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  • Writer's pictureBianca

The 10 Most Popular Snacks in Argentina You HAVE to Try

Updated: May 13

I've spent the better part of the last month traveling through Argentina following my solo trip to Santiago, Chile, and while I haven't always been impressed by Argentine foods, their snacks are a different story. This country has some of the most unique snacks I've come across and there are so many options to choose from! In this post I'll be covering some of the most popular snacks in Argentina that you'll encounter.

hand holding a metal cup of mate with a metal straw sticking out
A cup of mate

1. Yerba Mate

The first thing on the list of course has to be yerba mate, also known as mate. While it's not strictly a snack, but a popular drink, mate is such a quintessential part of the Argentine diet, it had to make it to the rankings. You'll see it everywhere as locals love to drink it throughout the day. To make this Argentine staple, leaves of the yerba mate plant are steeped in hot water a little bit at a time (not all at once like tea) and you drink it through a metal straw. Often, you'll even see shops around with signs advertising that they have hot water available just for mate drinkers!

a plate of flan in a chocolate sauce with dulce de leche on the side
flan with dulce de leche

2. Dulce de Leche

Next up is dulce de leche - one of the most popular snacks in Argentina for those with a sweet tooth. If you've never had this snack before, the best way I can describe it is somewhere between caramel and butterscotch. It's very commonly served as a delicious snack following the main course in many Latin American countries, not only Argentina.

sealed dulce de membrillo
dulce de membrillo (forgot to take a pic of mine so this is what it looks like at the supermarket lol)

3. Dulce de Membrillo

Continuing with sweet treats, another favorite Argentine snack is dulce de membrillo, or quince paste. Quince paste is a thick, sweet jelly-like treat made from the pulp of the quince fruit (a fruit I had never heard of prior to trying this popular afternoon snack). The taste is similar to hawthorn candy which is a popular treat I came across often as an expat in China. Dulce de membrillo is usually paired with provolone cheese or a similarly neutral cheese, which I know sounds like an odd combo, but I promise it is super tasty!

4. Dulce de Batata

Rounding out the list of dulces, this treat is similar to the above quince paste, but instead of being made from the quince fruit, it's a sweet potato paste. The flavor is not unsimilar to that of dulce de membrillo, and just like the above snack, it is commonly eaten with a neutral cheese - don't knock it til you try it! It really is the perfect way to curb your hunger as you wait for dinner time to roll around (and trust me, you'll be waiting for a long time since dinner is usually around 10 or 11pm).

5. Humitas

At first glance, humitas look nearly identical to Mexican tamales, but the inside is quite different. Humitas are made with fresh corn that has been ground into a dough, sauteed onions, pumpkin, and various spices from different regions. The filling is wrapped in corn husks and then boiled. It makes for a good, quick snack in addition to your meal and can be found in many South American countries in addition to Argentina.

a platter of various meats

6. Asado

The word asado (also called parilla) can be seen all over the country - and for good reason, it's one of the most popular Argentinian foods!  If you don't like red meat, then maybe give this popular Argentine treat a miss.  This dish is made up of copious grilled meats like blood sausages, chorizo sausage, and different cuts of beef. Ok, so technically asado isn't a "snack," but it is known as Argentina's national dish and you can make it a snack if you share. Asado is usually shared between 2-3 people and going out for asado can be a social event as you and your friends eat outdoors and chat sitting by the warmth of a grill.

7. Ice Cream

What better way to end a dinner with some delicious ice cream? You'll find ice cream or gelato all over the country and it's no surprise - ice cream is a universal treat! Many restaurants offer it as a dessert option, but you can also find standalone ice cream shops. If you're looking for it, just remember that the Spanish word for ice cream is helado.

8. Empanadas

Empanadas are a staple of Argentine cuisine and they are literally everywhere you look. A savory puff pastry made with various fillings, empanadas are typically a street food, but can be found in most restaurants as a popular Argentinian appetizer. The inside of an empanada is usually made with ground beef, chicken & egg, or just cheese (but depending on regional tastes, sometimes the cheese empanadas will also include egg).

two small croissant-like pastries on a plate

9. Medialunas

Medialunas are a breakfast essential in Argentinian cuisine! They look like croissants but if you're expecting the classic French pastry, think again. These pastries are much smaller, sweeter, and less flaky than a typical croissant. Usually locals eat their medialunas with cafe con leche (coffee with milk) but I've been enjoying them with tea!

slices of toast on a plate with butter, jam, a cup of water, and a mug of tea in the background
a full fledged breakfast of tostadas with butter, jam, and hot tea

10. Tostadas

Another Argentine breakfast classic, tostadas are essentially toast. However, they're much smaller than American toast slices and usually come from a baguette or a similar bread. Usually tostadas are served with butter & marmalade or ham & cheese. Pretty much any cafe (and there are a lot in Argentina) will have tostadas on the menu, so you won't have to search far for them.

I'm not gonna lie, I have been missing having variety in my daily cuisine - I've been drooling thinking about these famous foods from Xi'an more often than not. But after traveling around the country for a month, it's been a treat becoming familiar with some of the most popular snacks in Argentina. 


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