Paper napkins

Sorry guys a boring one here. What? You think every sight, sound, taste and experience of Argentina is memorable? Well, yes most of it is – but sometimes for the wrong reasons. Quite a lot of stuff out here is shit. I’ll soon be writing blogs relating to public administration and toilets (oh my god THE TOILETS) but this little piece of blog-roll pays homage to the humble napkin, serviette or whatever you’d like to call it. They call it servilleta.

Argentine food is such that it requires eating with your hands. Most street food is cased in bread to prevent all the fat, chimichurri and vacio marinating your t shirt. If you attempt to eat these lomos or choripans in the street with cutlery you’ll probably end up being mugged forcing you to demonstrate your self-defense skills with a plastic knife and fork.

So your hands and face get covered in grease. It’s a small price to pay having eaten something tasty. You could lick your fingers, but I am British so I’d imagine myself looking too suggestive to those onlookers. I could wipe my mouth in my sleeve, but I am British and my mother would not be too happy. Additionally it is so hot, no one wears sleeves. So, it comes down to using what is essentially tracing paper. Tiny pieces of tracing paper.

I remember as a kid wanting to trace stuff to help draw a Transformer from a comic. My grandmother would often give me some grease-proof paper to perform this task. Results were decent, too. Napkins that could achieve the same effect as grease-proof paper. Trying to absorb grease from your hands with something designed to repel grease is a losing battle. Just keep wiping. And wiping.

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Three napkins down and my hands are still greasier than a can of WD40

OK, so I’m being petulant. And really, if I was to complain about stuff over here there are more worthwhile causes for me to launch my vitriol at. I guess coming from a background of food safety I require something a little more… safe for food.

But fuck it tastes good and I’d rather worry about the toilets than this.

Choripán(s)

What’s not to like? Cramming some sausage between two baps sounds like a good evening. And it is. Believe it or not it’s an(other) informal food prepared outside over fire. The portmanteau of Choripán comes from the Brangelina-isation of Chorizo (herby sausage) and pan (bread).

It’s everywhere you look – it’s often the only thing to choose from.

Am I a fan? 

You know those people who say, “everything in moderation”? Well, that’s not me. Like Oscar Wilde I like to moderate my moderation and don’t apply it to my food. Most things I can eat until I can’t fit any more in – or drink until I’m face down on someone’s… chest. However, choripáns really fill me up (notice how I used the plural there) and I can’t eat more than 2.5.

OK, that sounds like a lot – but these were small ones, spread out over a whole evening with nothing else on offer. They were nice too – not the best (that’s to come) but they certainly did not offend me. And after returning home from these 2.5 choripánitos I hit the hay and woke up with the most hideous bout of explosive diarrhea. I don’t want to paint a vivid picture… but lets just say that I could’ve painted a brown mural big enough to cover a large section of the Great Wall of China.

So what was the best I’ve had?

I don20161119_001854-01‘t want this paragraph to read like the script of a 70’s bawdy sitcom, but I was taken under the bridge of the freeway by Jime’s brother. The length of salchichas on offer was like none that I’d seen. I couldn’t wait to wrap my mouth around a couple and start working away at them. OK, enough of this.

I think it might have been the addition of the chimichurri and salad that helped to break up the overload of chorizo that you normally feel. The setting was good too; the roar of the freeway above, the laughter of families enjoying their Friday night and the ring of the beer cap rollicking on the concrete as the ice cold Andes began to be poured. The smoke from the grill obscured everything but from behind this air-fat emerged what looked like a pair of anacondas waiting to wiggle their way into my mouth.

It was an amazing meal. But it was too big. Even for me! We should’ve ordered one to share, but I didn’t want to lessen the experience by sacrificing half the length. It was busy too – I had a stool to sit on, Jime’s brother had a freezer box and we sat at the table where the bread was being cut. But it didn’t matter.

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2 choripans is 1 portion

So, there it was, underneath the bridge, next to Godoy Cruz Football Stadium. A classic Argentine street food, with a classic Argentine atmosphere. But for me; a little tooooo much – until the next time.