Argentina - known
the world over for its tango dancers, vibrant culture, and well - really,
really good beef. And, let’s be honest, as a vegetarian, while the famous meat
may not be so enticing, the country still absolutely is. So, what’s a veggie
traveller in Argentina
to do??? Fast? Pack a suitcase full of energy bars? Stick to a strict liquid
diet of Malbec wine?
Well, while the wine option doesn’t sound too bad,
you’ll still have to fill your stomach with something first if you’re going to
make it through that tango lesson. So, we’ve done a little research to see how
vegetarian travellers have managed in a country where meat takes center stage.
in the capital.
easily caters to the meat-free population. Vegetarian, vegan and even raw food
restaurants and cafes are beginning to have a trendy presence around the city,
enabling vegetarians to chow down and offering an optional reprieve from
nightly steaks for their carnivorous friends.
“My meat-eating husband was in heaven and ate more
meat than I thought was healthy for someone who lives mainly on an enforced
vegetarian diet. I was very pleasantly surprised by the food selection. In the
major cities and tourist places large restaurants actually had a selection of
vegetarian dishes (something you don’t always get in the UK).” – Clare Mercer, Lonely Planet UK
Check out this great veggie restaurant in Buenos Aires: BIO Restaurant
the local markets.
Outside of Buenos
Aires in some of the smaller towns, vegetarian
friendly restaurants will be harder to find, as vegetarianism is still very
much a foreign concept. Menu options may be more limited, but local fresh
produce at the markets should make cooking an easy alternative.
“The quality of the produce, all grown in Argentina, was
excellent, making for really tasty dishes and some of the South American
ingredients, such as quinoa, were
particularly veg-friendly. However, I eat fish and there were a few occasions
in small restaurants in small towns/villages where trout was the only thing I
could eat on the menu.” –Clare Mercer,
Lonely Planet UK
Make sure you are clear about your dietary habits to
you Argentinean friends and waiters. “no carne” in Spanish simply means “no
beef”, not necessarily “no meat”, which just may land you a dish of chicken,
pork or fish instead.
The Vegetarian’s Quick Spanish Reference Guide:
- no carne = no beef
- no pollo = no chicken
- no pescado = no fish
- no mariscos = no seafood
- no jamón = no ham
With the heavy Italian influence in Argentina, Italian
cuisine is quite prevalent, and quite good. Pizzas and pasta dishes are readily
available on menus, usually with good veg options. On the flip side, when the choices
for vegetarians are frequently limited to pizza, pasta, cheese or empanadas, carbo-lovers
rejoice while the rest scream for a fresh salad.
So, it must be asked - is Argentina a culinary dilemma or a delight
for vegetarians? When choosing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you are
reducing your options, no matter your country. When travelling, vegetarianism
may prove to be tricky and may require a bit more effort - and clearly Argentina
is no exception.
If you don’t plan to let go of your lifestyle and live
like a local, a nice meal is not as easy as a glass of red wine and a steak,
and may take some planning, research, and flexibility. However, maintaining a
healthy veg lifestyle in Argentina
is not impossible or, for that matter, difficult. With the availability of
fresh produce and Italian cuisine and the growing presence of
vegetarian-friendly restaurants, a vegetarian will not go hungry in the land of
For a global listing of vegetarian options, check out Happy Cow , where you can sort between 100% vegetarian,
vegan or vegetarian-friendly restaurants. It also lists health food
stores, so great it’s great for sourcing vittles for a picnic or self-catering
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Fancy a quick snack? Argentina is world-famous for its asado
barbecues. Photo courtesy of Flickr.com, by [Alaskan Dude].
Are you a vegetarian on the road? Tell us about your
culinary experience abroad or share your veg-friends travel tips.