Street food has been a growing food trend across the globe for the last few years. While in Argentina on our quest for authentic food, we looked to discover the Argentinian street food.
When it comes to food, rarely did we see people eating on the streets or carrying coffee mugs.
The food culture in Argentina is very much a love affair. Sharing a meal is at the center of any social gathering and in particular the Asado. Asado refers to a barbecue.
But the experience goes beyond the food, it is truly about shared moments with friends and family. Discover what’s it’s like to share an Asado with an Argentinian family in an estancia (Argentina farm).
However, if you are on the go and need a quick bite, you will not go hungry on the streets of Argentina.
Here are the 10 popular Argentinian street food you absolutely want to feast on.
The Choripán, affectionately called the “Chori” is the street food of choice for many Argentinians. This fast food is basically a sausage, made of 70% beef and 30% pork, cooked on a grill and served between two pieces of bread. The choripán is usually seasoned with chimichurri sauce.
An insider tip to get the best Choripán in Buenos Aires, is on Costanera Sur near the local airport, Jorge Newbery. Stop at one of the food stands and order this popular sausage sandwich. You will love the “chori” as we did, especially the simplicity of preparation and delicious flavors. Eat a “chori” like a local on your travels to Argentina.
The Lomito has been called the “king of fast food snacks.” It sits above the choripan both in price and stature. What makes it so regal is that it features the famous beef that Argentina is renowned for.
At its core, Lomito is a steak sandwich that has been flashed grilled a la pancha. This slab of lomo steak is topped with: tomatoes, lettuce, onion, chimichurri, mayonnaise, fried egg, ham and melted cheese.Yes, quite a mouthful!
The first thing you will want to do when you get to Buenos Aires, is to make your way to Av. Dr. Tristán Achával Rodríguez which is near Puerto Madero. It is one of the newest and ritziest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires located near the beautiful Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve.
Follow your nose to any of the carts grilling this delicious delight.
You will find empanadas everywhere in Argentina. This is a typical savory pastry that you will see on every restaurant menu, fast food joint or supermarkets.
In case you don’t know what is an empanada, we wrote a full post about discovering Argentina through its empanadas. We also cooked empanadas at Siete Fuegos and learn how to make the characteristic fold (repulgue).
We absolutely fell in love with this small and easy to eat Argentinian street food. One of the best things about the empanadas is that they are delicious and made with simple ingredients. Each region of the country has its own specialty. Make sure that you taste the popular empanada de carne, empanada de jamon y queso, and empanada de pollo on your stay in Argentina!
4. Sandwich de Miga
Extremely popular, you will find these sandwiches at almost every bakery in the country.
These sandwiches look like tea sandwiches but are much bigger. They are made with thinly sliced bread with the crust and edges cut off. The name Sandwich de Miga translates to “crustless sandwiches.” According to the Academia Argentina de Gastronomia, these sandwiches are said to have originated in Turin, Italy and were brought to Argentina by Italian immigrant.
The bread used is unique and unlike any bread you would find in the U.S. It is extremely white, very thin and delicately light. The fillings used vary and include ham and cheese, eggs, mayonnaise, olives and ham, tuna and more. You can also find uncommon toppings like prosciutto, pastrami or anchovies. One of the most unique and surprising things about the sandwiches is that you can get them with two slices of bread or three slices.
5. Pizza by the slice
Argentinian cuisine has been largely influenced by Italian cuisine. When it comes to Pizza, Argentinian bring their own unique style. We wrote previously about Argentinian pizza and the traditional restaurants to find the best pizza here.
Pizza is also sold by the slice as an Argentinian street food. Called pizza al paso or pizza al corte, you will find it in fast food joints selling empanadas and pizzas. You also can order your pizza by the slice at pizzerias.
The most typical Argentinian pizza is made of a thick dough, which is a bit chewy and comes with lots of cheese. It is served with different topping from Mozzarella to Napolitana style. One of the unique Argentinian pizza specialties you want to try is the Fugazetta. It is a thick doughy pizza with gooey cheese topped with lots of onions. We found the Fugazetta surprisingly delicious.
As you stroll in beautiful Buenos Aires, treat yourself to a slice of Argentinian style pizza!
One sandwich that rivals the Choripán in popularity is the Bandiola sandwich also referred to as Bondipan. It is a slice of roasted pork shoulder, served on bread, accompanied with lemon juice.
You can enjoy this sandwich in two ways. Order it with toppings like cheese, thinly cut french fries or a fried egg. Or, you can have it plain and dress it up with toppings like salsa criolla (mixture of chopped tomatoes and onions) or chimichurri sauce. All this meaty goodness is jammed inside a baguette style loaf and devoured.
You can take it to go or eat it next to the street carts on the plastic tables and chairs. We took it go and really enjoyed this tasty sandwich. A difficult choice to make between the chori and bondipan, give yourself enough days to try them both.
The Argentinian street food scene would not be complete without a hotdog. The Pancho is Argentina’s take on the hot-dog. It is a simple hotdog that is not much more than a frankfurter in a bun. You can sprinkle very thinly cut fried potatoes called lluvia de papa (potato rain) to give this sandwich a little more depth. The more toppings you add on your hotdog, transforms it to a “super pancho.”
There several yummy sauces that go along with this dog. The most popular is the salsa golf which is basically a mixture of mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup.
Next to the choripan, the pancho did not tempt us. Every time we looked at the pink sausage next to a char-grilled choripan, the chori won all the time. As a result we did not eat the pancho. However, the long lines and popularity of this dog, makes it a local street food you don’t want to miss on your travels.
8. Sandwich de Milanesa
Milanesa is one of the typical dishes of Argentina that you should not miss out on your travels. It comes from the Italian influence on the Argentinian cuisine. We wrote more about the milanesa here.
Milanesa is also sold on-the-go as a sandwich simply called Sandwich de Milanesa or Milanga. You can find it at corner fast food joints or in fast food chains. It is made with white bread, baguette style. The milanesa slice is put in between bread, with some lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise.
We enjoyed the Milanesa meal and were a little skeptical about the sandwich version. The part that we enjoyed the most about the meal was the sauce, which was not on the sandwich version. While Rosemary was not a big fan, I was pleasantly surprised by the sandwich. It was very fresh, topped with mayonnaise which wasn’t overwhelming and the meat was delicious. If you find yourself hungry, don’t hesitate to choose a sandwich de milanesa for your lunch break!
One of the very unexpected treats on our food quest in the Northwest of Argentina, was the discovery of Tortillas.
Tortilla are flatbreads made of wheat flour baked on a parilla (barbeque). You can get them plain, but the best are the ones filled with jamon y queso (ham and cheese). Warm like a panini, they melt in the mouth and you can easily eat two in a row if you love bread like I do…
Tortilla are my favorite Argentinian street food, second to empanadas.
You will find tortillas either near bus stations or at street corners in Salta and Jujuy Province.
The vendors usually sell the tortillas for media tarde (afternoon snack time before dinner). Don’t miss your window of time as they sell pretty fast.
On your visit to the Northwest of Argentina, treat yourself to a delightful tortilla!
10. Garrapiñada – Street Treat
Garrapiñada is a caramelized sweet snack made of peanuts (Garrapiñada de mani) or almonds (Garrapiñada de almendras). They are like candied pralines prepared with vanilla essence and sugar cooked over hot coals. The sugar once cooked results in a caramelized coating covering the entire peanut (or almond), creating a sweet and crunchy texture.
You will easily find them on the street corners in Buenos Aires during the cooler fall and winter months. Street vendor places themselves at street fairs or markets and sell them in small packages cooked off the pan. It is a nice snack to have on the go especially if you have a sweet tooth like most Argentinians!
Each country has it’s own street food culture. Cambodian street food, for example, is wildly different than in South America. When we got to Argentina, we were quite surprised to discover that eating on the street is not part of the local culture like it is in Los Angeles, where we had previously moved from.
When we found street food it was typically in designated areas or neighborhoods, rather than spontaneous “pop-ups” at any place. The street carts also typically had plastic chairs and tables for guests to sit on and enjoy their meal.
The culture of food in Argentina is about coming together and sharing a meal, in social situations. Even when food is eaten on the streets, it is enjoyed in a social setting and the experience is not rushed.
That said, if you find yourself hungry on your travels through Argentina, you will still have plenty of Argentinian street food options. Rather than grab a bite and eat-on-the-go, sit comfortably in one of the plastic chairs and soak in the atmosphere.
What are you thoughts on these 10 popular Argentinian street food? Share your comments below.
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Claire is a culinary explorer and the engineer brain behind Authentic Food Quest. Together with her partner, Rosemary, they created Authentic Food Quest to inspire people to travel deeper through authentic food. Through food, they believe, people can have more meaningful connections on their travels. Take the quiz and find out your Food Traveler Profile.