Parrilla Tour 燒烤美食團／李明熙
本想在布宜諾斯艾利斯參加歷史文化導賞團，在網上一搜，竟被 Parrilla Tour（直譯：燒烤團）吸引著，歷史成分不高，但肯定百分百阿根廷文化。
Parrilla Tour 雖以燒烤為名，實際是深入一般遊客不會到訪的 Palermo 平民區，品嚐街坊美食。以 Finger Food 及白酒作前菜，然後牛排配紅酒，再以雪糕作終結，可以說是一個完整的 5 – course meal。行程共有 4 站，走近 2 公里路，每完一站總有飽肚感覺，走幾個街口後確實幫助消化，一坐下又可以馬上食過。
阿根廷飲食文化中有句笑話，用英語比較押韻：「Are you vegetarian or Argentinian？（你是素食者或阿根廷人？）」素食者來到阿根廷是一個挑戰，阿根廷人天天食肉，而且烤至全熟，但本地牛肉脂肪比例高，Well-done 牛排亦不太硬。
燒烤團自然亦以肉食為主，打頭陣是足球迷至愛的 Choripán 熱狗。豬肉腸中間切開燒烤，夾入法式長麵包，再沾上每店獨製的 Chimichurri 醬油。相比美式熱狗，Choripán 沒有半點 Junk Food 的感覺，豬肉腸帶有炭爐烤味，鬆脆的法式長麵包亦比軟綿綿的熱狗包更有咬口。
主菜是西冷牛扒（Bife de chorizo）和沒有脂肪的牛腩排（Entraña），一肥一瘦，一厚一薄。西冷牛扒是阿根廷最暢銷的牛肉部位，每公斤賣約 80 港元。自從 Parrilla Tour 後，我們學會了到肉店買 Bife de chorizo 回家煎，1 公斤剛好厚切 4 塊，足夠食 2 餐。自己煎，7 成熟更多汁。
最後一站是雪糕店。第一次遊阿根廷的話，Dulce de leche 是不二之選的口味，味道似焦糖，但很重煉奶香。當地人喜歡用 Dulce de leche 當麵包醬，我覺得甜到梗喉，但換作雪糕口味，比較容易入口之餘，亦嚐出甜的層次。
Parrilla Tour 全程兩個半小時，切記餓著肚子出發。
What exactly is asado? Depending on who you ask, you may get many different answers. Here is what I learned from asking around: asado can refer to a specific cut of beef, it can be the act of grilling meat, it can simply replace the word barbecue and it can be the party or gathering where meat is grilled.
We arrived at Frank’s home, the owner of Asado Adventure, around 10:30 in the morning. Asado Adventure provides tourists with a traditional asado experience. We met two other couples that joined the tour and learned how to build a fire in the grill. Argentinians typically use charcoal for asado, but not the briquettes that are common in USA. Any Argentinian would not be caught dead using briquettes, its a big no-no. They use lump charcoal which is wood that is partially burned and heated without oxygen and turns into carbon.
Next, we learned how to make chimichurri: a “sauce” to put on your meat just before eating. It is an oil base with oregano, dried sweet peppers, garlic, salt, sugar, paprika and a few other herbs and spices. It’s very tasty and we have been eating tons of it since entering Argentina.
After the fire and chimichurri, we took off on a walking tour of the neighborhood to collect our other ingredients. We were shown many different murals and street art on the way to our first stop, the butcher shop. Picanha is a cut of beef called sirloin cap in USA. It is basically the top cover of the rump. Most Argentinians cook there beef well done and surprisingly this does not dry it out or make it tough because the quality of their beef is so incredible. After your first bite, nothing you have ever tried before compares to Argentina beef.
Once we picked up the beef, we stopped at a bakery for bread and then to a specialty wine shop. The sommelier gave us a tasting of Torrontés, a white wine from the north of the country. Although it was delicious, we went for a few bottles of Argentina’s famous Malbec to compliment the beef.
We arrived back at Frank’s home where we were met with Picada and Fernet. Picada is a spread of cured meat, cheese and pickles; something to pick at while chatting. Fernet is a popular alcohol, either drank straight or mixed with coke. I would’ve been happy with the picada as my lunch, but the Fernet was a little bitter and tasted a bit like licorice, it was not my favorite.
Since December is summertime in Argentina, we moved outside to a beautiful courtyard with a large table and a view of the grill. There was a grill master cooking so many different kinds of meat and other things for our lunch. We opened the wine and sat down for our feast.
There was so much delectable food our taste buds were overloaded. First came Provoleta, a provolone-type of cheese that is cooked on the grill. Sweetbreads, the veal thymus gland or as I refer to these things, the insides. Different cuts of pork, salads, and more wine. Then, the main course, steak. Followed by dessert that I couldn’t even look at because I was so full.
The meal was absolutely amazing, but it was the entire experience that made this day our best in Buenos Aires. Asado is not just barbecue, its so much more. Experiencing this made us feel like a local, we made new friends and it taught us so much about Argentinians and their fabulous culture.