A Vegetarians Guide to Surving in Argentina

The thing with Argentineans is they love animals!! I mean look at this guy casually walking 14 dogs down the road

 

And feeding time at a farm in San Juan

 

However as soon as I turn a vegetarian blind eye the Asado is lit and so are my 4 legged friends. Sorry that was a bit morbid.

 

But this is Argentina, a country famed for its mouth watering loins of steak. Tourists from all over the world come in by the truck load to experience a traditional Argentinean Asado.

 

Not me though.

 

Did someone say pass the salad?

 

So how does a Vegetarian survive in Argentina?? The truth? Not very easily.

 

Other than getting an open mouthed 'did she really just say that' look when declaring your non meat eatting ways. You will also be, on a daily basis,'tempted' (or not) by some meat dribbling gringo trying to shove a fork full of beef down your throat.

 

Oh and also that oh so useful catch phrase of 'No como carne' will get you about as far as the next butcher, as all that means is 'I don't eat meat' not I don't eat chicken,lamb,pork or beef.

 

Now if you take one tip, take this one. Eat before you go to an Asado!

 

'Bring your own' is a must to one of these big daddy barbecues. And unfortunately for us that doesn't mean wine. Just meat, meat oh and more eat. As you gather around the grill you wait for the hundreds of guests that surly must be arriving anytime soon based on the sheer amount of meat sizzling away in your face. Yet hours go by and there are still only the original 10 guests eagerly waiting.

 

Are they really going to eat all of that?

 

Once rumour spreads there's a vegetarian in the building, a lovely little Argentineian lady will hurriedly get some vegetables and place them on the grill.

 

By vegetables I mean a couple of slices of aubergine.

 

And by grill I mean on the meat.

 

As the time comes to devour the goods hands fly from each direction and your barely have time to say 'what came first the chicken or the egg?' before all that's left is a pile of bones.

 

Lucky for us vegetarians we like to watch our weight, and you leave the Asado about as hungry as when you arrived.

 

There is a positive however, pitty lends a helping hand to the veggies among us and we are given extra glasses of wine as compensation for missing out on the dish of the day (for me this is a win win situation, as I definitely don't think I'm missing out, and I get free wine)

 

I've painted a pretty bad pictures for Veggies so far, but fear not, keep hold of those carrots, chickpea delights await.

 

Heading into the bigger city of Bueons Aires there are almost as much competition for vegetarians food as there is for steak (I said almost, nothing will ever beat the beloved steak restaurants)

 

And what better way to discover it than at a 'closed door restaurant'

 

Never heard of them?

 

Neither had I before I discovered Jueves en la Mesa (Thursday at the Table) while searching for the latest hip veggie jaunt to visit.

 

The description 'Its good too eat plants' isn't an immediate reservation maker, but the menu of traditional Argentinian food mixed with global spices and homemade dark chocolate makes it a must do.

 

The location is in the trendy San Telmo district of Bueons Aires, inside an apartment block, up some stairs, in a lift, into a dining room and onto a chair is where you will find the world being put to rights, and veggies(and non veggies) gathering together to enjoy an evening of culinary, vegetarian delights.

 

Inside the closed doors of these secret restaurants Steak is losing its sex appeal and the younger more attractive 'side dish' is making a statement. Vegetables come cut,sliced,grated and boiled like never before. Taste buds dance and high five each other after finally receiving some exciting food, and you leave all together a happier veggie.

 

Luckily for the ones unable to get a booking at these exclusive dinner parties, veggie world continues outside. Another famous Argentinian taste sensation comes in the form of an Empanada. A fried based cheese snack mirroring a Cornish pastie, ozzing with cheese a fulfilling the wildest cheese lovers among us.

 

However if your cheese quota isn't full for today , just walk along the streets of any district and you will be meet with an Italian Pizza Restaurant on each corner.

 

And the special?

 

Cheese pizza. But a very good cheese pizza at that, and for a grand old price of next to nothing, a whole pizza can be yours.

 

Feeling your waist line expanding now you've escaped the Asados? Well why stop there? Divulge in some of the best Ice cream the world has to offer In one of the many ice cream parlour of Buenos Aires.

 

Oh and while your at it try to best of it all.

 

MALBEC.

 

In fact ignore this whole article and consume your daily calorie allowance in the magical red stuff.

 

Meat or No meat you will be in heaven.

 

So what's the conclusion? How do you survive as a veggie in Argentina?

 

You eat cheese and drink wine. Hard life eh.

 

(Don't tell the carnivores but I think we got the better end of the deal.) 

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