Don’t braai for me, Argentina…

Street braai, downtown Buenos Aires

Well, actually, do – and as often as possible. Of all the countries I’ve eaten meat in, Argentina comes out on top, with steak from cattle raised on the Pampas as good as it gets. But it’s not just the quality of the meat that stands out, it’s also the culinary culture of a country vested of a genuine love for carniverous living – with this street braai a perfect example.

No more than a hole in the wall with a fire going inside, it’s nothing upmarket: accompanying wine is poured from a five litre plastic bottle that looks suspiciously as though it once housed cooking oil, and the menu’s definitely on the modest side. But what a menu…

South American chorizo is closer to boerewors than the chorizo you’ll have tried in Spain, thick, juicy, spicy, and perfect between a baguette with some butter and chimichurri, the Argentinean condiment that’s part pesto, part mild chilli, and all good. Alternatively, a piece of steak hewn from the flank of meat sitting over the fire is just as good, moist, smoky and glorious.

Eaten from a paper towel while standing in the street, plastic beaker of surprisingly drinkable malbec in hand, this is dining at its simplest: amazing food produced with a minimum of fuss, and enjoyed communally around the fire. Which would suggest that Argentina’s got the braai perfected; place Buenos Aires high on your list of braai destinations.

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