Absolute Best Argentinian Food Dishes
Tango, steak, wine, glaciers, beaches, soccer. Is there anything Argentina doesn't have? Probably not, which is why you should book flights to this South American country as soon as you can.
Despite its many, many attributes, Argentinian food is one of the best things the country has to offer. Even if you can't book a flight, you can trick your tastebuds into thinking you're right in Mendoza sipping wine as a Sunday BBQ cooks.
These are the most delicious, mouthwatering, life-changing Argentinian food dishes you can eat.
Humita dates back to pre-Columbian times. Its main ingredient is corn, which is native to the Americas.
To make it, corn kernels are grated and then mixed with milk and spices to make a paste. The paste is then wrapped in a corn husk and boiled.
This delicious and autochthonous dish is most popular in northern Argentina.
A picada is basically a starter dish that combines several types of finger foods. It's usually served at family reunions while people talk and walk around before lunch or dinner is served.
Usually, different types of meats and cheeses as well as vegetables that can be eaten raw are included.
While not the most unique dish, picadas form an important part of Argentinian social life.
Tamales are similar to humita, and a version of them can be found in many Latin American countries, all the way up to Mexico.
They differ from humita in that they usually include minced meat. Argentinean tamales also have hard-boiled eggs and squash.
The process might be similar, but the end result is quite different.
If you see a panchuker street food stall, drop everything you're doing and try it. This delicious snack is kind of like a giant corn dog that doesn't taste like a corn dog.
With panchuker, a sausage is covered in a waffle-like pastry that is deep-fried and put on a stick so you can eat it without getting burnt.
Some versions also have cheese fillings.
26. Cazuela de Llama
For those curious to try llama meat, cazuela de llama is one of the best options Argentina has.
Besides meat, this hearty stew has potatoes, rice, carrots and other vegetables. Creams are added for flavor, and the entire dish is simmered until the ingredients are soft and tender.
Another delicious traditional soup is guiso. It also contains meat and vegetable, with potatoes, tomatoes, corn and pumpkin being common ingredients.
But what makes guiso stand out is that it also includes pasta. The combination is unusual for those who haven't had it before, but the added texture makes the soup incredibly delicious.
24. Arabian Empanadas
This particular type of empanada has little to do with traditional Argentinian empanadas, which we'll get to later.
Rather than being closed half-moon shape bites, Arabian empanadas are triangles with the center exposed so you can see the savory filling made with meat (usually lamb or ground beef), peppers, tomatoes and onions.
A bit of lemon juice and spices are added for a pinch of contrast.
23. Colchon de Arvejas
Literally meaning "pea mattress," this vegetarian dish combines sauteed vegetables with whole eggs on top. Peas are, of course, the main ingredient, with tomatoes, peppers, carrots, potatoes and other vegetables complementing them.
The eggs are cooked along with vegetables until they're thoroughly cooked. Meat lovers often make their own version by adding sausages cut into bits.
From the late 19th century to mid-20th century, Argentina welcomed an influx of Italian immigrants who changed the country's gastronomy forever. This legacy can be seen in dishes like sorrentina, in case the name hadn't already tipped you off.
Taking inspiration from ravioli, sorrentina is a stuffed pasta filled with ricotta, vegetables or ham. Like pasta, it's eaten with different sauces depending on your mood.
21. Revuelto de Gramajo
If you've drank wine into the night and find yourself nursing a nasty hangover in the morning, Argentinians will always recommend getting a revuelto de gramajo.
This delicious hangover food is quite simple: fried potatoes, ham, and scrambled eggs mixed and cooked together.
However simple, the dish is definitely effective at bringing you back to life after a night out.
A staple of Argentinian BBQs (we'll also get to that later), matambre translates to "hunger killer." And it certainly does what it promises.
The meat dish consists of thin cuts of beef that are stuffed with hard-boiled eggs and vegetables, then rolled into spirals and grilled. It's usually eaten as an appetizer while the main meat is being grilled during a BBQ.
19. Matambre a la Pizza
An absolutely genius though definitely unhealthy version of matambre gets the thin meat and grills it, then tops it with cheese and tomato sauce to make it into a kind of pizza where meat is the dough.
Like pizza, toppings vary by taste, though popular ones include ham, olives, peppers and more cheese.
To make it even heavier, french fries are often served on the side.
18. Costillas de Cerdo a la Riojana
Beef doesn't get all of the attention in Argentinian cuisine. In this dish, pork ribs shine. And because (as you've probably noticed) Argentines like things topped and greasy, this dish will leave you unable to walk for a couple of hours. But you'll be happy with your life choices.
The grilled pork ribs are topped with fried potatoes or French fries, vegetables like strips of pepper and onion, and runny eggs.
Sometimes strips of bacon or ham are added since pork, eggs and French fries aren't greasy enough.
17. Centolla Fueguina
Let's also highlight some amazing seafood, given that Argentina has an extensive coastline.
Made with spider crab, centolla fueguina is cooked over low heat with onions, butter and cream until it's very tender. It's usually served immediately, so, especially in Argentina, it'll always be fresh.
This dish comes from Tierra del Fuego, a province also nicknamed the End of the World, because it is the southernmost province in the country and is in close proximity to Antarctica.
Another dish inspired by Argentina's Italian legacy, provoleta is a version of provolone cheese.
The cheese is sliced into disks, sprinkled with condiments like herbs and chili, then grilled until it's gooey on the inside and crisp on the outside. If that doesn't sound like heaven to you, then you simply have no taste.
Accompany it with chimichurri sauce for even more flavor.
As with provoleta, Argentinians took focaccia bread and made it their own. Fugazzeta is a pizza stuffed with mozzarella and topped with baked onions.
The most traditional version only contains onions, but there are also variations that include vegetables and ham.
14. Miga Sandwich
Sanduche de Miga, or crumb sandwiches, are served on crustless bread and layered. These perfect small snack sandwiches also can be used as finger foods at social gatherings.
The fillings can be absolutely anything, though the most typical one is ham and cheese with mayo.
Once winter comes around, there's nothing like a hot bowl of locro to warm you up.
The stew is made with squash at its base and includes white corn, chorizo, pepper, beef and pork. Spices like paprika or chili are sometimes added to make it even more hearty and delicious.
12. Milanesas a la Napolitana
Maria Von Trapp loved her schnitzel with noodles, and Argentineans love their milanesas, especially milanesas a la Napolitana.
Milanesas consist of breaded meat that is pan-fried. The "Napolitan" variation tops the meat with tomato sauce, ham and cheese. Then it's browned in an oven.
11. Trucha a la Parilla
Another delicious seafood dish is trucha a la parilla. Put quite simply, it's grilled trout that is marinated with lemon juice and spices.
The trout has to be fresh for it to taste the way it's supposed to, and grill masters show off their skills by knowing exactly when the trout is crispy enough to be ready without burning it.
10. Papas Fritas a Caballo
Fans of poutine will probably like this dish, whose name literally means, French fries on a horse.
Don't worry, there are no actual horses involved. The name is given because the French fries are "ridden" by two fried eggs.
To eat the dish correctly, get the fries and dip them straight into the eggs.
Ñoquis are one of the most common pastas in Argentina and another dish that highlights the country's Italian heritage.
As with any type of pasta, there are numerous variations for meats and sauces. But what makes ñoquis truly stand out is that they are part of an Argentinian tradition that consists of consuming them on the 29th of each month.
In leap years, the tradition is even more special.
Another Argentinian soup that will have you calling your grandmother before you even finish is carbonada.
The stew's main ingredients are not surprising: corn, carrots, potatoes, peppers and meats. But it also contains fruits like pears, green grapes and apricots as well as bacon. The most special part is that it's served in a hollowed pumpkin half and then baked.
Eaten all together, the taste is unexpected in the best of possible ways.
A kind of sweet sandwich, alfajores are made with two cookies held together by a filling, most often made with dulce de leche and garnished with powdered sugar, chocolate or coconut flakes.
We are not exaggerating when we say your life will never be the same after tasting this dessert.
6. Patagonian Lamb
Just because it's remote doesn't mean that Patagonia isn't also fiercely Agentinian. The proof? This amazing spitted lamb BBQ that is worth going all the way to Patagonia for.
To make it, the meat is soaked in water for six to 12 hours, leaving it extremely tender. It is then stretched out on a spit made specifically for this dish and served with freshly baked bread.
Argentineans love their sandwiches, and none is perhaps as famous or as beloved as choripan. The word is a mix of chorizo and pan, which means bread. And this food item is exactly that: French bread with chorizo inside. Chimichurri is added on top so that it's not too dry.
This is a favorite snack you'll find in any Argentinian restaurant and is usually eaten as a snack during soccer games.
You can find empanadas all over South America, but each country has their own version of the fried stuffed dough dish.
In Argentina, empanadas are small and the stuffing is less rigid than in other countries. You can put virtually anything in it as long as it combines, which sets these empanadas apart from countries like Colombia where the fillings are limited to meats, cheeses and potato.
Argentinian empanadas are crispy and then have to be pressed with an outer rim that adds texture to each crunchy bite.
3. Dulce de Leche
Dulce de leche can be found in several countries, but it's Argentina's most important sweet.
The creamy paste is made with milk and sugar and has countless purposes. It can be eaten by the spoonful on its own, used as filling for desserts and cakes (like alfajores), or made into a dip for fruits, crackers and other foods.
We usually wouldn't include drinks on a food roundup, but to not include mate would be to spit on the very spirit of Argentina.
It's hard to explain just how absolutely important mate is to every day life in the country (as well as for neighboring Uruguay). The drink is a kind of tea made with yerba mate and is always drunk out of a special container (also called a mate) that has a metal straw.
Every single person in the country has their own matera, which they carry around everywhere, from work to the beach. But any type of social gathering also consists of passing the matera around from person to person in a rite that builds community.
Mate is a bit too bitter for most first-timers, but the more you drink it, the more you'll like it.
You already knew barbecue would be number one on here. Argentina is one of the best countries in the world for BBQ, with Argentinian grills being the most common kind of restaurants that serve the country's cuisine.
Asados usually include a gigantic list of different cuts of meats, starting with things like matambre and parillas, which include intestines, tripes and other offal. The main dish is a plate filled with meats like pork ribs, blood sausages, grilled steak and sausages all salted and grilled to utter perfection. For good measure, bread, French fries and the occasional simple salad are offered on the side.
Like mate, asados aren't just about the food. Traditionally, families gather every single Sunday for an asado, making this food an important part of the fabric of society.