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With Argentina to the west, Brazil to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, it is understandable that Uruguay’s cuisine has many influences. Uruguay has a wide range of delicious dishes to delight your taste buds. With the variety of time-honored menu items and flavors, you are sure to find something to enjoy. In every town, there are restaurants (known as ‘asparillas’) that use the traditional process of grilling meat over wood fires (called ‘asados’).
Traditional Uruguayan Dishes
Steak – Cows outnumber people in Uruguay by 3 to 1, so steak is a national dish and they do it right. It can be prepared any way you prefer, from rare to well done.
Milanesa – A thin, breaded steak served with puree (mashed potatoes) or french fries. A breaded chicken breast is called ‘milanesa de pollo’.
Chivito – A basic steak sandwich, found on the menu of just about every restaurant across the country. Add any, or all, of the following toppings (it can also be made with a chicken breast):
- Hard boiled egg
Sausage and Sweetbreads – Getting tired of eating steak? Here are other things you can add to a sandwich:
- Morcillas (blood sausage)
- Chinchulines (pig intestines)
- Mollejas (sweetbreads)
- Chorizo (spicy sausage)
Choripan – This is a chorizo presented in a long, crispy roll, and served with toppings such as lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, onions, etc.
Pancho – This is the name for Uruguayan hot dogs. They are less spicy and smaller than the chorizo and are very flavorful.
Merluza (white fish) – An inexpensive dish, fresh fish is widely available, given that most of the population lives along the Atlantic Ocean or the La Plata River. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, including grilled, smoked, or baked. Lemon sauce is added for a sweet and tart flavor.
For the Dessert Lover…
You’ve come to the right place. Uruguayans love sweets and share a flavor palette with Argentina.
Dulce de Leche – A sweet paste, this is the base for most of the country’s desserts. Derived from slowly heating sweetened milk, it is added to cakes, pies, pastries, and ice cream to give it a traditional Latin American flavor. It can also be used as a topping on toast for breakfast.
Churros – Originally from Spain, these are popular throughout Latin America. Churros are fried dough rolled into tubes and sprinkled with sugar. Sometimes they are stuffed with chocolate or dulce de leche.
Alfajores – This dessert is a popular import from Argentina. With dulce de leche sandwiched between two pieces of moist cake, there is a wide range of flavors.
Flan – This is another dessert well known across Latin America. Flan is made by baking sweet, condensed milk in a pie pan, eventually becoming a creamy custard. Then it is topped with a thin layer of caramel.
Learning about a country’s menu before you arrive can better prepare you to have an amazing travel experience. It is important to know that Uruguay’s cuisine is high in protein and sugar, but low in fruits and vegetables. This will help you maintain a healthy, balanced diet throughout your adventure. And if during your travels, should you need to accept any money from those back home, check out Sharemoney’s online remittance service to Uruguay.
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