There are two factors that characterize the food of Argentina. First, Argentina food and eating habits have a lot of European culinary influence, especially from the Mediterranean region. Secondarily, Argentina is a very rich country agriculturally so you’ll find a wide, healthy variety of meats and vegetable. You won’t find a lot of empty calories and bland recipes.
These two factors mean that you’ll find a lot of food that’s somewhat similar to what you’re probably used to if you’re from North America. Argentine food might be compared in some ways to the cuisine of Brazil but definitely not the cuisine of Mexico.
Argentina is famous for its beef exports but they eat a lot of it too. The most popular way of cooking it is what they call ‘asada’ or barbequed. They don’t use many spices…typically only salt to bring out the flavour of the meat.
One of the sweeter foreign influences in Argentine food is the popularity of Italian style ‘gelato’…..i.e. Italian style ice-cream. This style of ice-cream is very tasty but if you’re watching calories you’ll be glad to know that it doesn’t have as much fat content as American style ice-cream. It’s still very popular and very tasty.
On the subject of sugar and sweetness and such….Argentines definitely have a sweet tooth. They love their deserts. Many of their pastries are very similar to German or European pastries and they often have wonderful fillings too. It’s remarkable that Argentines don’t have a national epidemic of diabetes but perhaps all that sugar is counterbalanced by all the red wine they drink.
Even though Argentina has a long coastline on the Atlantic Ocean so you won’t find as much fish in their diet as you’d expect. They do eat fish and in certain regions they cook it up quite well but it’s not a mainstay of their diet like it is in some other Latin American countries or in the US or Mediterranean countries.
Pizza is very popular in Argentina but there’s a big difference. The crust is much thicker than in the US or in Europe. You’ll find it in up-scale and working class neighbourhoods and it’s even sold by the meter in many shops.
Along with Pizza, you’ll also notice that Argentines eat huge amounts of pasta. One difference between the way they eat it and North Americans do is that they enjoy copious amounts of sauce…..sometimes red-meat based sauces but also pesto and crème sauces are appreciated too.
Another tasty item, although not totally unique to Argentina, is Empanadas. Most people who try Empanadas love them. Essentially they’re little crescent shaped fried pies, usually filled with some type of meat but they can also have cheese or even different types of vegetables in them too. They’re fried mostly but some cooks have ways of baking them. They make great snacks or they can be the basis of whole meals.
Argentines have a large dairy industry but they don’t guzzle milk like some Americans do. Their dairy industry is more oriented toward cheese, cream and similar dairy products. They do love their wine though.
The Argentine wine industry is well positioned in the global market. Many Argentine wines are exported and very popular abroad but nevertheless the Argentines drink a lot of it too. Their wine making expertise comes, of course, from European immigrants many years ago.
Part of the reason wine making is so successful in Argentina is because of the country’s climate but even in areas where the climate is not particularly conducive to winemaking, the Argentines have worked around it with technology. In certain drier parts of the country irrigation has turned the whole countryside in wine vineyards.
All in all, anybody going to Argentina for vacation will definitely not lose weight. You’ll eat very well. Luckily, food prices in Argentina are very reasonable so you can afford to try as many of their unique and delicious items as you want.