This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)
1. Yummy Food
Although very few food items—such as dulce de leche, alfajores, sandwiches de miga and chimichurri—can be considered typically Argentinean, the country manages to have one of the best cuisines in the world.
The secret to having such delicious food is not related to the dishes per se, which often resemble Italian, Spanish and French ones. The greatness of Argentinean cuisine is linked to the quality of its ingredients—high-quality dairy products and beef— as well as to the way the food is prepared (often homemade) and cooked (meat is frequently cooked in charcoal grills).
p.s. Don’t EVER return home from a trip to Argentina without having a scoop (or a kilo! LOL) of the thick and delicious artisanal ice cream from Freddo.
You must be thinking: “it’s just Spanish, no big deal.” Well, you couldn’t be more wrong!
Argentineans have one of the most distinguished Spanish accents among native Spanish speakers—the Argentinean Spanish is even more beautiful than that of Spain (shhhh! Don’t tell my Spanish friends I’ve said that! LOL).
The Spanish spoken in Argentina sounds more like Italian and the grammar is a little different too. One of the most well known characteristics of the Argentinean Spanish is the use of the personal pronoun vos (you) instead of tú (you). Another notable aspect of the Argentinean accent is the “sh” sound (or “zh” in some parts of the country). The word yo (I), for instance, is usually pronounced like “sho” and pollo (chicken) like “posho.”
Some words (che, boludo, quilombo), slangs (cara rota, mira vos) and idioms (ni en pedo) are also important symbols of la argentinidad.
3. Hand Gestures
The large number of Italians who migrated to Argentina in the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries not only influenced the way Argentineans speak, but also the way they talk with their hands. Some people jokingly argue that it’s possible to speak Italian without ever saying a word. Well, the same goes for Argentinean Spanish.
Italian and Argentinean hand gestures are actually quite similar. They can convey emphasis, certain emotions or even full thoughts!
As a night owl myself, I love the fact that Argentinean cities are so vibrant all night long. Most Argentineans have dinner at 9 p.m. or later. Most clubs open around midnight, get packed around 2am, and close around 7am!
5. Theater Culture
Considered one of the world’s great capitals of theater, Buenos Aires has its own (even better) version of New York’s Broadway. Avenida Corrientes is the heart of the theater district in the Argentinean capital.
The variety of theater plays and musicals one can watch in Argentina at any given time of the year is pretty impressive. Although the best theater companies offer their shows in Buenos Aires almost all year long, many of them move to Mar Del Plata for the summer season.
Tango is hands down one of Argentina’s best treasures. However, Argentinean music is much more than tango. The country is also home to great ska and rock bands, such as Los Auténticos Decadentes and Los Enanitos Verdes.
Mate—a beverage prepared with dry leaves of yerba mate and hot water—is the national drink of Argentina. Mate is described as having “the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea and the euphoria of chocolate all in one beverage.” What’s better than that?
Argentina is one of the largest producers of wine in the world and its Malbec is just superb.
You may think that most roads and highways in South America are poorly maintained—and that’s true—but the main roads of Argentina are exceptions. The Ruta 2 (the national route 2), for instance, is a very well-maintained dual carriageway that connects Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata. Next time you’re in Argentina, don’t hesitate to rent a car and explore other parts of the country.
9. Large Avenues
Buenos Aires has some of the widest avenues in the world. The 9 de Julio and the Libertador Avenues are two of my favorite ones. 9 de Julio has up to seven lanes in each direction. Isn’t that amazing?
10. Susana Giménez
I couldn’t end this list without mentioning one of the most prominent divas of Argentina. Susana Giménez is in Argentina what Oprah is in the United States. Her talk show is one of the highest-rated and longest-running TV shows in the history of Argentina.
When you watch her show, you literally feel like you’re sitting in her living room, not only because of the show’s set—which does look like a living room—but also because of the casual way in which she conducts her interviews. Besides being one of the funniest people on TV in Argentina, I absolutely love the way she speaks, prolonging the vowel sounds, as well as the sound of the letter R:
What do you love about Argentina? Tell me in the comments section below.