Food revolution bypasses Buenos Aires

perry

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I have been reading about Lima Peru food revolution and its incredible restaurants and markets and wondered why Buenos Aires is not taking on these trends.
Lima has become the culinary capital of South America and its getting heaps of praise from international press for its cutting edge food and incredible variety.

Buenos Aires pull up your socks!!!!!
 

Napoleon

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pericles said:
I have been reading about Lima Peru food revolution and its incredible restaurants and markets and wondered why Buenos Aires is not taking on these trends.
Lima has become the culinary capital of South America and its getting heaps of praise from international press for its cutting edge food and incredible variety.

Buenos Aires pull up your socks!!!!!
My theory is that is difficult for several restaurants to rely solely on expats to survive. One or two, maybe even three, but there just aren't enough expats to support 10 or more restaurants in addition to the ones that they patronize that also cater to locals.

Q: Why do I say that they have to be exclusively expat supported?

A: Because porteños don't like food with flavor. (Funny, sad, and true.)
 

perry

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I believe that the lack of food culture and riskiness in Buenos Aires cooking is due to many factors. The most important one being that cooking is considered by many porteños of middle and higher class to be best left to the maids .
For me growing up in an middle class greek cypriot family food was as integral part of our lives and was served with great pride by my mother who would spend many hours slaving over a hot stove. Her incredible dishes were worthy of the best greek restaurants and all our relatives and friends were all excellent cooks as well. There was an incredible sense of achievement in these elaborate dishes and there would be a great exchange of information about food and recipes.

Sadly many middle class people in Buenos Aires prepare the most simplest of dishes of steak, milanesas, chips and served with some icecream and dulce de leche for desert. Vegetables are considered an afterthought and heaven forbid preparing a three coursemeal for guests.
 

Napoleon

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Pericles-

I experienced your upbringing this past Friday night... but it was in Mar del Plata.

It was dinner at a house with parents in the late 50s to 60s (I'm guessing). The three kids were there (late 20s to mid 30s) with their spouses as well as my friend and I.

The bigger table was actually IN the kitchen and the mom was preparying stuffed squid (calamari lleno) cooked in a home made tomato sauce. The squid were then removed and cut into ~ 1 cm width slices and then laid on top of a bed of rice and covered with the tomato sauce. It was delicious and the squid was amazingly tender. (Not rubbery like when it's overcooked.)

There were also two different home made tartas. And before that, there were small cubes of a Spanish/Argentine style "tortilla" that was a million times better than you find in the prepared food places in BsAs.

This family was definitely "middle class" (not upper by any means) and the food was so much better than the food of a similar style that you find in Buenos Aires. We shared wine, the son-in-law ribbed the father about his football team, we watched one football (soccer) game and then left the TV on because the next one came on...

The experience was as great as the food, but for some reason, in Buenos Aires, people don't like food with as much flavor.
 

Conorworld

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I think that such things come in waves and all depend on the right combination of circumstances. Doesn't Peru have a very eclectic culinary tradition with a lot of Hispanic, indigenous and Japanese influence? Plus Peruvian food has become very fashionable the last few years. A culinary explosion might come to BA in the future or it may not but I suppose we can't force such a culinary fate on BA.
 

gouchobob

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I agree with the comments. The food that the average Argentine consumes on the whole is pretty bland and all that beef is not very healthy.

I was fortunate enough to have a Peruvian diplomat as friend there and was invited to his home on many occasions. He generally hosted 2 or 3 dinners a week related to his duties in his home. He had a maid from Peru who prepared all the meals and it was some of the best food I've ever had. All the food was first class Peruvian dishes.

My friend has since moved on to another posting but the maid stayed on and went to work for an upper class Argentine in B.A. Her new employers do not wish to even sample the Peruvian dishes she can make. They insist on the usual bland Argentine fare. She buys other food out of her own pocket and prepares it separately to get a decent meal.

My guess is that this is what she would experience in many B.A. homes. We could speculate endlessly why this is but I will offer my own theory.
Argentina is fairly isolated geographically and socially. This has led to attitudes that I would call insular, some would say arrogant. Many Argentines believe that their country is the leader of S.A. and has the best of everything compared to other countries on the continent. Therefor there is no need to import ideas or thinking including those about cooking from other countries.

Food from other countries may catch on in B.A. to a limited extent but the vast majority will stick with their tired but trusted Argentine dishes and never know what they are missing.
 

perry

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gouchobob said:
I agree with the comments. The food that the average Argentine consumes on the whole is pretty bland and all that beef is not very healthy.

I was fortunate enough to have a Peruvian diplomat as friend there and was invited to his home on many occasions. He generally hosted 2 or 3 dinners a week related to his duties in his home. He had a maid from Peru who prepared all the meals and it was some of the best food I've ever had. All the food was first class Peruvian dishes.

My friend has since moved on to another posting but the maid stayed on and went to work for an upper class Argentine in B.A. Her new employers do not wish to even sample the Peruvian dishes she can make. They insist on the usual bland Argentine fare. She buys other food out of her own pocket and prepares it separately to get a decent meal.

My guess is that this is what she would experience in many B.A. homes. We could speculate endlessly why this is but I will offer my own theory.
Argentina is fairly isolated geographically and socially. This has led to attitudes that I would call insular, some would say arrogant. Many Argentines believe that their country is the leader of S.A. and has the best of everything compared to other countries on the continent. Therefor there is no need to import ideas or thinking including those about cooking from other countries.

Food from other countries may catch on in B.A. to a limited extent but the vast majority will stick with their tired but trusted Argentine dishes and never know what they are missing.
Congrats on a excellent Post.
 

fedecc

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Well, i admit im one of those bland food lover argentinians, guilty as charged. And as argentinian i believe that if there is no meat on the dish, it doesn't count as a meal.:D

It's cultural, it's wrong and it should change, but several centuries of eating nothing but meat kind of creates hard to change habits. This is mostly the reason whay dispite having thousands of kilometers of cost, sea food is relatively unknown in most of the country. It's also the reason why the average argentinian would choose beef before almost any other food.

In any case with the continuos decline of cattle over the past decades all this should change. It wouldn't surprise me if in a couple of year we have to import beef. So instead of rejecting argentine diet, embrace it, gorge yourself with as much top quality cheap meat as you can while it last, you will miss it when it's gone. I know i will...:(
 

perry

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cujodu said:
I constantly ask the Argentines why they have such boring food. On every block a parilla, an italian place, and two or three pizza/empanada places. They don't have an answer. It was fun for a few weeks on my first visit to Argentina but after living here for two years, I just don't even have interest in eating anymore. Well, I could afford to lose a few pounds.
I share many of your views and find it very sad that good fast food is impossible to find. I would die for a good Thai Green Curry or a excellent Pho or a Inidan chicken tikka or a Beef yeeros or fish and chips and on and on. Its so simple to prepare these foods with vision and some basic ingredients. Love of cooking is an artform that trasmits all barriers and enriches more than the body .
 

malbec

Registered
Well, why should we change the way we eat? Only because a handfull of foreigners wish it? How arrogant is that???
If you don't like argentine food, just cook whatever you like at home or open a restaurant...and treat yourself on one of those modern dishes like chicken wings on sushi rice with some creme caramel on it.
And good for Perú that they have such a highly regarded cuisine.
I've visited over 50 countries so far...give me a good 'boring' asado anytime!
 
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