The Carnal Seduction of Argentina

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Day 370: Salta, Argentina

It turns out if I wanted to see Salta in Argentina it was easiest to travel from San Pedro de Atcama, at least that is what Coca told me and she is always right.

I embraced the change in itinerary, for the last year all I had heard about Argentina was that the steak and red wine were incredible.

After months and months of chicken, with only a brief break with pork in Ecuador, I was ready to move onto beef with lots of chimichurri sauce.

I was in luck, there was an asado at my hostel that weekend. Asado means barbecue and this was a hostel with a lot of Argentine’s so expectations were high.

people at table with red wine

Asados are not just simple barbecues, often on the weekend they are three-hour long events and are taken very seriously.

I like people who are serious about meat.

There’s something so throwback about a big meat event that I gave a vintage tone to all the photos.

I grew up in a culture where everything needed to be no carb, no fat, no sugar no flavour and there’s something salacious about an event that’s just dedicated to the pure love of meat, without thinking of what it may do to your waistline.

So off I went with Barbara from Buenos Aires and I knew she would be a tough critic as she explained the ‘rules’ of asado.

salad on a plate with red wine

Men serve the meal and as hosts its their job to make sure wine is topped up and no plate is unwillingly empty. Salad is brought around first as a weak gesture to pretend that this could be slightly healthy.

Don’t laugh, just take a bit and play along.

sausage on a fork

The meat is served as it is ready. It generally means a few cuts of steak and sausage. They did not have organs at this barbecue and Barbara told me that was a big mistake as mollejas and other organs are almost always there.

However, she noted the meat was well cooked and as she doesn’t eat the organs anyway she could forgive the oversight.

veggies served

The men also foolishly try to serve me potatoes and squash – I will not fill up on carbs in this meat feast but I do accept the roasted vegetables as I’ve learned never to turn down veggies in Latin America because you never know when you will see them again.

Meat comes around again.

And again.

And again.


We finish with a bit of flan but I’m so full I know I need to choose between the flan and the rest of my red wine.

Wine always wins.

Join the Conversation

  1. Camels & Chocolate says:

    Oooh not in my world. I love wine, but I will not, cannot say no to dessert.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      But flan really? You would choose flan over more red wine?

  2. Turkey's For Life says:

    I would’ve skipped on the dessert and accompaniments, too. Red wine and loads of meat – just perfect!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I laughed when the asked if I wanted mashed potato – I have no room for things that aren’t absolutely delicious.

  3. Michael says:

    I miss my second home. Argentina <3

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh I can already see why!

  4. Katherina says:

    Its only 9am here, and I’m already wanting to eat some meat. Good job!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m not usually a steak fan but I woke up the next day wanting more, fortunately there are tons of steak sandwiches!

  5. Mark Robertson says:

    I enjoyed your meal. I think the Uruguayans (and some Brazilian men) stake most of their manlihood on the assado/churrasco.

    That said, they’re damned good.

    Well posted. I know exacted what you were describing.

    Do you have plans for the tri-border, Iguazu, or Brazil? Let me know. It’d be fun to parley sxsw South America w/you.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ll be heading to Iguazu but not on the Brazilian side as they charge Canadians $130 USD for a visa. Eventually I do want to get to Brazil, just not this time.

  6. Mmm yum! Often I lose weight when I travel but I have a feeling South America will not be so kind to my waistline as Asia…!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The portions are large here, I actually carry Tupperware with me and take half of it home. The rest of the continent has been good but Argentina with steak and wine is really going to push it for me.

  7. Eugenie says:

    I’ve actually never been in an asado where they served organs, perhaps it’s not the custom up here in the north? They always start with sausages and blood sausages.

    As you’ll mostly are in contact with people who live in Buenos Aires, I feel like I should warn you: the perception of a porteño is not the perception of someone who lives in the interior.
    Buenos Aires is not like the rest of Argentina, and a lot of porteños are pretty ignorant about ‘how the other half lives’

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think that is common in every country. I grew up in a small town on the East Coast and then moved to Toronto – which everyone says is completely oblivious to the rest of the country. I would have the say that is more or less true.

    2. Christian says:

      I’m Argentine and this is a great truth, the Argentines are not only the porteños y el tango who know the world, and we are very different beyond Buenos Aires…come to Córdoba 😉

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        You know I didn’t make it to Cordoba and I really regret that, I guess it means I’ll have to go back to Argentina.

  8. I would have gone with the red wine as well. And DEAR GOD THE MEAT SOUNDS DELICIOUS. Argentina has the best beef – in the world.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Red wine vs flan? Sorry no contest 🙂

  9. Gillian @OneGiantStep says:

    MMmmmmmm….I loved Argentina. We drank a bottle of wine every single day. Just b/c we could! Your description of being so full is exactly what I remember – and I think that’s the point! Cheers!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh it’s so tempting to eat it every day. I’ll need to figure out how to balance that out before I gain 20 lbs here.

  10. Fearful Girl says:

    I’m lucky enough to have an authentic Argentinean restaurant near my house in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve finally figured out how they do it: lots and lots of salt!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I wish they also loved pepper as much, although I’ve discovered a new friends in chimichurri

  11. Pete - Hecktic Travels says:

    Our friends and family had a tough time believing us when we told them we thought Argentinean tastes better than Canadian beef, especially Dalene’s uncle who raises cattle.

    But we’re sticking to our belief. It’s so good, and I miss it. Enjoy it. And yes, get the veggies in while you can 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I wasn’t a huge fan of beef before coming here but I have to say it’s absolutely delicious, even the stuff in the grocery store is better than what we have in Canada.

      Interestingly, the hamburgers are disgusting.

  12. A bbq where men serve you meat and pour your wine and you have to make the tough decision between flan and wine for dessert?? This sounds like my kind of event 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s a delicious introduction to Argentina, I hope it continues.

    2. Christian says:

      The best dessert in Argentina is a Fernet Branca with Coca Cola 😉

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Haha perhaps that is true!

  13. Lindsay aka @_thetraveller_ says:

    Just looking at those pictures and thinking about when I was in Argentina made me go into a food coma and I havent even eaten yet today. BLUGH

  14. Jennifer says:

    AB – make sure you try the blood sausage in Argentina!!

  15. There aren’t many things in this world that I enjoy more than an Argentine asado. This post makes me want to book a flight NOW.

  16. AAHH! Asado, one of my favourites. If you’re not squamish, do try some grilled mollejas (sweetbreads), they are delicious, as is the morcilla (black sausage). Yummy!

    Just to let you know, there are more veggie options than it seems :), like pastel de calabaza con miel, queso y choclo (butternut, cheese, honey and sweet corn pie). So when you tire of beef, look out for this kind of dishes 🙂

    They ALL go down well with wine, you know 🙂

  17. Um, I need to go here. The wine, it’s in a PINT glass!! Asado, siesta, what more could you want?

  18. Also, I might have to mention that it’s 9:30 in the morning yet I still want wine in a pint and steak at the moment.

  19. I’m with Camels & Chocolate… How could you say no to flan?! It is so delicious!! Of course, I’m not a wine fan.

    My previous boss was Argentinean so every now and then we used to do asados at his backyard. He always cooked the meat the way Argentinean love it… too raw for my taste, but so delicious!

  20. I’m with Hogga-have not even had breakfast and I would tear that sausage up right now. Looks amazing…Ahh, if you have a chance go to Cabana Las Lilas-amazing experience. How dare you diss the flan? If you had tasted mine you would have eaten it and drank the wine at the same time. Ok my stomach is growling.

  21. Roy | cruisesurfingz says:

    Mmm, meat. I need to get to one of these asados.

  22. Gareth Leonard says:

    Gross, what was that green stuff on your plate? Salad? A true porteno would not stand for that, haha.

  23. Debbie Beardsley says:

    Your BBQ sounds amazing. Everything looked so good! I would have been glad they didn’t serve organs 🙂 Wine over dessert any day!

  24. Hehehehe.

    Ooh, you’re in Argentina now. All I ever read about Buenos Aires is that it’s got a very ‘European’ feel to it. I’d love to see what that means. Hehe.

    I’m not a meat eater but you certainly know how to sell a good dish, girl.

  25. Jeremy B says:

    Are all of you Canadians lovers of meat? 🙂 This meal sounds delicious. Seriously, why do I read these during lunch time when I have yet to eat?!

  26. I wish I had your taste buds! My life would be so much easier in Chile if I really loved meat.

    I do agree though that it’s freeing to see people not worry about calories as they dig into a good old choripan (which I do happen to love!).

  27. I just about died and went to heaven when I had my first bife chorizo en Argentina (actually it was in Salta, bc I’ve never been to BBAA). And just today I went to lunch at a Parrillada here in Stgo and had a delicious steak. So good. But definitely better in Argentina.

  28. I heard the flans and the dulce de leches in Argentina are orgasmic. Are you planning to get tango lessons?

  29. Christina says:

    Argentina has long been on my list of countries to visit, but you just bumped it up a few ranks! It is a mouth-watering article. I’m with a few other commenters though, I could NEVER have declined the flan. EVER.

  30. Sarah Wu says:

    oh meat! I love meat too, some odd reason my dr told me I’m lack of B-12 (Not enough meat). lol

  31. I have absolutely nothing intelligent to say about this post – just things like “yummmy”, “drool” and “gimme”…

  32. YUM! I want to go to an Argentinian asado so bad, I have heard amazing things about what they can do with steak (also in Brazil?) or maybe from someone who lived in Brazil 🙂

    Sounds like a perfect evening!

  33. Christine says:

    Mmmmazing. Eating steak in Argentina is on my bucket list.

  34. Oneika the Traveller says:

    Can you believe that I went to Argentina for two weeks and DIDN’T eat any steak?! I guess I’m just a chicken kinda girl.

  35. We have an amazing oil drum bbq at our hostel in david pamama, the smell of roasting meat wafts through the yard, if you make it this far north come see us!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Weird, I stayed there 3 nights in July and I never saw the bbq drum.

  36. MEAT. BEEF.

    This is why leaving Texas is so hard sometimes. The meat there is not only cheaper, but PHENOMENAL.

    As for the veggie comment, I’ve learned to appreciate the veggies. I broke down and bought things for a salad the other day because my body was going through a fit.

    Argentina sounds like heaven!

  37. Wow! I didn’t realize that asado in the Philippines also means the same asado in Argentina. That meat looks really delicious. Almost enough to make me book the next ticket to Argentine. And yes, also looking forward to tasting the wine from there. An Argentinian couchsurfer I met in Zurich kept raving that it’s the nest wine in the world.

  38. I love people who take meat seriously too! Fun post and now I want steak!

  39. Justin Hamlin says:

    Wine always wins. Girl after my own heart.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      How could anyone choose flan!

  40. Erin in Costa Rica says:

    Interesting what you say about vegetables in Latin America because they are abundant here in Costa Rica. Of course, they are always served with at least 2 carbs, beans, and chicken. Chicken, chicken, chicken…the red meat here sucks! This post made me drool on my keyboard.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      For months I was so sick of chicken, but fortunately never sick of fish but while I have been here I have started craving chicken and rice.

      I know I am crazy!

      1. No, you are not crazy. Or I am, too. There is something about the Latin American diet – it gets to you, in your soul. I can’t go a few days without needing a good casado – pollo, arroz con frijoles, ensalada, aguacate, platanos mmmmm

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          See I miss the frijoles, I think it balances everything out.

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