The merienda is the equivalent of the traditional English ‘tea’ of Argentina, only in the case of Argentina, it is something to fill in those long, hungry hours before the evening meal is served at nine or ten in the evening.
Some typical meriendas are:
- a ‘Picada’, (translates as ‘chopped’), that usually consists of cold cuts, olives, cheese and hard-boiled eggs, or some variation thereof. The first Picada we had was in Buenos Aires, definitely ‘chopped’ and not overly impressive.
The menu in this restaurante features lightweight meals that work well as a merienda…
- ‘Empanadas’, pastries stuffed with cheese, meat, fish or greens. There are also sweet empanadas.
This menu offers all kinds of Empanadas which one can order ‘al horno’ (baked) or ‘fritas’ (fried). Empanadas go well with a good vino tinto from Argentina.
- ‘matambre’ and salad. The matambre is usually some form of meat ‘enrollado‘, usually beef rolled with vegetables or eggs, and served in colourful slices. The word matambre is a combination of two words: ‘mata‘ (kill) + hambre (hunger).
This merienda consists of matambre, beef ‘enrollado’, rolled with vegetables, una ensalada, pan, chimichurri y cerveza.
- a ‘parillada’, the traditional barbeque of meat, meat and meat, slow-cooked and seasoned with lime and salt. This is a rather heavy choice for a merienda.
If you notice on the top menu they offer the smaller ‘Cabrito con papas fritas’, young goat grilled parrillada-style served with french fries, a speciality of Northwest Argentina.
Then there are the usual suspects: Pizza and Hamburguesas but these need no explanation.
More about our trip to Argentina.
That’s quite meal. Seems like it’d be enough to finish the day rather than eat again later. Is it normal to eat again at 9pm, every day?
Spain, Portugal and Argentina all had the same daily eating routine; until we caught on we were starving in all these places, clawing at restaurant windows at 7:30, 8:00 in the evening (and morning too sometimes) – sometimes they let us in early – most places didn’t really start eating until 9:00, and the tango places didn’t actually start until midnight – quite a different lifestyle…
That’s a big tea! I actually didn’t catch on in Spain and Portugal, but we did have lots of snacks with sundowners
We only caught on during our fourth trip to Spain when we travelled for awhile with a friend who knew the ropes; we never caught on in Portugal and were frequently starving.
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