Steak Is An Integral Part Of Argentina's Culinary Culture

Carnivores, rejoice! There is a travel destination where steak is not only frequently on the menu, it's ingrained in the actual culinary culture of the country, and is even the official national dish. This place is the South American country of Argentina. If you visit, you'd be remiss not to hit up a parilla — AKA steakhouse or asado (AKA barbecue) — during your visit to try out some of the delicious steak options.

While Wander Argentina reports that the average Argentinian eats a whopping 2.6 pounds of steak every week, Argentinian steak is not only essential to the country as a food staple, but also because of the sense of culture that revolves around cooking steaks. Per Trafalgar, most steak is cooked communal style through a method called asado, which is similar to what we might call barbecuing, with a few important differences. For these asados, pits are dug and filled with volcanic stones or ceramic bricks. A grill is then placed on top and the fire is always fueled by wood or charcoal briquettes — you'll never see any kind of artificial accelerants involved. Interested in attending an asado? You're not alone. Argentina is famously home to the largest asado in the world, and the barbecues tend to be family or community events that occur on most Sunday afternoons with get-togethers centered around the cooking festivities (via Wander Argentina). 

The best cuts will cost you

Why is Argentinian steak so darn tasty? The answer begins with the cows themselves, who eat grass grown in Las Pampas, a large grassland area known for its fair climate and ideal grazing conditions. Las Pampas cattle are not given any antibiotics or growth hormones and are permitted to graze and roam as they please. This allows them to grow naturally and leads to some pretty delectable cuts of steak, which include vacio, a flank steak with an added layer of fat for extra flavor; bife de chorizo, the ever-popular sirloin steak; and lomo, the tenderloin or filet mignon, not for the faint of heart or wallet — it tends to be rather pricey. 

There's no denying that both locals and visitors alike love Argentinian steak, such as TikToker @authentic_traveling who called it the "best beef in the world." However, due to record inflation in Argentina, steak has gotten a lot pricier. Per Business Insider, Argentina's inflation rates soared over 100% in early 2023, resulting in increased food prices, including beef, which was then up to 30% in Buenos Aires. But while steak may be getting more expensive, we don't think it will be disappearing from Argentinian culture anytime soon. Your asado just may cost a few more pesos.