Culinary Basics: Argentinian Cuisine

A staple of Argentinian Cuisine is asado, which roughly translates to barbecue.

By Hillary Mason
Credit: Papa Pic / Pxhere

Argentinian cuisine takes Mediterranean culinary tradition and infuses Native American ingredients. It is undeniable that Argentina’s immigration story shapes the nation, which remains influenced by the mass Spanish and Italian migration during the 19th and 20th centuries. Argentinians are hugely passionate people, whose modern-day descendants have lost none of their passion for food.

A staple of Argentinian Cuisine is asado, which roughly translates to barbecue. Yet in Argentina, where there are more cattle than people, barbecue is extreme and it’s literally done for every social event. Meats including beef, pork, chicken, are cooked on large iron grills called a parrilla.

As much as asado represents Argentinian cuisine, the country’s cultural diversity means there is a great depth to the available food. In terms of immigration, Argentina is number two globally with 6.6 million immigrants. This puts it ahead of Canada, and only second to the United States, which has 27 million immigrants. 

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Argentinian Cuisine Hot Pockets

Another staple of Argentinian cuisine is empanadas, meat, cheese, vegetables, or even fruit stuffed dough pocket that can be baked or fried. Empanadas are one of Argentina’s most popular street foods and can even be served as an appetizer. In terms of tradition, empanadas can be traced back to early 16th century, Spanish immigrants. 

One of the best things about Argentinian cuisine and something that has definitely translated from Mediterranean tradition is the use of food in social gatherings. Traditionally, the sharing of food is a symbol of friendship and togetherness, and remains a common act every week, specifically on Sunday’s across Argentina. Within a gathering, you’re likely to find empanadas of all varieties and a vast asado to choose from. 

If food-on-the-go is more your style, cook up a choripán, which is a grilled chorizo sausage, split down the middle, and served as a hot dog on a marraqueta roll. Two things not to miss if you’re sampling a choripán is delicious chimichurri, a spicy sauce like pesto, and extra servings of salsa. 

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Argentinian Cuisine Dishes

Locro: Not all of the Argentinian cuisine is meat-based. Locro is a thick squash stew, traditionally associated with Andean cultures, and still popular throughout South America. 

Provoleta: This is a grilled cheese dish that is popular in Argentina and Uruguay. The cheese, which is pulled-curd provolone, was made by a native Italian in the 1940s. 

Alfajor: A sweet dish that is made by sandwiching sweet fillings between two cookies, before being covered in glazed sugar, chocolate, and grated coconut. Alfajor’s are one of the most popular and common snacks in Argentina today.

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