When you think of Argentina, you probably think of many traditional and uniquely Argentine foods and products, such as the classic mate, or delicious treats like dulce de leche, asado with chimichurri, medialunas, and many others. Finding products from Argentina like this outside of the country can sometimes be a challenge, but we’ve got some tips and very close substitutes for authentic products from Argentina. Next time you have a craving for an Argentine specialty, you might not have to hop the equator in order to find it.
1. Dulce de Leche – Caramel
The amazing, gooey, ultra-sugary famous dulce de leche is a staple of any true Argentine’s diet, and maybe one of the most popular foods tourists try when coming to Argentina. Surprisingly, is actually quite simple to make. It is made by boiling sweetened condensed milk, in the same general way that caramel is made. Although many Argentinians would say the two don’t compare, you can be sure to find caramel back home in the states. Some similar treats are Mexican caramel cajeta and the Mexican dessert tres leches. Also, Haagen Daas sells a dulce de leche ice cream!
2. Mate – Mate Cocido
Mate is a key symbol of Argentinian culture. Traditionally sipped by gauchos, but popular even in bustling office environments of modern-day Buenos Aires, mate is one of several products from Argentina that has made its way to other places of the world. So popular in Argentina, the drinking of mate has spread to neighboring countries like Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, and Paraguay. If you’re back in the U.S., you can find mate cocido—instead of loose yerba, the plant is packaged in individual tea bags.
3. Chimichuri – Make it Yourself
Chimichurri is the country’s go-to condiment. This tangy, garlicky salsa is sometimes used as a marinade, though most often it’s blanketing grilled meats and heaps of other savory foods throughout the country. If you cannot find this in the aisles of your local grocery store back home, it is not too difficult to make yourself. Chimichurri is a green salsa made of finely chopped parsley, oregano, onion, garlic, chili pepper flakes, olive oil, and a touch of acid, like lemon or vinegar.
4. Medialunas – Croissants
Argentines aren’t too keen on the whole breakfast thing. For them, desayuno consists of coffee and maybe a pastry or two. Medialunas are the most common pastry, and as you walk along the streets in the morning, you’re sure to smell them baking in the panaderias and cafes. Medialuna literally means half-moon, so these products from Argentina resemble and taste similar to croissants. If you need a morning medialuna back in the states, get your fix with a sweet croissant from your local bakery.
5. Fernet – Listerine?
Fernet Branca has very mixed reviews from foreigners who visit Argentina. If you are someone who enjoys the taste of black licorice and Listerine, topped off with Coca-Cola, it’s the drink for you. It is actually originally from Italy and some shops in the U.S. also sell it. It’s also very popular in San Francisco, where it’s often drunk with a ginger ale chaser. If you can’t find Fernet on the shelf, just look for the second most bitter and medicine-like alcohol out there!
Written by Chloe Moore