Want to learn more about Argentinian cuisine? Looking for Argentinian dishes to try? Read our guide below then check out our guide to Colombian cuisine and then our Argentinian recipes.


Executive chef of Sucre restaurant and Buenos Aires native Fernando Trocca talks us through the 10 things you need to know about Argentinian food and cooking, including the influence of Italian immigration on Argentine culture, why cooking over fire (asado) is so important and why you'll never find coriander in an authentic chimichurri.

Listen to our podcast with Fernando here:

Argentinian food and cooking: Fernando Trocca's guide


Argentinian barbecue is important for every household – even people living in an apartment will have a small barbecue on the balcony. Meat is the star of the show and we use several different cuts, the most common being short ribs, sliced into thin strips, that we call ‘banderitas’ or ‘asado de tira’, as well as ribeye and skirt steak. Blood sausages (morcilla), chorizo and sweetbreads (mollejas) are also popular. We’ll have a simple salad on the table and two sauces: classic chimichurri and salsa criolla. In Argentina, we cook without any flame. So the meat cooks very slowly over glowing coals of charcoal or wood. A good asador is one that never has fire on the grill. The fire is always beside the grill. It’s an important part of the ceremony to set up the fire correctly – we will burn the charcoal or wood for about 45 minutes to achieve the right temperature.

Parsley vs coriander

Argentina is unique in favouring parsley over coriander. Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Colombia – all of them use coriander. The herb is trendy now but 25 years ago there was no coriander in Argentina – only parsley. And if you go to Italy or Spain, they don’t use coriander either. So that’s a big difference between Argentina and all the rest of the Latin American countries. Parsley is one of the main ingredients in chimichurri – we have many different recipes for it but none of them use coriander. If you’re using coriander, you’re doing it wrong.

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If you go to a steak restaurant or have an asado in Argentina, it’s very typical to have chimichurri on the side. As with other dishes, the style varies from family to family and between regions. The base is usually parsley, garlic, aji molido (dried, sweet, mild chilli pepper), olive oil and vinegar. Some people use dried chillies and others swap in oregano instead of parsley. I like to make mine with fresh ingredients (fresh parsley, a bit of white onion, fresh red bell peppers) with dried oregano, olive oil and red wine vinegar, whereas some prefer to use dried herbs. It’s worth noting that this is a condiment, not a marinade. In Argentina we don’t marinate the meat as it is likely to burn on the grill. T

Try olive's chimichurri recipe here.

A small copper pan filled with a bright green sauce

Argentinian wine

Mendoza valley, high up in the Andes, is the country’s number one and biggest wine region. The vineyards in this area are known to be home to some of the highest altitude vines in the world, with Malbec being the most prevalent grape. Salta, in the northwest, also produces some brilliant wines, typically red but there are some beautifully elegant whites also. These wines are more concentrated and stronger due to the high altitude; the highest winery in the world is in this region. In the south, Rio Negro and Patagonia produce very good pinot noir thanks to the colder climate.


There is a huge variety of alfajores to try. In Buenos Aires, they are made with ‘maizena’ corn starch, making them crumbly in texture with a silky dulce de leche filling. In Córdoba and the north, the ‘alfajor santafesino’ style is more prevalent. Dulce de leche is still used, but the biscuit is much thinner and crispier, almost like a puff pastry. Other fillings include flavoured jams and contemporary styles with unique flavours. The Havanna-style alfajores are the kind that we would buy at the kiosk at school.

Alfajores Recipe

Regional differences

In Buenos Aires the food is very European as you have a lot of influence from Spain and Italy. So we have Italian foods like milanese or gelato and if you go to a restaurant you will find pasta and risotto. But if you want to try more typical dishes from Argentina like empanadas, you must go beyond Buenos Aires. Even the empanadas change around the country depending on where you come from. In Salta (northern Argentina), they put potato and eggs in the filling. But if you go to Mendoza, in the central-west part of the country, you’ll find empanadas stuffed with meat and a lot of onion. In Tucumán (north-west Argentina), it’s different again. There are at least three or four regions that make their own version.


Argentina produces a lot of yerba mate plants and drinking mate is a very engrained part of the culture. In Uruguay it is even more so, the Uruguayans walk in the street with a thermos under their arm and their personal cup in their hands. Mate is a herbal tea, that's high in caffeine, made from dried yerba mate leaves. Argentinians often have mate for breakfast then share with friends. The traditional metal straw it's drunk through is called a 'bombilla'. Mate is also very popular in Syria, where it's drunk in a similar way with friends through a 'bombilla' straw.

Black and white photo of Fernando Trocca

Fernando’s top 3 effortless cooking hacks

Salting meat: I like to salt meat in advance – at least an hour. Some people like to salt while they are grilling, or even when the meat is resting afterwards. But I like to do it before. Take out the beef at least two hours before you plan to eat it (so it can come up to room temperature), then salt the meat an hour before.

Short ribs: for me and lots of Argentinians, the beef short rib is the favourite. But the way we get the butcher to cut it is different. It’s called asado banderita – cut across the rib very thin, just the width of a finger, which means you can grill them for only 15-20 minutes.

Dulce de leche: this is really popular in Argentina. A good tip is to use it in a chocolate molten cake or fondant. So instead of chocolate in the filling, you use dulce de leche.

Try Fernando Troccas' recipes here:

Argentinian tarta pascualina

Try Fernando’s recipe for Argentina’s popular savoury pie, tarta pascualina.

A pie with a slice taken out, showing a whole egg cut in half in the filling, on a white table with a pink background

Argentinian risotto ossobuco

Ossobuco is from the leg or shin of veal, and is cross-cut to produce steaks with a piece of bone and marrow in the middle. Here, it's served with a vibrant saffron risotto.

A shallow white bowl filled with saffron risotto with veal on top

Argentinian cheese and onion empanadas

These golden empanadas have a British twist, with an aged cheddar and slow-cooked onion filling.

A white plate topped with two empanadas with crimped pastry

Argentinian dulce de leche fondant

Dulce de leche brings an extra layer of indulgence to this dessert, served with toasted hazelnuts for gentle crunch.

A plate topped with a caramel fondant with mascarpone on the side

Argentinian Latinoamericano cocktail

This punchy mix of gin, mezcal and vermouth is given a fruity twist with pink grapefruit soda.

A marble bar with a long glass, filled with a red cocktail and a slice of grapefruit

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