Food is crucial to Latin American culture; it is a part of their identity. Argentina is a highly regarded culinary destination, with some truly superb dishes worth tasting. Both restaurants and cafés offer traditional Argentinian food in every single neighborhood of Buenos Aires.
A trip to Buenos Aires, or any other Argentinian city for that matter, would simply not be complete without tasting some of their mouth-watering delicacies. Next, find a list of must-try dishes considered traditional Argentinian food, and add them to your list:
Commonly referred to as parrilla, grilled meat is an absolute favorite dish among locals. Argentinian meat is considered one of the best in the world, and there are very few places where you can enjoy premium cuts at low prices. This national dish apparently was invented by cowboys (gauchos) and it is an absolute delight.
This traditional Argentinian food is generally served as a main course with fries, potatoes or sweet potatoes wrapped in aluminum, foil and placed over hot coal and slow cooked at the parrillero or outdoor grill. Several animal meat can be cooked in this way: you can have grilled cow, pork, sheep, lamb or even boar meat.
Also, make sure you taste other popular edible organs—normally cooked in the same way—such as chorizo (pork or beef sausage), choto (chitterlings), morcilla (blood pudding), molleja (sweetbread), chinchulín or salchicha parrillera (sausage).
Definitely a local delicacy, this condiment (also considered a sauce) is normally placed over meat and provides extraordinary flavor to any meal. It is mostly made out of from finely chopped oregano, parsley and spices, chili pepper flakes, garlic and onion with olive oil and a touch of acidic vinegar or lemon.
This dressing is placed over grilled meat and other savory foods all over the country. Make sure you try beef with this sauce or use it to give even more flavor to black bean salad.
Immigration—and especially Italian immigration—has significantly influenced Argentinian culture and, naturally, its cuisine. Several traditional Argentinian dishes are inspired on Italian foods, as is provoleta. This local variant of provolone cheese is cooked on the grill until nearly melted and topped with herbs, such as oregano or chili flakes, olive oil and chimichurri.
Dulce de leche
Argentina is known for much more than just its meat. Local cows also produce high-quality dairy products, used to create all sorts of delicious dishes, such as dulce de leche (caramelized milk). This traditional Argentinian food is made mostly out of milk, sugar and vanilla, and tastes heavenly. Desserts such as flan, alfajores (layered minicake) or Rogel (layered cake) normally have dulce de leche. This ingredient is highly popular and can be found in most cafés and restaurants. You can also buy jars to take home with you.
This crumbly shortbread biscuit filled with either dulce de leche, chocolate or jam is a traditional Argentinian food, created by Arabs, taught to Spaniards, who then, after invading Latin American lands in the 1500s, passed the recipe down to Argentinians. Locals have perfected this mouth-watering delicacy.
Empanadas are a popular dish, not only in Argentina but also in the rest of Latin America. It was passed on also by Arabs and Spaniards. This pastry is stuffed with different flavors, such as sweet potato, spicy minced meat, cheese, spinach and even dulce de leche, and is absolutely delicious. Stuffing varies from country to country, and they can be either fried or baked.
This savory beef dish is an absolutely traditional Argentinian food and a must-try when in Buenos Aires. This slice of beef is stuffed with hard boiled eggs, herbs, vegetables and olives, furled, boiled and later thinly sliced. It is frequently accompanied by boiled or grilled potatoes and it is extremely tasty.
Yerba mate is a very popular caffeinated drink, consumed not only in Argentina but also in Uruguay and a few Brazilian cities. It is used to prepare mate, a herbal bitter drink. An average Argentinian consumes at least 5 kilos of yerba mate each year.
This herb is made out of dried and grounded leaves of the yerba mate plant. To prepare mate, grounded leaves are simply placed into a small container and hot water is poured over them. Once you do so, simply drink the contents through a metal straw known as bombilla. This drink is shared among friends and family.
This outstanding traditional Argentinian food is actually consumed in other parts of Latin America as well. Choripán consists of grilled buttered beef or pork chorizo, placed inside a bun of bread and spiced with ketchup, mayonnaise and even chimichurri sauce. It is normally sold by streets carts and can also include additional falvors such as caramelized onions, green peppers and eggplants.
This meat stew is a traditional Argentinian food, enjoyed during the coldest months of the year. It is made out of meat, sweet and white potatoes, corn, carrots, peppers and bacon, as well as with fruits such as dried apricots, raisins, pears, green grapes and peaches.
This delicious mix is then stuffed into a hollowed out pumpkin and barbecued. Depending on the region of the country you are, the type of Carbonada you can find.
Cuisine is as much a part of Argentina—and Buenos Aires—as every monument ever built in the country is, so you cannot have a complete experience unless you enjoy traditional Argentinian food.
Now that you have uncovered the best traditional Argentinian dishes, under no circumstance should you leave the country without tasting at least some of these traditional foods.