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Steak: Argentina’s favourite dish

A friend of mine just got back from Buenos Aires and all he could talk about was having the best steak of his life. It’s not what I was expecting either, I must admit. They really do love their steak in Argentina though, and we’re here to tell you why.


Credit: flickr.com/photos/jonnyhunter/

In Argentina, some people have two steaks a day, to the point that some would consider it a tradition. An afternoon steak – call it a starter, if you will – sets them off for the evening slab of beef that will be coming their way once the restaurants open (about 10pm). As a sensible Englishman, even my wildest dreams have never conjured up two steaks in one 24-hour period; I’m not sure if I could handle the excitement of it all. If you’re of a more adventurous outlook, though, do give it a go some time.


Credit: flickr.com/photos/3336/

They won’t share it. Well, they will a little bit, but really not much – in recent years, less than 10% of their beef has been exported, despite huge demand for it. It’s like that advert where the cows want their milk back, and I don’t blame them! The Argentines, that is… The reasoning is very fair though – in the early 2000s, demand for Argentine beef was enormous, naturally driving up the price much to the joy of happy farmers.


Credit: flickr.com/photos/3336/

The locals weren’t so happy, though, as they just wanted to eat locally grown produce, at a price that reflected their demand. As a result of this, former president Nestor Kirchner raised the tax on beef exports and even put a brief ban on beef exportation, meaning nobody but the Argentinians (and visitors) could enjoy their glorious steak for a whole 6 months!


Credit: flickr.com/photos/pudstah/

Despite my best efforts to put UK at number one, Argentina has the highest consumption of red meat in the world. Eating a colossal 65 kilos of steak per person per year, which works out as about 12 steaks each – which doesn’t sound like a lot until you consider that some people don’t eat meat, and some meat eaters don’t like steak (no really – these people exist). If you’re still not convinced, let me put it this way – per capita, they eat twice as much steak as the US population, and if that doesn’t put it into perspective for you then nothing will.


Credit: flickr.com/photos/mstrniste/

Argentina is very for animal welfare, which is a wonderful thing! There are very few “factory farms” for cattle in Argentina, meaning the cows are largely free to roam in open pastures eating their favourite delicacy – grass. This also means that the meat is leaner, healthier and tastier than corn-fed cattle. Plus the cows have a whale of a time wandering about, I’m sure. Make sure you have travel insurance in place before you head off to visit the Argentine cows.