I didn’t go to South America for the food. My humble opinion is that the best food in the world is found in the Mediterranean. I haven’t been to far Asia so I can’t comment on that, though I imagine Japanese cuisine can offer strong competition. However, I was largely disappointed with South American food. Colombian and Ecuadorian food was fresh, but largely simple and boring. Bolivian food was slightly less bland, but came with an almost ironclad guarantee of diarrhoea. Peru offered a tantalising exception to this rule with it’s curious Asian-South American hybrid cuisine. Chilean food was good, but after Peru it was irritating to be charged three times as much for a slightly inferior version of the same food.
Argentinian cuisine was a somewhat bipolar beast. 70% of their population are descended from Italians so I thought it was safe to assume they would have great pizza and other Italian dishes. I was disappointed in this assumption. However, when it comes to meat, specifically beef, their reputation is well deserved. The many steak variations are cooked on a parilla, a specific type of grill that allows for a slow cook. It takes forever just to heat up, and the meat is cooked for a long time also. For that reason the barbecuing is never done alone, always with friends around sharing a few drinks. The meat always seemed to be cooked medium to medium-well. Usually I would say this is a method for ruining the meat, but somehow it manages to retain a delicious flavour and interesting softness. An excess of meat and wine is the main cause of gout, but in this country it may just be worth it.