Argentine cuisine: the best regional dishes

September 18, 2019

Argentine cuisine is not just meat and asado, but also ravioles, pizza, pan casero ... every region has its own delicious typical dishes!

Cooking asado in Argentina

What to eat in Argentina? The answer is: mainly meat! If it is true that a country's culture is best understood through its cuisine, you'll find out that, due to past migrations, Argentine cuisine is somewhat similar to Spanish and Italian cuisine, almost Mediterranean but with red meat in addition. Horse meat is not common, since the horse is considered as a pet, so beef is generally preferred.

Of course, given the extension of the territory, Argentine cuisine varies from region to region.

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Typical dishes

The most famous dish in Argentina is the asado, the dish of the gaucho. It's roast on the grill, cooked in several forms. There is parrilla or parrillada, there is asado en cruz (on the spit), the chulengo, typical of Patagonia and the steppes. Besides meat, used in various cuts, animals' entrails, sauces and grilled vegetables are commonly used. Meat, once is ready, is seasoned with chimichurri, a special green sauce.

Asado in Argentina.
The typical Argentinian asado.

Argentinian bread is usually in the box. Miga bread is white, made with refined wheat flour. There is also pan casero, homemade in brick ovens, similar to Naples bread. Pan francés, influenced by French gastronomy, is also quite common.

The ravioles, squared and enriched with béchamel and tuco sauce, are influenced by the Italian cuisine, but stuffed with cow meat, ricotta or spinach, with a sprinkling of grated Argentine cheese. The canelones, the tarteletis (tortellini) and the capeletis (cappelletti) are also of Italian influence. Lasaña is similar to Italian lasagna, but is cooked with tuco and sometimes with béchamel, then stuffed with ham, cheese and walnuts.

In Argentina there is also, of course, pizza, very similar to Neapolitan pizza, sometimes with the addition of slices of pineapple. Try pizza twisted like an ice cream cone. In the north-east of the country cassava pizza is also common.

A typical Argentinian dessert to taste during your trip is dulce de leche, a cream to spread on bread and biscuits or to eat directly with the spoon.

Another delicacy to taste in Argentina is tortillas, similar to omelettes. A very common Creole variety is tortilla de papas, potato tortilla.

Geographical differences and different recipes, north to south

Since the territory of Argentina extends over 2,700,000 kilometers, it is easy to understand that according to the regions, the cuisine varies considerably. Also the climate from north to south varies a lot, from temperate to hot and cold, and this influences the preference of food to be consumed and the availability of food products. As a result, in terms of cuisine, we can divide Argentina into four parts.

The Northeast

The north-east of Argentina presents a gastronomy influenced by the Guaranì tradition, which prefers the consumption of river fish. The typical dishes that you will commonly find are mbejú, cassava starch cake, and chupín, a dish of fish and potatoes.

Mbejù is a traditional cassava cake.

The center

The central region is the one most influenced by Italian and Spanish gastronomy. It consumes a lot of meat, also because of the pampas, where the myth of the gaucho was born, whose favorite dish par excellence is the asado.

Typical Asado in Argentina
Asado: the gaucho's favourite dish!

Cuyo and Northwest

The cuisine of the north-west, although presenting influences of Spanish cuisine, is more influenced by the Andean and pre-Columbian culture. Here they eat empanadas, pastel de choclo, cabra with miel and quesillos. The Andean region of Cuyo is also renowned for the production of wines and for the production of biscuits.

Argentine pastel de choclo: typical dish
Pastel de choclo is popular in the north-western region.

The South and Patagonia

In Patagonia mainly fish and seafood dishes are eaten. You eat both sea fish, on the coasts, and river fish, including trout and salmon. Given the presence of many German immigrants, there are also desserts and jams similar to those of central Europe.

Patagonia typical dish
Fish recipes are common in Patagonia.

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