Have you ever felt that you will never try out a certain food once your tastebuds have tried the best? No matter where you go and no matter which other recipes you try out, you know deep down inside (deep down inside literally) that you have just eaten the best ever gastronomic delight of that food type and your body will gracefully avoid and reject anything else forever. Sounds too fanatic? You can’t blame me anymore if you are a beef steak lover and you have the privilege to try out the steaks you can get to eat in Argentina. Another discovery of your travel to the South American country would be the discovery of Alfajors – the traditional snack without which you can’t think of having a cup of coffee. Read on rest of the post preferably with a hungry stomach.
Now to share the anti-climax is the fact that I generally don’t eat red meat. So no pork, beef, lamb for me. It is a lifestyle and health choice. Once in a blue moon for the sake experiment I do from time to time – eat whatever it may be. But when I went to Argentina I knew for sure that I will want to live daily on atleast one meal comprising of an Argentine beef steak. Argentine beef and its production have played a major part in the Culture of Argentina, from the asado to the history of the gauchos of the Pampas. Landowners became wealthy from beef production and export, and estancia owners built large houses, important buildings in Buenos Aires and elsewhere, and contributed to politics, philanthropy and society. In almost every restaurants we ate i.e. in Recoleta, Puerto Madero, Iguazu, I have ordered types of beef steak and no wonder all of them ticked all the high scoring boxes of my taste palette. I prefer them ‘well done’, you may want to try with some pink bits on if you so fancy. All the steak naturally comes with lots of chips and a tantalising mix of salad. I thought at one point that it is actually the salad mix that was bringing water into my mouth to digest well the steak pieces. It was just so appetising that I can’t describe in words. So rest assured once you have tried the steak in Argentina you will steer clear of ordering steak anywhere else in the world, or even if you do – you will fondly remember the excellence of what you tried in Argentina.
The other local sweet snack which is worth mentioning as the star of our voracious exploration of Argentina was the discovery of Alfajor. The traditional snack of the Spanish speaking world and very popular, as it was witnessed, in Argentina. We had tried all our Alfajors almost always in the very popular Havanna Bakeries which have retail outlets in every Buenos Aires neighbourhood. Found in Wikipedia that “….in South America, due to the lack of ingredients and habits, alfajores were made totally differently. Nowadays, they are found most notably in Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, Perú and Brazil. The food has been popular in Argentina and Uruguay since the mid-19th century”. However, these differ from the Spanish alfajores in that they are made with two round cookies with different sweet fillings between them. They can be covered in glaced sugar, coco or chocolate. Argentina is today the world largest consumer of alfajores both in total numbers and in per capita calculations, being the most common snack for schoolchildren and adults. So yes as you can imagine, all our evening tea and coffee were accompanied by this must have Argentine snack.
Finally another discovery in Buenos Aires was the abundance of European style roadside cafes and plenty of Italian restaurants. Nowhere else in Argentina will you see such a city landscape of cafes similar to Europe but only in Buenos Aires. It was clear the influence the Italian immigrants had in this country when they first arrived. Goes without saying that the Argentines look the most like Europeans too and the food of the city will remind you more of Europe than anywhere else. So when in Argentina, make sure you sip a cup coffee in a road side café along with some Alfajors and do try out beef steak almost every day.