The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to Argentine Food
Argentina has a vibrant cultural heritage with a unique blend of historical influences. While the five countries with the most similar food to Argentina are located on three different continents, all these countries have populations that are primarily European in ancestry. With the exception of the United States, they are predominately Catholic as well.
- Chile and Argentina share a long border along the Andes Mountains. Both Spanish-speaking countries love mouthwatering cuts of beef, lamb, and sausages sizzle on grills, accompanied by vibrant chimichurri sauce. Empanadas, a culinary gem, are also found in both countries, although Chilean versions often include seafood or cheese fillings. Wheat and potatoes are the two most commonly eaten starches in these countries.
- Uruguay borders Argentina to its east and both are located along the Atlantic Coast as well. Grilled meats, known as asado, are popular in both cultures. Chivito, a hearty sandwich filled with steak, ham, cheese, and toppings, is a beloved specialty shared by both countries. In addition, both countries have a passion for mate, a traditional beverage made from the dried leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant.
- Malta is the European country with the most similar cuisine to Argentina. It is small island nation located off the coast of Italy. In Malta, pastizzi, savory pastries filled with cheese or peas, are similar to Argentina’s empanadas. The love for pasta, pizzas, and hearty stews further showcases the culinary connection rooted in Italian traditions shared by both countries.
- United States and Argentina experienced significant waves of European immigration throughout their histories. The culinary traditions brought by these immigrants have influenced the local cuisines of both countries. Barbecue and grilled meats are extremely popular in both countries. Argentina, like many other nations, has embraced fast food, with popular chains offering burgers, hot dogs, and fried foods.
- Italy is another Mediterranean country on this list. Massive waves of Italian immigrants during the late 19th and early 20th centuries left an indelible mark on Argentine culture. Pasta dishes, such as spaghetti and ravioli, are commonly eaten in Argentina, while milanesa, a breaded and fried meat cutlet, pays homage to the Italian escalope. Both nations love delectable desserts like tiramisu and dulce de leche.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Argentine Food
Four of the five countries with the least similar food to Argentina are located in Africa. The climate in these countries tends to be extremely hot, since they are closer to the equator than Argentina. With the exception of the Solomon Islands, these countries have relatively little coastline as well. Interestingly enough, four of the five have French as one of their official languages. These countries are also significantly less developed than Argentina as well.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is located in the middle of Africa. The country features vast swathes of dense rainforests, since its climate is hot and humid. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country. Compared to Argentina, people in Congo eat very little meat.
- Solomon Islands is the only nation not in Africa on this list. It is a Melanesian archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean. The country’s diet is much more reliant on sweet potato, yam, taro, and coconut than Argentina. Furthermore, pelagic fish are the country’s largest source of meat, while beef and chicken are more common in Argentina.
- Burundi‘s cuisine relies heavily on staple crops such as sorghum, maize, beans, and root vegetables like cassava, sweet potatoes, and yams, which are abundant in the region. Furthermore, a large part of Burundi’s typical diet is reliant of bananas.
- Chad is yet another landlocked African country on this list. Sorghum and millet are the two most commonly consumed grains in the country. These crops are well adapted to the Sahel’s harsh climate. One popular dish is saka-saka, a mix of spinach and cassava leaves.
- Niger is a predominately Muslim country. It has an extremely hot and dry climate, so it is mostly desert. Its two most common staple foods are millet and sorghum. Some unique dishes in Niger include tuwo, a porridge made from millet or sorghum, and dambunama, a dish made from millet, vegetables, and meat.
Argentina’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Beef, Chicken
Fruit: Orange, Lemon
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Wheat, Potato
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.