Popular Argentine Food Staples
1. Medialunas: A versatile food that can be an entire breakfast meal, an afternoon snack, a complement to your coffee, and something to grab along the way to class, these delicious pastries are an Argentine staple. Soon enough, eating a medialuna seems less like indulging in a half-croissant (and the calories that come with it) and more like satisfying a cultural norm. It also helps that you can spot at least five panaderías selling medialunas on every other street …
2. Empanadas: Empanadas are a godsend to the thrifty traveler, the young professional’s budget, and
the Argentine on-the-go. These stuffed puff pastries satisfy your newfound cravings for artery-clogging foods and your empty stomach, all in one! There are varieties ranging from ham and cheese to cheese and vegetables to … cheese and onions! Cheese likes to get around here, it seems.
3. Ham & Cheese: And speaking of cheese, ham and cheese is another must-have in Argentina. It’s the peanut butter to their jelly. You can find ham and cheese sandwiches, ham and cheese empanadas, ham and cheese on your pizza … the list goes on. Vegetarians, beware.
4. Meat: Ah, meat. The pride of Argentina. Whether it’s steak or choripan, an asado or a parilla, meat is the food that reigns supreme. Once again, vegetarians should note that outside the vegetarian restaurants in Palermo, they’ll be seen as something to be conquered. Refuse a piece of steak at a dinner party and state that you’re vegetarian, and you’ll be met with “That’s okay. Now try some of this Argentinean meat!” And with good reason. The forays I have made into un-vegetarianism thus far have proven greasy and heavy, but tasty nonetheless.
5. Coffee and Mate: Between these two drinks, you will never be at a loss for caffeine or
something to sip while you spend the afternoon chatting at a café or grazing on the grass. The coffee here is delicious – even without milk and sugar – and buying the burnt-tasting and more expensive Starbucks version will earn you many dirty looks. If you’re looking to pretend you’re kicking your coffee habits to the curb for the day, switching over to mate will do the trick. You’ll get the same energy boost you need (minus the sensation of satisfying an addiction, of course) and you’ll be indulging in a rich Argentine tradition!
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