Despite the steady stream of cathartic rants you see on expat social media groups — you do not need Trader Joe’s to live your best life.
Don’t get me wrong. I feel your pain. Being from Los Angeles made me into an insufferable food snob. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about how to satisfy cravings for Justin’s Honey Almond Butter or my perceived need for the occasional green smoothie while living in Argentina. I own that, but still found myself wondering how was I going to make my banana bread without coconut oil in this town.
Before you hitting enter on your next Facebook rant covering how offensive the lack of organic agave in this city is, take a second to remember that there is more than just choirpan-smoke and empanada grease (not to say that these aren’t equally as amazing) to Buenos Aires.
It’s hard to not be impressed by the produce meticulously arrayed in all of the verdulerias on practically every street in the city, and there’s not shortage of health food stores either. Trekking to Barrio Chino and dodging crowds of people during the weekend to find Sriracha is not actually your only option. Spice is closer than you think.
So from one spirulina-consuming, hummus-making, dark chocolate fiend to the next, this guide serves as a way for you to get by in the city while still being a health freak.
Frutería/Verdulería: a stand-alone shop that contains practically entire produce section of a supermarket. Found on what seems to be every street in the city, you can buy fruits and/or vegetables for much cheaper than any supermarket. The catch? The variety and quantity of what’s on offer varies by the season. Take a look at this guide to see what you should be buying when.
Dietética: it takes the best of that one measly bulk goods aisle at Whole Foods and makes an entire store out of it. You can find anything from walnuts to rice flours, dates to fresh ginger, banana chips (a personal favorite) and chocolate covered almonds (you have to think about those healthy fats after all).
Organic Almacén/Health Stores: these gems are spaced sporadically throughout the city (with higher concentrations being found in Recoleta and Palermo) usually on side streets and with less foot-traffic. But when you find them, you’ll make an excuse to change your daily commute to work. Usually they will have a mix of olive oils, different types of flours, artisanal crackers and cookies, tea, homemade bean or quinoa burgers, condiments, spices, seeds, etc. Some restaurants within Buenos Aires have a market attached so customers buy products like homemade bread, pestos, trail mix, and more.
Websites: more and more websites are popping up that allow you to purchase products online and have it delivered to your doorstep. Check out The Food Market for monthly subscription boxes or Tienda Saludable for promotions on vegan cheeses, raw crackers, and much more.
Be Almacén Orgánico
In this almacén you can purchase peanut butter (without any stevia or other additives), kefir, sun-dried tomato spreads, hummus, sauerkraut, legumes, and more. Added bonus: there are yoga classes held every Tuesday and Thursday night at 8:00 PM downstairs. Nothing like ending a yoga class with a spoonful of all-natural peanut butter.
Be Almacén Organico | Peña 2901
A juice bar and café tucked away in Recoleta that does it right. It uses almond milk, has avocado smoothies, a wide array of salads, sandwiches, tartas, and small snacks to take away. Be sure to order the promotion of the day which usually includes a salad or tarta with a juice for AR $150.
Be Juice | Barrientos 1586
Buenos Aires Verde
This restaurant serves organic food adaptable for vegetarians, vegans, and celiacs. What’s special about this one is the fact that you can fill up a bottle you bring in with made-in-house non-dairy milk at the Belgrano location. Don’t sleep on their organic wines either.
Buenos Aires Verde | Gorriti 5657 or Vidal 2226
Out of all of the dietéticas, Tomy isn’t one to ignore. The large array of nuts, seeds, dry fruit, soy sauces, and coconut oil isn’t the only thing to be excited about. Not only are there multiple locations within the city, Tomy offers some of the best prices out of all of the dietéticas we’ve been to. Tomy is the epitome of convenience, quality, and prices that can’t be beat.
Dietetica Tomy | Multiple locations
One word: KALE! The dark leafy green exists in the market next to Hierbabuena restaurant in San Telmo. Fresh bunches are sold as well as homemade kale chips. They also have granola, mint pesto, pine nuts, tomato sauces, and muffins, breads, and other treats suitable for vegans and those who are gluten-free. With it’s slogan: Life is good, good is green, Hierbabuena is here to nourish.
Hierba Buena | Av. Caseros 454
Belgrano isn’t missing out on health food action either. Named Latin America’s only certified organic supermarket, Fresco doesn’t skimp on quality goods. The Argentine Organic Certification is among one of the most strict and respected in the world. Fresco displays a large produce selection of all organic fruits and vegetables (including baby carrots, the first and only place I have seen these.) The market also has the rest of the items on your shopping list: coconut sugar, bee pollen, whey protein, raw granola, cashew cheese, grain-free tortilla wraps, and much more. Grab a salad, some coconut milk açaí yogurt, a bottle of wine, and enjoy Fresco’s products.
Fresco | Juramento 2540
El Atuel – Tienda Natural:
The small corner-shop carries gluten-free pancake mixes, egg white protein, spices (yes, spices!), and frozen pizzas with a base of oats and carrots or cauliflower. The almond milk ice cream, almond flour, and energy bars made without sugar don’t disappoint either.
El Atuel | Juncal 2699
So now, there is no excuse for eating unhealthy. But there’s also no judgement if you prefer to eat alfajores in the morning. I’m still on the hunt for coconut flour, but BIRKIN has pancakes on its breakfast menu made from homemade coconut flour with a side of peanut butter. Paradise.
If your favorite market didn’t make the list, feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments below. We are all in this thing together.