I was prepared for a few things that could kill me when I departed on my maiden flight to South America. A car jacking or shooting by a drug cartel or maybe piranha or anaconda attack. But it was during my flight as I was enjoying the novelty of in flight live TV that I found out I had a new danger. As I killed time watching BBC world news it was reported that the World Health Organisation had listed red meat as a cancer causing killer. It was with a death wish that I hit the streets of Buenos Aires to live on the edge in this beef crazy town.
Every corner of Buenos Aires lives and breathes beef. The supermarket has a ten metre long refrigerator with a few chicken pieces at one end and a sea of quality aged beef filling the rest. At the checkout pre-made meals of cold roast beef or hot slow cooked beef with ravioli tempt the locals. I even passed a construction site where workers had made an open fire and layered large cuts of beef over it for the lunchtime meal.
When it comes to dining out there is a beef eating opportunity at every price range and it all seems to be tender and delicious. Head to a “parrilla” or meat grill to get your fix. Every street in central Buenos Aires has one catering to the city locals and office workers. In the simple parrillas order the “menu del dia” or menu of the day for an affordable and tasty beef dish.
The best of the best comes at “La Cabrera” an infamous grill in the Palermo district. Every part of the beast is on offer from intestines and kidneys to generous and meaty ribs. The most popular cut is the “bife de chorizo”, a New York strip steak cut extra thick and cooked over coals medium rare. La Cabrera brings a 600g steak to share then the waiter arrives with a huge selection of sides to choose from. Be spoilt for flavours with a spicy chimichurri sauce, artichoke chutney, salty corn and pumpkin mash with a chunk of melting cheese and a sweet pickled celery some of my favourites.
I may die a few years early thanks to my beefy indulgence in Buenos Aires but think of the years that I will live with the memory of the incredible food culture of Argentina. Frankly the quality of the meat produced in this country makes it impossible to resist. So if you are a bowel cancer specialist get your ass probing ass down to Argentina they are going to need your help.
Words by Wade Ranson Photography by Michelle Ranson and Wade Ranson