Eating in BA when bringing dollars into the country can be very affordable. The city is full of quality eating but at first glance can seem limited to steak houses (parillas) and pizza joints. With a city the size of BA every taste is catered to, but it is certainly true that the population’s Italian heritage means a lot of pizza, pasta and pastries. On just about any street corner you will find family run restaurants serving typically heavy, Italian inspired food.
A veggie nightmare…
Before coming to Argentina I was under the impression that it would be eating steak for lunch and dinner. My wife (Argentine) had also made a big deal of the quality of meat available, and rightly so. We holidayed in Mina Calvero and the butcher there would prepare our cut of meat straight from the beast. It was great to see and the quality was incredible, a far stretch from what we get back in the UK. Unfortunately with the high inflation the country is experiencing, steak twice a day isn’t an option for everyone.
For those who are staying long term, supermarket shopping will quickly become the most cost effective option. Disco, Jumbo and Carrefour are the major players, all with similar pricing. What becomes evident, when coming from the UK, is the lack of anything Asian or Indian. You can also still spend a fortune on goods that are normally very cheap, if you are not careful.
They also don’t seem to have a discounted or “buy one get one free” culture, or a dedicated cheap brand like we have back home. Instead they have a discount coupon policy and let you pay your weekly shops over the course of a month. A lot of what is sold in the supermarkets is produced in Argentina and again works out to be the most cost effective way to feed yourself, as what they do import can be way over-priced and usually not of a quality worth justifying.
Empanadas…Like Cornish pasties.
Those on a budget will find the abundance of fruit and veg shops around the city the best way to eat cheap. They are usually better value compared to the supermarkets and a great way to support the local-man. Equally bakeries can be a cheap way to eat and of great quality.
Lastly, those with a sweet tooth will not fail to miss the vast amount of ice cream parlors (heladerias) around the city. The ice cream is great here, just make sure you like chocolate and Dulce de Leche flavours…
Which brings us to Dulce de Leche. Like some best kept culinary secret, it’s the one Argentine product that should be readily available worldwide, but isn’t. A milk based caramel that the Argentines use in just about everything sweet, it’s perfect. It’s good, promise.