When you order an ice cold beer in Argentina, it is highly likely that you’ll get more than that. Literally. Most bar tenders will add a dish of salted peanuts, at the very least.

Triolet: a tasty trio
However, if you’re lucky in your choice of drinking establishment, you will get a triolet. This holy trinity has nothing to do with poetry and a lot to do with keeping patrons drinking. It consists of three ingredients: potato crisps, salted peanuts and palitos salados (highly addictive small sticks of deep fried dough, covered in salt). Thanks to their saltiness, these nibbles go perfectly well with beer. Sometimes this combo is listed as cerveza con ingredientes on the menu and is included in the price of the beer.

Triolet (from left to right): palitos fritos, potato crisps, salted peanuts
Triolet (from left to right): palitos fritos, potato crisps, salted peanuts

Picada: our answer to tapas?
A picada may possibly be considered the Argentinean answer to Spanish tapas. Although the components are different, the basic premise is the same: small portions of food that can be easily eaten with your fingers while partaking of your favourite beverage.

Personally, I love picadas. They’re great for impromptu parties, when friends show up announced or when you don’t feel like cooking. They’re also usually eaten before an asado (Argentinean barbeque) to whet people’s appetite.

All you need to do is buy lots of crusty bread and some or all of the following: olives, cheeses, pickled veggies, ham, salami, liverwurst, potato crisps (or chips, depending which side of the Atlantic you live on), palitos fritos, cold cuts, maybe some fresh fruit like grapes, beer, wine and any other type of finger food you can come up with. You cut up each ingredient into small pieces and serve in a small dish or bowl. Add good conversation and voila!

Picada with friends
My friends Pia, Carolina, Ana and I put together this picada on my last visit home. We ate, drank and chatted for hours on end.

Read more:
Mate – a most democratic infusion
Quebrada de Humahuaca – hidden Argentina
Empanada FAQ – Everything you need to know about the Argentinean snack


About the author

Ana Astri-O’Reilly is from Argentina, where she lived until five years ago. She currently lives in Dallas, USA with her British husband, but they move a lot. Previously a translator and English and Spanish teacher, Ana first started writing to share her experiences and adventures with friends and family. She speaks Spanish, English and a smattering of Portuguese.