Monday, March 23, 2009

Food in Argentina - One Man's Opinion

I recently spent two weeks in Argentina and wanted to report on my food experiences there. I’ll offer more detail—including photos and video—over the next several days, but I’ll start with a general overview.

The food was hit or miss. We had some great meals, but also some mediocre ones. Restaurant kitchens seemed a little shy in their use of salt to bring out flavor, and overall, the food was not as bold and bright as I had hoped.

The highlight was the omnipresence of grass-fed meat, thanks to Argentina’s overabundance of grazing land in Patagonia and Las Pampas. Beef was everywhere, while lamb was more popular further south.

Empanadas (varying in quality) with beef, chicken, cheese and onions, greens and other fillings were commonplace. So too were pizza and pasta, thanks to the heavy Italian immigration to Argentina in the first half of the 20th century.

Fish wasn’t as popular, but we did eat some delicious freshwater river varieties. The fruits and vegetables were lackluster. The bread was substandard, while the ice cream was better than average.

Argentina has a deserved wine reputation (a lot of Malbec), and a handful of quality artisanal beer makers have emerged in the last decade. The water from the Perito Merino Glacier that I collected myself (literally) was the best water I’ve ever tasted.

Highly processed junk food was readily available (shocker!) in supermarkets.

I’ll go into more detail in upcoming posts.

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