1. EmpanadasPhoto: John Haupt
Why it’s worthy: Going to Argentina without eating an empanada is like going to lazer tag and sitting out on the sidelines: probably NEVER going to happen. Who doesn’t love a baked pocket of ham, cheese, steak, chicken, etc.? If you’re not consuming at least one a day on your trip, you’re not living.
Why it’s worthy: Because its simple composition is still so mind-blowingly delicious that it defies the laws of gourmet everything. It’s really impressive how heavenly a piece of bread and sausage, topped off with a little chimichurri can be. Plus, it’s easy to find; choripan carts are scattered about Argentine cities and parks in abundance, especially in Buenos Aires.
Why it’s worthy: Vegetarians look away quick; non-vegetarians, rejoice! This is literally every cut of beef you could ever imagine grilled to perfection and served for your devouring pleasure. Sausage, chicken, and pork are sometimes included as well. Pro tip: The best way to asado is with native Argentines, because someone’s going to have to explain what’s what.
Why it’s worthy: This is the cookie of all cookies. A dollop of dulce de leche sandwiched between two sugary-butter ends, that may or may not be dipped in chocolate. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will: Eat as many of these bad boys as you can. I remember the brand Havanna being especially delicious.
Why it’s worthy: Argentina has a huge Jewish population, which brings with it a lot of amazing Armenian foods that are hands down worthy of your stomach. The Palermo neighborhood in Buenos Aires is particularly abundant with these zesty lamb shawarmas.
Why it’s worthy: You can’t go wrong with the dulce de leche flavor. Also, fun fact: Some gelato shops, like Freddo, will deliver kilos of this stuff right to your door. GELATO DELIVERY, PEOPLE!
7. Dulce de leche
Why it’s worthy: Are you kidding, this country is pretty damn famous for this stuff. It’s sweet, it’s milky, it’s buttery, it’s perfect. Spread it on literally anything, or just shove gigantic spoonfuls into your mouth straight out the jar.
Why it’s worthy: Because fried dough sprinkled with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar is pretty much always appropriate. Also, down here they usually stuff their churros with chocolate and dulce de leche.
9. Media lunas
Why it’s worthy: Argentines take their media lunas, aka croissants, pretty seriously. You can find them glazed with a light coat of sticky goodness, or turned into a ham and cheese sandwich. Meaning anytime can be media luna time.
Why it’s worthy: A pancho is an Argentine-style hot dog, except they top it off with potato chips and lots of yummy sauces like salsa golf (basically just mayo and ketchup mixed together). This is usually the late-night drunchie of choice in Buenos Aires, but feel free to try sober as well.
Why it’s worthy: Because this is probably the best place to eat pizza outside of Italy. A lot of Argentines are of Italian descent, which makes their pizza pretty legit. Do yourself a favor and try a slice of fugazetta; it’s basically the cheesiest cheese pizza with lots of onions. Fun fact: Francis Ford Coppola has a pizza spot in Buenos Aires, and yes you NEED to go.
Why it’s worthy: Steak or chicken “a milanesa” is pretty much an Argentine staple. They usually top it off with cheese, tomatoes, ham, and a bunch of other tasty ingredients. There are tons of restaurants in Buenos Aires that strictly serve milanesa a million in one ways.
Why it’s worthy: Think chicken pot pie, but heartier and a lot less creamy. These savory pies are made with veggies, meat, spices, and almost always A LOT of cheese. Imagine your favorite ingredients thrown all together and baked to perfection into a delicious pie crust.
14. Pan dulce
Why it’s worthy: In Italy it’s called “panettone.” In Argentina it’s usually referred to as “pan dulce.” Whatever you’re calling it, it’s a sweet bread with raisins and other dried fruits baked right into it. Also, it’s usually served around the holidays; but let’s face it, anytime is a good time to stuff your face with bread.
Why it’s worthy: Because it’s cheese. Because it’s grilled cheese, and no not the sandwich, like actually cheese that has been grilled. Because it’s grilled cheese that is seasoned and sometimes even topped with a light coat of olive oil.
Why it’s worthy: Argentina’s chocolate game is extremely ON POINT. You can expect to find particularly delicious kinds in Swiss-influenced cities such as Bariloche. If you find yourself here, do me a favor and also order a hot chocolate. They usually just give you a cup of piping hot milk and a separate chocolate bar you stir into it.
Why it’s worthy: Locro is a hearty bean stew for the soul, and it will most definitely make your stomach happy to be alive and hungry. It can include ingredients like beef, corn, and chorizo and will have you saying things like “chicken noodle soup who?” and “chili what?”
Why it’s worthy: Remember the whole “Argentines are descendants of Italians” thing? Yeah, so that means if you’re trying the pizza you also have to go for the pasta. And as I was saying above, this may just be the best place to do so outside of Italy.
Why it’s worthy: These pastries and danishes and buns and hot cakes and donuts are almost always baked with an absurd amount of sugar and butter, meaning they’re almost always absurdly delicious. Head’s up: A lot of these will probably involve dulce de leche and/or chocolate.
20. Matambre relleno
Why it’s worthy: It’s stuffed steak. It’s a thin cut of steak usually stuffed with veggies, eggs, and cheese. It’s Argentine stuffed flank steak. It’s steak that has been stuffed. Are you with me? It’s 10x the steak dish that steak will ever be.
21. Armenian anything
Why it’s worthy: Aside from shawarmas, you should treat yourself to at least one Armenian dinner while traveling in Argentina. Argentines know how to do Armenian food right, so order all the basics: taboule, lamb, falafel, hummus, etc. If you find yourself in Palermo, pop into the restaurant Sarkis for a particularly delicious experience. You’re welcome!
Why it’s worthy: This typical Argentine dessert is basically fruit salad on steroids, and it’s out of this world. A delectable mix of fruit pieces, walnuts, marshmallows, fruit juices, coconut, and sour cream that will undoubtedly satisfy.
Why it’s worthy: Welcome to dessert paradise: This layered cake is made of dulce de leche spread and sandwiched between crispy pastry thins, and topped off with Italian meringue.