Combining both a bohemian ambiance and typical dishes, street food in Buenos Aires effortlessly denotes the South American way of life.
Known as the “Paris of South America,” a trip to Buenos Aires is a must. Whether you are enticed by the romantic nature of this city or seeking out Argentina’s renowned steak, Buenos Aires has something for every avid traveler. As is the case for many countries, immigrants are a part of Argentina’s identity, as they came to this country with their own recipes and traditions. Drawing many tourists due to its variety, this multi-faceted city’s food will make you travel to every corner of the world.
Where to eat?
Locally referred to as “Street Meat,” it encompasses all of the best food in Buenos Aires, especially red meat. They are sold in various food carts, trucks, and stands, to locals and tourists alike.
Feria de Mataderos
Quiet during the week, this market completely changes on the weekends as it attracts more than 15,000 people almost every Sunday. With more than 700 food trucks and stands, we urge you to head there for lunchtime to enjoy traditional dishes, such as: empanadas and tamales. Tables and chairs are available to eat where you can admire the overall atmosphere. Beyond the delicious food and the symphony of aromas floating in the air, the market is animated by performances, conventional music, and games. You can even buy handmade traditional Argentinian crafts as souvenirs. Providing a glimpse into the authentic Latin America lifestyle, this market will not disappoint.
At the end of a dark alley, in an abandoned rail yard proudly stands El Ferroviario, which you will easily recognize due to the smoke in the air. You will not find anything more typical than this popular parilla, or grill. Described as “a steakhouse for the masses” where the prices are low, the portions are enormous and drinks are served by the liter. It is the kind of place you come with your friends, football team, or your whole family to enjoy grilled meat, empanadas, and milanesas…etc. If the inside gets too loud and boisterous, discover the three different grills outside where the red meats are displayed everywhere. For the full Buenos Aires experience, head there on the weekends as live folklore bands perform. One thing is for sure: only locals flood this laid-back restaurant, so be sure to call ahead!
On the cobblestone streets near San Telmo, this hole-in-the-wall parilla may not look like much, but do not be fooled, it is one of Buenos Aires’ wonders and a neighborhood favorite. With rustic stools, football gear, and pop culture keepsakes covering the walls, the whole ambiance is part of this parilla’s identity. There are around six items on the menu, including: morcipan (blood sausage sandwich,) bondiola (pork shoulder) …etc. However, the must-try is the choripan, or the chorizo sandwich, which is Argentina’s best invention according to the residents. Enjoy these traditional dishes on the stools or sit curbside, like many locals do. Nuestra Parilla is a great pit stop on your way to the San Telmo Market.
What to order?
The parillas and markets offer mainly the same dishes, so ordering food is quite simple!
This street food may be the best invention in the world. Simply put, it is the ultimate street food, comprising of a grilled chorizo sausage on crusty bread. To that, you may add some onions and chimichurri sauce. Argentinian chimichurri sauce consists of fresh parsley, oregano, olive oil, vinegar, and red pepper flakes, and is the perfectly fresh addition. This dish is greatly popular in South American countries and especially used during asados.
Many variations of empanadas exist, but this little pastry is most common in Latin America and Spanish countries. True Argentinian delicacy, the empanada consists of folding dough over a filling, such as: cheese, tomato, corn…etc. However, the most traditional stuffing contains meat, especially in Spanish-speaking countries. In Argentina, empanadas are frequently served during parties and events as appetizers. Every region is synonymous of a different empanada, for example, the Province of San Juan is known for empanada with much more onions, which makes them juicier and sweeter.
Bondiola, or pork shoulder, is a traditional and very particular dish. Usually, thick slices of pork are served on a crispy bun with lemon and garlic. You can also order the complete version, with cheese and a fried egg. You will find this sandwich in every restaurant, food truck, and stand in Argentina. No matter how you dress it, bondiola is a juicy delight you simply cannot pass up while visiting Buenos Aires.
In the U.S. it’s the burger, but in Argentina it’s the lomito. Comfort food, snack, dinner, or lunch; lomito is the classic dish acceptable to eat at all hours of the day. This Argentinian burger consists of a sirloin steak on bread with tomato, lettuce, onion, chimichurri, mayonnaise, and a fried egg. You can also use your imagination to dress it how you like it, for example, some locals prefer pork instead of steak. They also consider lomito as a snack, however, it might be different for you. Immensely popular in Argentina and Uruguay, ask the locals for the best addresses!
The pancho, also known as the Argentine hot dog, will make your tonsils melt. Condiments include: mayonnaise, relish, mustard, and chimichurri; but toppings depend on the vendor and the region. Some trade the chimichurri for some fresh salsa, which adds its own spicy twist. The smoky sausages are put into a Vienna bun with all the condiments, and then cut in half which enhances the flavor. Panchos are usually served with homemade crispy fries, which is a must-have! Mixing a symphony of flavors and textures, pancho is certainly the king of South American cuisine.
Eve has some family in Buenos Aires and immediately fell in love with this city when she first visited it.