want: different types of hamburgers to panchos (hot dogs) and even omeletes (until 12nn.). Other than their hard-to-beat low prices (as of July 2013, individual items range from AR$10&up, to complete meal with drinks at ~AR$30!), the other fun thing about this place is that all their menu items are named after famous or scandalous Argentines (mostly musicians). Food are made very quickly (properly much faster than any of the McD or BK in Buenos Aires), so you shouldn’t have to wait long. But just in case, they also blast Argentine rock music to keep you entertained.
3. Empanadas everywhere
Empanadas are probably the most famous snack in Argentina. You can find empanadas literaly every corner you go, at any pizzerías (pizza shops), empanaderías (empanada shops) or panaderías (bakeries). There are so many different types of this little stuffed pastry but the most famous one is the empanada de carne a cuchillo, which are filled with beef (thinly chopped), onion, olives, and herbs. There are vegetarian ones too. Most of the places that sell them would have at least 4-5 options for you to choose from. Some also offer oven-baked or fried versions. One of the best things of buying empanadas is that you can just buy 1 to go if that’s all you want to eat. As of July 2013, the price is running somewhere between AR$6.50 – Ar$7.50 each. There’s always a better deal when buying by the dozen but that varies by places.
4. Choripan at any open grill
Among everything, for me the most delicious and cheapest way to satisfy my hunger is a choripan, which is chorizo (a spectacular Argentine sausage) sandwiched between a toasted pan (bread, usually white and ‘french-bread-like’) and topped generously with chimichurri (a typical Argentine parsley-based sauce). You can smell them supertanning on the grill from far far away, which is not very helpful when you are very hungry, but later when you take the first bite into this piece of heaven you know, that it was sooo worth it for the wait. There are many choripan stands scattered around the city. You can be found them at the Costanera Sur, in the parks of Palermo and Recoleta, but for me as a former Chori-Junkie (i had to go to rehab to curb my consumption) the best choripan I ever had was in San Telmo. If you visit the San Telmo market on Sundays (which is a must) make sure to look for “El Rey de Chori” on the corner of Defensa and Mexico street. It is a make-shift asado in a parking lot. Their grill is as big as my apartment full of chorizos. The live music and the mixed crowd of Argentines and tourists make this place my favourite go-to place for choripan (still to this day).