If your backpacking your way around Argentina or South America, you know what it is like to eat on a budget. It means A LOT of bread!
Backpacking = Carb-overload.
You make sure that you get up in time for the hostel’s free “breakfast” (which seems to keep ending earlier and earlier) and you force-feed yourself baguette after baguette, washing it down with intermittent sips of instant coffee (which often tastes unleaded). Then there is lunch, where you find yourself grabbing a slice of pizza or a sandwich on the go to save time and money (precious money). And then it’s dinner time–maybe you and your friends at the hostel decide to go to a moderately nice restaurant but everyone orders the cheapest dish on the menu, opting to gorge on the complimentary breadbasket instead. You might even find yourself stuffing the left over dinner rolls into your to-go bag, so you can sleep through the hostel breakfast the following morning (what a treat). By the end of the trip, you feel like a walking baguette.
But traveling on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to compromise good food and nutritious meals. In Argentina, empanadas prove to be a cheap and delicious alternative to the redundant traveler’s meal plan of pizza and sandwiches. They come filled with meats (chorizo, beef, chicken), cheese, and all sorts of vegetables. Two or three will cost around 12-15 pesos and keep you satisfied for hours.
Some places will have a selection of 8 different flavors and others will over 40 kinds to choose from (yes, I have actually a menu offering 40 different kinds of empanadas here!). Here is a short list of some of our favorite empanada spots in Buenos Aires:
1. La Cocina
Located just off the D-line at the Puerrydon subte stop, La Cocina is serving up authentic empanadas typical of the Northern region. The menu is very limited, but they are the best at the few that they do make. Try the Pikachu, which is filled with cheese and spicy sautéed onions (6 pesos) or the Carne Picante, which is filled with spicy mixture of chopped steak and ground beef (6 pesos). If your really hungry, take a bowl of their incredible Locro, which is a hearty beef and bean stew (27 pesos). You could sustain yourself entirely, eating just one bowl of this each day!
2. Na Serapia
Na Serapia is a very small restaurant located in Palermo on Avenida Las Heras. They have been in business for several years serving food typical of the Catamarca & Salta region of Argentina (Northern). Try their Saltena Empanada, made with chunks of beef and potato in a flavorful sauce (5.50 pesos) or their Chicken Empanada with shredded chicken, onions, and spices (5.50 pesos). Still hungry, try out their Tamales, which are sweet corn stuffed with meat and served with a side of spicy sauce (19 pesos).
I know, I know….it is a chain restaurant. But I must admit that the empanadas are delicious! They have pancetta with onion and cheese that is out of this world. I also love the Carne Suave, which is pictured above with ground beef and spices (6 pesos).
If you want to try some very unique empanadas, there is a great little spot located next to our Palermo office and we love going with students for lunch after our Wednesday afternoon conversation class. Come to our FREE conversation class at 3:30 pm and join us for some empanadas afterwards!