Sarah’s Snapshots – Traditional Argentinian Food

A large aspect of Argentinian culture revolves around food. Typically family or friend gatherings revolve around a meal, and I have yet to go to an event without at least biscuits or mate (mah-te) being there. In fact, there are so many different types of Argentinian food that I can’t write about it all in just one post.

Argentinian food is meat-centred, with the most famous and typically Argentinian meal being asado. Also very common is pasta. It has taken a little bit of time to get used to the lack of vegetables found in meals. Salads are sometimes served with meals like asado and milanesa, but on the whole a lot less than the New Zealand diet. I have met one or two vegetarians here, but they are grossly outnumbered.

Obviously the asado was going to make it onto this Argentinian food list. Asado, an Argentinian barbecue, is made with a variety of meat from different animals, and as I have discovered a variety of different parts of the animal as well.

Obviously the asado was going to make it onto this Argentinian food list. Asado, an Argentinian barbecue, is made with a variety of meat from different animals, and as I have discovered a variety of different parts of the animal as well.

Traditional Asado in Rosario, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

While at a family gathering a few months ago I got to try a more traditional asado, with an open fire and the meat hung up on asadores (metal crosses) nearby to cook. The meat doesn’t touch the fire, but is cooked by the heat of the coals.

Meals are an important time, and in social gatherings can last hours. A few weeks ago at the birthday lunch of a host cousin, we started the meal around midday or 1 and were at the table drinking and talking past 6pm. Here in Argentina, the meal is the event.

Homemade pasta in Paraná, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

One of my host cousins making pasta for a birthday lunch. It was incredibly tasty! First, she cut the dough into long strips. Then, she flattened them by cranking them through the device in the photo, and finally she used the device to cut them into thin strips.

Homemade pasta on a rack, Parana, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

After she cut the pasta into strips, she hung it on a rack to stop it from sticking. When she finished cutting all the pasta, she took it outside in a massive pot to cook.

Drinking is also very common, from night clubs to asado lunches. It is common for kids and teens to drink alongside their parents, and there are a wide range of Argentinian wines, beers, and liquors.

Traditional Argentinian Food - Fernet con coca cola. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Alcohol is a common part of Argentinian culture, and a normal drink is Fernet con coca – a mixture of Fernet, which is a bitter, aromatic spirit, and coca cola.

Cork, Parana, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

When they opened the champagne bottle at my host cousin’s birthday, the cork popped and fell into my lap. I was later told that this meant I was going to marry. Though, to be honest I’m not sure if they meant I was going to be the NEXT to marry or just that I would eventually be married.

Argentinian food can also be starch-intensive. Bread is normally served in a basket at restaurants, and eaten as a snack at home. One of my favourite snacks (though I prefer to use rice crackers over bread) is ham and cheese on bread.

Bread in Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Bread, or pan in Spanish, that we bought from the bakery next door to our house. Choripán, bread with chorizo, is a very common Argentinian food.

Corn in Rosario, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

While on a trip to Rosario to visit an exchange friend, I got to visit her host family’s farm, including their corn field. A use for corn here is Harina de maíz, where the corn is ground up into an orange flour-like powder, cooked, and then eaten with sauce and cream.

Empanadas in Santa Fe, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Empanadas are pastries filled with carne (meat), jamón y queso (ham and cheese), and a variety of other fillings.

A Traditional Argentinian Food - Milanesas. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Milanesas are breaded and fried meats, normally chicken or beef. We cook them in the oven, and I’ve eaten them countless times already.

Do you have a favourite Argentinian food? What new item will you try first?

This post will link up at Weekend Blog Party at Sincerely Paula, Saturday Snapshots at West Metro Mommy Reads, and Sunday’s in My City at the Unknown Mami.

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  1. says

    Milanesas sound liked crumbed schnitzel in New Zealand. I’m not sure which I like better, empanadas or asado (I have tried both in NZ). Happy food fest!

  2. says

    oh my goodness all of that looks so good, Argentinian food is something I’ve wanted to explore for quite some time, my mother’s grandfather was from Cordoba in Argentina.

  3. says

    Those pictures look absolutely amazing! I’ve never tried Argentinian food before- but your pictures certainly make me want to try some.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  4. says

    Once you have tasted steak cooked the Argentinian way it is hard to go back to steak the way we cook it in NZ and Oz. If Sth America were closer D and I would pop over there regularly just for the food. If you think the Argentinians don’t eat a lot of veggies try going to Uruguay. As far as I could see they don’t eat any at all.

  5. says

    It would be tough for a vegetarian there. I’d be willing to try every dish at least once. There are also European cultures where drinking is just part of the meal and a way of life.

  6. Marcelle says

    We were offered Mate several times from total strangers when we were hitchhiking. Quite a habit (and taste) to get used to. I didn’t see much of a difference between the Argentinian Asado, the American barbecue, the German grill and the South African Braai though 😉

  7. says

    Everything looks so good! I’d especially like to try the bread with chorizo in it. If I was the one over there – I’d be as big as a house already!

  8. says

    That is an almost overwhelming amount of delicious food. How could anyone be a vegetarian in Argentina, lol. I wouldn’t have thought pasta to popular there, it almost sounds like an Italian meal with the kids drinking and it being an hours long family affair. Asado meaning roast should help me remember the term for bbq. Man, I’m gonna throw a turkey burger in a pan with some mushrooms right now, hardly seems fair, lol. Yum, great food photos.

  9. says

    Wow Sarah, now I can’t wait to bring you back next year so you can share some of these treats with me. It looks like you are eating quite well. Love your photos.

  10. says

    I have a friend from Argentina and she was telling me about all the different kinds of meat there. I love meat, so I’m sure I’d eat my way through my trip, but I do see how it would be a struggle for vegetarians!

  11. Guy McLaren says

    The Asado is very much like the South African Braai, In my lifetime I have barbecued everything from vegetables to Crocodile meat and pork bellies

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