When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

CLARIN

Meat-Loving Argentina Asks: Where's The Beef?

Cost-conscious chefs in Buenos Aires veer away from top sirloin to lesser cuts -- and pork and poultry too.

Buenos Aires' Mercado San Telmo
Buenos Aires' Mercado San Telmo
Mariana Garcia

BUENOS AIRES – It’s not easy being vegetarian in Argentina. Known for its delicious meat cuts and one of the world leaders in beef consumption per capita, is the meat capital of the world undergoing a beef revolution?

The most popular meat cuts consumed today are the ones used to make milanesas (wiener schnitzel) – tenderloin or rump steak. Following these are sirloin and strip steak, short ribs, and flank steak. What do all of these cuts have in common? Well, they’re the priciest cuts. So, lately, chefs all around Argentina have been trying to bring other, less expensive cuts en vogue.

Standing over a hot pan, Fernando Trocca, owner of Sucre, a restaurant on the culinary forefront in Buenos Aires, puts a piece of veal shank in, looks at the camera and says “I love ossobuco.”

Trocca has been using veal shanks for 20 years now. “It’s a very good cut if you know how to cook it properly. These days, it’s hard to make money in the restaurant industry so, when you’re putting a menu together you must be smart and know how to use the least expensive cuts in order to make a reasonable profit margin,” he says.

For some restaurateurs, it’s a question of numbers, for others its snobbism. What is true, however, is that many chefs are now paddlling upstream and using older, cheaper cuts.

Meat for health or for wealth?

Food critic Pietro Sorba reaffirms that Argentines are indeed reducing the amount of beef in their diets. Thanks to rising prices and busy schedules, they’re eating more pork and chicken.

“People are looking for cuts of meat with less fat and that don’t need long and complicated preparation. In general, consumers are looking for beef that is deep red in color, with little fat marbling,” he wrote in his book New Argentine Cuisine.

Piaf is a butcher’s shop in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires that also sells to big restaurants. Manager Florencia Crucci boasts that the store still sells every meat cut – everything from chuck blade to trotters. She explains that even though the trend is slow, shanks are definitely having a revival. But, it’s not a question of fashion, she continues, it’s because of wallet capacity – the shanks cost about $5.39 per kilogram while tenderloin goes for $15.20.

“One of the problems is that people don’t know how, or have the time, to cook properly anymore. For veal shanks to be tasty, you have to leave them for 2 hours, at the very least,” she says.

Diego Salas from the Majan butcher agrees: ossobuco might be selling like hotcakes lately, but it still doesn’t beat a steak.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

Mahsa Amini, Martyr Of An Iranian Regime Designed To Abuse Women

The 22-year-old is believed to have been beaten to death at a Tehran police station last week after "morality police" had reprimanded her clothing. The case has sparked the nation's outrage. But as ordinary Iranians testify, such beatings, torture and a home brand of misogyny are hallmarks of the 40-year Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mahsa Amini

Firouzeh Nordstrom

-Analysis-

TEHRAN — The death in Iran of a 22-year-old Mahsa Amini — after she was arrested by the so-called "morality police" — has unleashed another wave of protests, as thousands of Iranians vent their fury against an intrusive and violent regime. Indeed, as tragically exceptional as the circumstances appear, the reaction reflects the daily reality of abuse by authorities, especially directed toward women

Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian girl visiting Tehran with relatives, was detained by the regime's morality patrols on Sept. 13, apparently for not respecting the Islamic dress code that includes proper use of the hijab headscarf. Amini was declared dead two or three days after being taken into custody. Officials say she fainted and died, and blamed a preexisting heart condition. But neither her family nor anyone else in Iran believe that, as can be seen in the mounting protests that have now left at least three dead.

For Amini's was hardly the first arbitrary arrest, or the first suspected death in custody under Iran's Islamic regime.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ