The Choripan: A True Argentine Staple

(Photo by longhorndave)

Eating a choripan on your trip to Argentina is mandatory if you truly want to know what the locals are all about.

What is a choripan? It’s grilled chorizo sausage (that’s the chori bit) in a bun (the pan).

This caloric and flavorful sandwich is frequently an asado appetizer, a construction worker or taxi drivers lunch, a football game hunger killer (for the cheering crowds),  and a political gift for attendees at rallies and events. As those who know Argentina can testify to, a very local picture.

So where can you get a choripan? Basically anywhere in the city! In a parrilla of course, outside football matches, along side the costanera in front of Aeroparque, in Palermo close to the Planetarium, alongside the ecological reserve, at the San Telmo fair, the Mataderos fair, and the list goes on and on.

A good option is EL PUESTITO DEL TIO, a parrilla cart on Dorrego 4050, Palermo, and of course don’t forget to complement with some typical Chimichurri sauce!

 

The History of Empanadas

(Photo by cheeseweese)

When one thinks of local Argentine food there are two immediate images that come to mind;  one is ‘asado’ and the other, the empanada.

However, as almost everything local, the delectable empanada was not born in Argentina but brought here by the Spanish. The Spanish in turn had incorporated these delicacies from the Arabs.  who prepared them with lamb, bulgur and spices and called them ‘esfigha’ and ‘fatay’.  Further back, the empanada can be traced to the Greeks who had come up with phillo dough and to what was once Persia, where there was a similar dish centuries before Christ.

In Latin America this tasty pastry filled with different combinations of meats and vegetables became very popular and in Argentina it acquired its own identity with regional variations.  In Salta for example, the meat filling is cut in cubes and previously boiled, then mixed with potato, egg, scallion, cumin and cayenne pepper.  In Tucuman they incorporate raisins to the filling whilst in Cordoba they are coated with egg and sugar.  This way each place makes its own variation imprinting it with the local identity.

 

More information on where to try the best empanadas in Buenos Aires here.

To make your own, we suggest you try our chef Hernán Gipponi´s recipe for rabbit empanadas, available here.  (Don´t forget to order some while you´re at the hotel!)

Local Specialties to Indulge your Sweet Tooth.

Grey cold days like the ones we’ve been having lately are great for comforting afternoon snacks in traditional teahouses such as Las Violetas in Almagro or Confiteria La Ideal downtown. Here are some local specialties to sweeten the afternoon.

Dulce de leche: Probably the most famous of Argentine sweets, this caramel cream is used in pastries, spread on toast, eaten by the spoonful and included in all kinds of desserts.

Alfajores:  A typical sandwich like snack made up of two “cookies” usually filled by, you guessed it, dulce de leche, (although there are variety’s filled with fruit jams and chocolate  as well) and covered in chocolate, confectionary, sugar or coconut. More information about alfajores is available here.

Rogel Cake: A very sweet cake made with alternating layers of puff pastry and dulce de leche and topped with meringue.

Pasta Frola Quince pie: Another typical sweet used in pastry’s and deserts is Quince paste (dulce de membrillo) and candied yam jam (dulce de batata), which are often combined with cheese for dessert. Quince paste also the main ingredient of Pasta Frola, a fruity pie that goes well with coffee.

Medialunas and Facturas: The local croissants and pastry’s come in many varieties. There are two types of medialunas (croissants), de grasa (made with lard) or de manteca (made with butter). The first is crunchier and thin, the second puffy and moist. Amongst the pastries you will find varieties with dulce de leche, with quince and yam jam, and with custard (crema pastelera).

Vainillas: These very lightweight  airy “cookies”  made from egg, vanilla and sugar are the favorite of many local children (and adults who wont admit it) who dunk them in milk as an afternoon snack.

Submarino: Another thing Argies like to dunk is a bar of chocolate in a cup of hot milk for a local take on a typical winter comforter.

Where to go for Locro

(Locro by Scaredy-kat)

With national Flag Day coming up on Monday, you should get ready to try “locro.” This traditional stew prepared on national holidays is made with pumpkin, maize, beans and different combinations of meat cuts, bacon and chorizo. Find some suggested (and open) places to try this tasty satisfying meal below.

Ña Serapia

In the heart of Palermo this small traditional restaurant follows a 50-year-old locro recipe which they prepare the night before to make it more flavorful. They also make great empanadas and tamales and are very well priced!

Av. Las Heras 3357, Palermo

4801-5307

12-4pm y 8pm-closing

La Payuca

A great parrilla, which makes locro from May to September. They give the traditional locro recipe a twist by using meat cuts such as rose meat and warming it up in a baked clay over which make it thinker and with a smoky flavor. La Payuca also has an area for children to play in.

Arenales 3443, Recoleta

4825-5959

Midday-Midnight

Costumbres Criollas

This small and cozy centric restaurant specializes in Tucuman style empanadas and locro. If the day is sunny, a great option is to order take out and sit in the San Martin Park to eat.

Libertador 308, Downtown

4393-3202

11-4pm, 7pm-12.

La Paceña

This traditional place in Belgrano is famous for its empanadas and year round low fat (or should we say lower fat?) locro recipe. Great quality, taste and price.

Echeverria 2570, Belgrano

4788-2282

12-3.30pm, 8-12pm

1810 Cocina regional

A small and cozy restaurant in Palermo specializing in empanadas, meat casseroles, stews and other regional delicacies.

Julian Alvarez 2000, Palermo

4865-0030

11-4pm, 7pm-12