Whenever I travel I always enjoy digging a little deeper into the local culture, really getting to know the in’s and out’s in what little time I may have there. When visiting Argentina it is easy to get caught up in the famed tango, beef, leather and other tourist attractions. Not to say those are merely superficial tourist experiences- in many ways those things are what make Argentina, Argentina. They are famous because they are the most talked about highlights and they are fun things to do.
The other day we were sitting around discussing some of the less famous souvenirs and things to try in Buenos Aires that you could either stumble upon with dumb luck or be told by a more seasoned traveler, visitor or expat in Buenos Aires. Let us share the knowledge!
1. Local Grocery Store: A great way to see some of the local foods, snacks and preferences that you would not normally see eating in restaurants every night. At minimum you’ll have a random find or two of something that perks your interest. Here are some of our favorites…
2. Ice Cream With so many cows destined for the butcher shop it makes sense that there would be a healthy supply of dairy in Argentina. Toss in a bit of Italian heritage (Gelato) and you have the recipe for incredible ice cream. Check out some of these local stomping grounds and be sure to mix in something else besides Dulce de Leche! *Hint: Crema de Maracuya at Volta is a flavor of the gods.
On a quick side note: One of my father’s favorite Argentine inventions is the practical ice cream cone holder/drip blocker (pictured above). Comes with most purchases during the hot summer months here!
3. Berocca Oh yes, this list gets more random the further you go. These little effervescent tablets are rumored to be one of the best non-alcoholic hang-over cures. Meant to increase both your daily dose of vitamin B and mental prowess, many can attest to passing through customs with a few of these tubes for the future. These things are like the “day after pill” for binge drinking.
4. Alpargatas: Resembling something out of a kung fu film, these “ninja slippers” are by a long shot some of the most comfortable house slippers you can find. Yes, these are the originals, the same shoes that inspired “Tom’s” in the U.S. They are durable enough to wear around town too if you buy the right kind! Hint*: Buy these (ironically) near China town or anywhere but Florida street.
5. Last, and most likely to be seen as trivial are the keys. When I was growing up skeleton keys were only found in grandma and grandpa’s house tucked away in some drawer full of other oddities. And for some odd reason these keys just had this Sherlock Holmes, old school feel to them. These are still quite commonly used here in Argentina along side some crazy varieties of key shapes I had never seen before. If you’re renting an apartment then you’ll have a set soon enough. The “cylindrical spear”, the “mini-revolver”, “flat side multiple choice” and many more. You’ll know what I’m talking about soon enough.
I know, the last one is a little weak, but every time this is brought up amongst expats and tourists alike, they all agree that it’s a cool minor touch on their stay in Buenos Aires.
See you guys soon!