Argentine cuisine is influenced by waves of European immigration, particularly from Italy. You'll find many Italian restaurants and pizzerias, plus heladerias, or ice-cream parlors, serving Italian cuisine and gelatos . Argentina is known for its beef, and many meals are based on substantial amounts of carne, but other foods are certainly available. Lingering after an evening meal with a sobremesa is a customary time for conversation.
Soft drinks and fruit juices are popular. As elsewhere, ask for jugo puro, or jugo exprimido, for fresh squeezed. Licuados, milky fruit shakes, are popular. Do try maté tea at least once. Other tea is served black with lemon. Ask for té con leche if you want milk in your tea. Hot chocolate is served at breakfast. Coffee is usually an espresso.
- café chico: small cup of strong, black coffee
- café cortado: small coffee with a little milk, often in a glass
- café con leche: coffee with lots of milk, usually served only at breakfast
Local beers and wine are excellent. Many Argentines mix a bit of mineral water in their wines to make a spritzer. Try these Recipes from Argentina. When you're in Argentina, be sure to try:
- Asado: various cuts of meat cooked over coals and usually served with chimichurri marinade, french fries and salad; also called a parillada
- Carbonada: beef stew with rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, apples and pears
- Puchero: beef, chicken, bacon, sausage, corn, peppers, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, sweet potatoes, squash casserole; may have beans
- Sopa a la criolla: roasted suckling pig
- Ñoquis: gnocchi or potato dumplings served with marinara or other tomato sauce
- Arroz con pollo: chicken and rice casserole with eggs and vegetables
- Puchero de gallina: chicken, sausage, corn, potato and squash
- Locro: corn, white beans, beef, sausage, squash in a stew
- Empanada de humita: pasty filled with corn, onion, cheese and flour
Chilean cuisine tends to the international, plus wonderful seafood that forms the base of many favored dishes. Ethnic restaurants abound in the cities. Vegetarian meals are available.
Soft drinks and juices are everywhere. The licuados, fruity milk shakes, are good. Try moté con huesillo , a peach and barley drink. Coffee is usually instant, but espresso is becoming popular. Tea is served black with lemon. Herbal teas, aguitas, are popular after dinner drinks. Try manzanilla, camomile, or a boldo .
Chilean wines are superb. Beer, pisco, aguardiente and imported hard liquors are popular. Make sure you try a Pisco Sour, made with egg white, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Try these Recipes from Chile. And when you're in Chile, be sure to try:
- Cazuela: soup with meat or chicken, potato, corn and squash or other vegetables
- Pastel de choclo: corn pie with meat, vegetables, chicken, olives and hard-boiled eggs
- Lomo a lo pobre: fried beef, eggs, onions and french fries
- Arroz con pollo: chicken and rice casserole
- Curanto: seafood stew with chicken, pork, lamb, beef and potato
- Chupes: stews of fish or beef