How is May almost over? It’s that time again: we’re close to the big 25. This year marks the 208th anniversary of the establishment of Argentina’s first government (the Primera Junta), a precursor to independence. Luckily for us, this time around, May 25 falls on a Friday, giving us a well-deserved finde largo. It also serves as a chance to celebrate all that is Argentine, and join in on fiestas taking place throughout Buenos Aires and the rest of the country. More than an excuse to catch up on sleep, the long weekend is a chance to show off your pride in the patria pride and celebrate the criollo way.
Any mention of a celebration and my thoughts immediately drift to the potential food options. If you’re wondering what kind of morfi you’ll find yourself chowing down on, we’re here to show you to the best places to grab your 25 de mayo grub.
In Argentina, this date is all about celebrating the country’s first independent beginnings; naturally, most of the food we associate with the day are the traditional Argentine comfort food classics of which we can never get enough. Expect empandas, locro, tortas fritas, asado, and some less common favorites like carbonada, humita, and mazamorra to pop up over the long weekend.
Locro is the hearty, stick-to-your-ribs stew mainly composed of corn and pumpkin and is perhaps the most symbolic of May 25. Varying from province to province, its exact components and ingredients differ depending on who is at the helm in the kitchen. We know that it dates back to around 1590, when Jesuit Father Joseph de Acosta first noted down the recipe for this beloved stew. Initially just one for the veggies, meat was later added to the mix. Fearers of mystery meat be warned: the odd unknown animal part is known to bob about in the stew. Remember, it only adds to the flavor and it’s all just protein after all, so don’t go on offending anyone’s abuelita who surely spent hours preparing the dish for you.
If you’re looking to go for a bowl of it head to restaurant Moshu (Moldes 3802). Serving up locro inspired by a family recipe, the restaurant is keeping it authentic and going for a traditional variety to be served on both the 25th and 26th. If you’re desperate for the best locro in town and couldn’t possibly wait until Friday, head to Ña Serapia (Av. Las Heras 3357) for one of the city’s most famed stews.
We’re sure empanadas are already a staple in your usual comfort food requirements, but in case you were in need of any other excuse to tuck into the carbie dream, May 25th is the day. Typically it is meat empanadas served on the big day, but again expect varieties to pop up that are dependent on the region. For the best empanadas in town, head to Recoleta’s cult favorite La Cocina (Av. Pueyrredón 1508). A traditional hole in the wall spot, its empanadas from the Catamarca province are baked to order and arrive piping hot on a metal plate. All of the usual flavors can be found, but their carne picante one is supreme (true connoisseurs will be sure to tuck into the pikachu variety for a true flavor explosion). Wash it all down with a glass of house wine and you’ll be feeling like a modern gaucho in no time.
With its roots in indigenous style cooking, way back before the 1810 revolution, humita is a longstanding Argentine delicacy. Composed of maize and fresh cheese and wrapped in a corn husk (en chala), it is the ideal warming snack. Humita, along with meat and veg stew carbonada is served up year round in regional cuisine restaurant 1810 Cocina Regional (Mendoza 2320 & Julián Álvarez 1998), so if you can’t manage to get your act together this weekend, no need to stress.
You definitely won’t be limited with dessert options either. Crispy sweet quince stuffed pastry bites pastelitos are a must to accompany your round of afternoon mate. Or the deliciously simple tortas fritas, disk-shaped flat cakes, they are fried and coated in sugar. Served warm and of course, with mate, they are a perfect merienda treat. Often sold on street corners, the tortas will be out in full force in citywide bakeries come Friday.
For your homely comfort food based desert, give mazamorra a try. Also made with boiled maize, it varies across the South American continent as to whether milk or water is added. Kind of a rice pudding equivalent, it’s perfect for chillier fall days.
For your dose of a sugar hit, head to Palermo restaurant Inmigrante (José Antonio Cabrera 4667) for the homemade churros and hot chocolate. For one night only (May 25th – claro), there will be a special three-course menu, which as well as the all-important churros will include lamb empanadas and locro. Created by chef Leandro Di Mare, Inmigrante’s specially curated menu is one not to be missed. If talk of a three-course menu has got you thinking fancy, Recoleta based bistro Roux (Peña 2300) has creatively mixed up old favorites to create the ultimate 25 de mayo menu, running from May 22nd through the 26th. Including treats like a homemade dulce de leche volcano, and mini quinoa empanadas, the suckling goat served with polenta and roasted eggplant is one for the ultimate foodie. Be sure to book your table ahead of time.
If you feel like going a little more low key, all of your patriotic food cravings should be taken care of by the first edition of the Sabores de la Patria food market. Entrance is free and you’ll be able to browse around and take your pick of all the many traditional Argentine savory and sweet foods. The city’s food trucks, as well as many porteño restaurants like Don Julio and Villa Crespo’s Malvón will all be taking part, representing every province’s regional cuisine. Located along the Paseo de la Costa in Vicente López, the food festival will be open on both Friday 25th and Saturday 26th from 11 AM to 7 PM.
Here’s to a food-filled 25 de mayo!