Coming to Argentina I knew I was going to try many new foods and myself being the least picky eater in the world and I knew I was just going to love everything… and I was correct. Breakfasts are very light in Argentina (simply a toast) with mate which was a bit different to my Mexican culture having a large breakfast such as bread and hot chocolate and lunch all at the same time. Argentinos must have dulce de leche on everything they have for breakfast. Dulce de leche is like a (Carmel/Nutella) spread. Dulce de leche is on their capuchinos along with toast with butter, dulce de leche in the middle of cookies/ muffins even sides on dulce de leche on flan and many other things! They even add dulce de leche on fruit! Never have I had so many sweets for breakfast before and I love it! After that breakfast I usually would still get myself empanadas because I am still hungry. Empanadas are a type of baked pastry with yummy fillings. Some filling are Ham and cheese, Veggies, chicken, cheese and onion, beef and spicy beef. Mind you NOTHING in Argentina is actually spicy. My favorite empanadas is and forever will be “carne picante” the spicy beaf empanada which are typically meals to go in a store called (Tomasso). I quickly became a regular customer at Tomasso and that was my daily morning breakfast routine for school. Usually getting to school most students would bring their mate to drink instead bringing Starbucks to help them wake up to class like in the United States. Here, we drink mate and it really helps you wake up by giving you energy and being more focused in class. Some people cannot drink mate after 6pm because it will not allow them to sleep JUST LIKE ME AND COFFEE. What is Mate? Mate is a traditional drink in countries from South America like (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil) it’s a type of analog of caffeine. It is dried leaves which you pour 4/5th of the leafs on your cup and fill up the rest of the cup with boiling water and you need a special filtered straw to actually drink this. You drink until there is no more water, then add more water and usually shared with friends as they take turns. In the group, only one person is in charge of refilling and usually they are called the “Cebador”. Careful with not moving the straw. It is rude to mix or move the straw because it can clog the straw. Usually if you hear people saying “Vamos a Matar?” They are NOT saying “Lets go kill?” But “Lets go drink Mate”. Mate is everywhere and trust me when I say this, I see people drinking it live on the television news, giving tours, on boats, students in class, professors and at every restaurant etc etc and you can tell because there is a specific cup used for Mate which is also called Mate. Mate is the cup but Mate is also the dried leaves. It tastes just like tea (but it’s not tea) and it raises metabolism, aids digestion, burns calories, and has antioxidants, minerals amino acids and Vitamin B! You feel healthy and it elevates your mood! Pour, share, sip REPEAT! You know when the dried leaves run out of flavor and that’s how you know you are done or need to replace the leaves. It really easy to find mate in every grocery store they even have a whole aisle section dedicated to different Mate for those soft, medium or strong flavors. I try and drink mate in the mornings when I am not rushing with breakfast and then my friends usually share some during class. I am going back home with my mate and I am going to learn how to make empanadas to share some delicious treats back home to my friends and family who know nothing about Argentina treats! And for lunch or dinner there is usually tartas, milanesa a la napolitana, asado, and choripan!
Are you going to Argentina and want to have some dulce de leche & mate while having a good time? There is a place called “Mate Club” which is catered for international people wanting to practice their Spanish with Native Speakers and usually native speakers want to practice their English with internacional people too. It’s a fun club usually Tuesdays/ Thursdays and Saturday afternoons and they have yummy snacks like dulce de leche and MATE!! Lots of Mate… I usually go when I am tired because I feel like I NEED Mate and you always have a good time and your mood gets elevated as you meet new people and you have some Mate! At the end of the event we usually have competitive games and the winning table wins free beer!
Ever since I tried these different foods my life will never be the same and I am so excited to go home and cook these yummy foods for my family and friends as I tell them my experience here in Argentina.