The Famous Argentine Steak
Whether in Argentina for the first time or a regular visitor, as a meat eater there is likely to be one major goal to accomplish – to indulge in the famous Argentine steak. Beef eating here is a religion and, with an average annual consumption of 55kg per person, is given as much importance as the nation's other obsessions: football, wine and tango. With a steakhouse seemingly positioned on every street corner, it is difficult to go wrong.
Looking at a menu for the first time can be a daunting experience as page upon page of different cuts are listed, some familiar and others completely unknown. In Argentina nothing is wasted so, to make life easier, the following are the cuts to keep an eye out for in order get the best experience.
Bife de Chorizo
Let's set the record straight: the bife de chorizo is not a sausage or chorizo as it is known in Europe and the US. It is what we'd refer to as a sirloin steak and in a good restaurant the bife de chorizo is exactly how a steak should be – big, tender, a touch of fat and oozing flavour. For tourists, this is often the go-to cut.
Bife de Lomo
The tenderloin is the most expensive steak on the menu and is a lean cut. A good bife de lomo will be tender and juicy, yet what it misses is the marbling effect created by veins of fat, which disintegrate during the cooking process and provide extra flavour.
The flank steak is a speciality of both Argentina and Uruguay, and one rarely seen elsewhere. Taken from the lower part of the cow, vacío is a thin cut with a layer of fat on the outside only. When cooked, the fat becomes crispy, thus leaving the meat perfectly tender and dripping with juices.
Other cuts to look out for on the menu are ojo de bife (rib eye), asado de tira (short cut ribs) and entraña (skirt steak). If staying in Argentina for an extended period, book your hotel with Expedia then make sure to sample each in order to decide upon a favourite.
How to Order
When in Argentina you should also know how to order your steak correctly. Be sure to remember one of these four expressions: vuelta y vuelta (blue); bien jugoso (rare); a punto (medium) and bien cocido (well done). Argentine's like to eat there beef red and juicy so don't be surprised to be met with a quizzical look if ordering well-done. That said, as the masters of the steak, rest assured that your expectations will be met.
Where to find it
Three options present themselves to satisfy your Argentine steak cravings. Firstly, find a find a parrilla (steakhouse) and let the chefs work their magic. Ask for recommendations and don't be afraid to try a non-touristy establishment. Secondly, accept an invitation to an asado – the traditional Argentine barbecue – and marvel as all parts of the cow are grilled to perfection over the course of a day. Finally, with the ability to cook, make a trip to the local butcher or supermarket and choose a cut to your liking to take home and enjoy.
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