Argentine Cuisine, Beyond Asado

(Photo by guido_cc)

One of the most immediate associations people make with Argentina is mmm – meat! And although undoubtedly it is one of the pillars of Argentine cuisine, it is not the only delicacy on the local table. (This is not a post about dulce de leche either.)

Brazilian and Paraguayan influences are ever present in Misiones, a province to the north-east of the country (where the Iguazú Falls are). There, one of the most common ingredients used is cassava from which they bake bread, cakes and make meat stuffed rolls. Many desserts are also made from papaya.

Corn, peppers, quinoa and chayote (a fruit similar to squash) are all part of the cooking repertoire up in Salta and Tucuman, which are also the empanada epicenters of the country!

Further south in the Patagonia region, local specialties include trout, lamb, smoked boar and cheese, as well as delicious boysenberries and raspberries. There is also a typical indigenous dish called curanto in which the food is cooked by wrapping it in tinfoil (originally leaves) and burying it in the ground with hot embers and stones.

In Buenos Aires, many restaurants are aiming at incorporating some of these lesser-known local culinary traditions into the gourmet gastronomic scene. Casa Felix is a self-defined “supper house” that opens several months a year to offer unique Latin American dining experiences. El Baqueano specializes unusual and native meats including ñandú, chinchilla, yacare and more.  Hernán Gipponi also fuses Latin ingredients, such as quinoa and chayote, with Spanish cuisine. And to top it off, there are always great wines to match!

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