Discover how Argentineans eat on this delicious article about Argentinean food customs.
Argentinian breakfast is somewhat light compared to what travellers from English-speaking countries are accustomed to. Hotels typically provide a free buffet consisting of coffee, tea, drinkable yogurt, assorted pastries and toast, fruit, and perhaps cereal. These kinds of breakfasts are also readily available in the many cafes.
How Do Argentineans Eat At Lunchtime?
Lunch is a big meal in Argentina, typically taken in the early afternoon. Lunch is so big because dinner is not until late: 8.30PM to 9.00PM at the earliest, more commonly at 9PM or even later. Most restaurants do not serve food until then except for pastries or small ham-and-cheese toasted sandwiches (tostados), for afternoon tea between 6 and 8 PM. Tea is the one meal that is rarely skipped. A few cafes do offer heartier fare all day long, but don’t expect anything more substantial than pizza or a milanesa (breaded meat fillets) or a lomito (steak sandwiches) outside of normal Argentine mealtimes.
Argentina Style Dinner: Typical Meals
Dinner is usually eaten at 10:00 P.M. and typically consists of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Be aware that, similarly to the European “entree”, (entrada) refers to the appetizers. The north american “entree” is refered to as “main dish” or “plato principal”. For appetizers, there are empanadas (meat turnovers or dumplings), chorizo or morcilla (pork or blood sausage), and assortments of achuras (entrails). For an entree there is usually bife de chorizo (T-bone steak) and various types of salads. Then for dessert, there is flan (custard) topped with dulce de leche and whipped cream.
Beef is the central component of the Argentine diet, and Argentine beef is world-famous for good reason. Definitely check out Argentine barbecue: asado, sometimes also called parrillada, because it is made on a parrilla, or grill. There is no way around it – foodwise Argentina is virtually synonymous with beef. The beef is some of the best in the world, and there are many different cuts of meat. Lomo (tenderloin) and bife de chorizo are excellent. Having a parrillada dinner is one of the best ways to experience it, preferably with a bottle of wine from Mendoza. In some popular areas, parrilladas are available from small buffets, or sidewalk carts and barbecue trailers. Skewers and steak sandwiches can then be purchased to go.
Don’t Forget The Pizza & Pasta
Given that a large portion of Argentines are of Italian, Spanish and French descent, such fare is very widespread and of high quality; pizzerias and specialized restaurants are very common. Take note that a convention observed in Argentina is to treat the pasta and sauce as separate items; some travellers have found out what they thought was cheap pasta only to find that they were not getting any sauce (just pasta with drizzled olive oil). You will see the pastas for one price and then the sauces for an additional charge. This happens more often with side dishes. It is not customary for Argentineans to have the whole dish pre-selected for them. In Argentina, you get to pick exactly what you want your dishes to be served with!
How Do Argentineans Eat: Amazing Desserts
Cafes, bakeries, and ice-cream shops (heladerías) are very popular. Inexpensive and high-quality snacks can be found in most commercial areas, and many have outdoor seating areas. Empanadas (turnovers) containing meats, cheeses, or many other fillings can be bought cheaply from restaurants or lunch counters. The Alfajor is a must try snack of a two cookies with a dulce de leche filling and can be purchased at virtually any local kiosco.
Smoking is now prohibited in most restaurants of Capital Federal and all of Mendoza’s restaurants.