The culinary delights of Uruguay have enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in recent years. Like Argentina, the Uruguayan diet is meat heavy making it a little tricky for vegetarians, but a food paradise for carnivores. Here’s our rundown of the best things to eat during your visit.
Let’s start with the most famous and most popular. The asado is essentially a barbecue, but will be unlike any you’ve known back at home. Huge cuts of beef, pork and lamb along with sausages and offal are slow cooked over huge charcoal parrillas. Best washed down with plenty of Uruguayan red. Visiting Uruguay without trying an asado is unthinkable.
Asado con cuero
Similar to a normal asado, the only variation being the whole animal, skin and all, is cooked over the flames. Typically, a cow or sheep, the body is spread eagle and then slow cooked for hours. The sheer space required to cook this means you’re more likely to find it in the countryside than the city.
Choripán is a favourite of ours. This spicy chorizo sausage is cooked over charcoal and usually served in a bread with lashings of chimichurri sauce. Often one of the first things to come off an asado barbecue.
There is nothing quite as iconic as the empanada. Almost every Latin American country has their own variety and Uruguay is no different. Typically filled with minced beef and cheese, these crispy baked pastry morsels are delicious. Just remember to order more than one! For something a little different, try the empanadas Gallegas, a fishy version packed with tuna and peppers.
Black pudding, boiled pork blood sausage, tends to divide people. Some love the earthy flavour and texture, others can’t stand the stuff. In Uruguay, their morcilla comes with added raisons and nuts to give it a slightly sweeter taste than other versions.
A popular dish all over Latin America with roots firmly in Italy. Beef or chicken is flattened before being breaded and fried until golden brown. For something more luxurious, go for a milanesa rellena which includes melted cheese and ham.
Also known as gnocchi, this potato based pasta from Italy has long been eaten on the 29th of every month in Uruguay when the average worker gets paid. You can’t beat a bowl of homemade gnocchi which sometimes has a coin or note placed below it which is supposed to attract prosperity.
Take a frankfurter and place between a bun called a pan de viena. Add plenty of condiments, and you’ve got the South American version of a hot dog. Great at the end of a heavy night to help soak up the booze.
Pizza por metro
Literally meaning ‘pizza by the metre’, here it’s sold in rectangles not circles. Usually cooked in a big wood fired clay oven, you can choose the ingredients you want it topped with.
Dulce de Leche
While not a dessert itself, it’s used in any manner of ways from spreading on toast to eating with your morning medialunas pastries. You won’t go far in Uruguay without seeing sweet, caramel-like dulce de leche.
Like Argentina, Uruguay have somewhat of an obsession with these short bread biscuits filled with sticky dulce de leche. We can see why. They are as delicious as they sound and best eaten with a strong black coffee.
These long star-shaped cylinders of fried dough covered in icing sugar have their origins in Spain, but they are just as popular in Uruguay. Look out for vendors setting up on street corners in the early evening and buy them as soon as they’ve come out the fryer.
Arroz con leche
Delicious, creamy rice pudding. Who wouldn’t like it.
Usually served for breakfast, these little pastries of different sizes and shapes are eaten in the morning with strong black coffee. They can come as either sweet or savory, both of which are delicious.
The national drink of Uruguay, grappamiel is made from distilled spirit mixed with honey. It’s strong, so be careful when you’re drinking it.
Like the gauchos in Argentina, the yerba herbal drink of mate is consumed in the sort of quantities the British drink tea. Many Uruguyan’s can be seen headed to work carrying a thermos flask of hot water and mate cups.
Want to try the food of Uruguay? Start planning your trip to the country today by calling one of our experts on +44 (0) 207 1478 or email us here.