According to BRIDGAT.COM, Uruguayan cuisine is a mix of Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, British and German culinary traditions. Here they eat a lot of meat, vegetables (especially potatoes), sweets and drink a lot of wine.
- The main national dish is asado a la parilla (“asado-a-la-parilla”). This is fresh meat cut into plates, cooked on a grill and always on charcoal. The meat can be anything from beef, lamb, and even sausages, but the woody flavor it infuses during the cooking process is the most important ingredient. Steaks are served in almost every restaurant and are usually medium rare, if you like well done, you should clarify that you need bien cocido.
- Chivitois a huge meat or chicken sandwich served with French fries, eggs and vegetables. Hamburgers in Uruguay are served in much the same way, but sandwiches are much cheaper. They are eaten with a knife and fork, and one serving is enough for two.
- Milanesa(Milanesa) – Another popular dish in Uruguay, this is thinly sliced meat and fried in breadcrumbs. Sometimes fried eggs are placed on top, and sometimes they are fried along with bread. There is also a relatively low-calorie version of milanesa, when the meat is baked in the oven with little or no oil.
There are many immigrants from Italy in Uruguay, so pizza is highly valued here, which is not considered fast food in this country. Pizza here is made in a square shape and always with a lot of mozzarella.
- Traditional Uruguayan soup puchero(puchero) used to be seen only on the tables of poor peasants. Today, this soup in meat or chicken broth with corn and potatoes is served even in the most expensive restaurants.
- Uruguayans are very fond of pasta, which is cooked here with a lot of sauce, caruso sauce with cream, ham and mushrooms is especially popular. Also, dumplings (cappelletti) with meat or spinach and cheese filling are served in this sauce.
There are many fish restaurants in the coastal towns, grilled cod fillet is especially popular, but other fish and seafood are also served.
There is no fast food as such in Uruguay – food is not in a hurry. But for snacks and a quick snack, empanadas are perfect – pies with different fillings: meat, ham, spinach with cheese, chicken, etc. Empanadas are usually served in restaurants instead of bread in portions of several pieces, in bakeries you can buy by the piece. Also popular are pies without filling – “tartas fritas” (tartas fritas).
The most popular sweet in Uruguay is dulce de leche. This is a milky vanilla caramel that tastes like our boiled condensed milk. Other Uruguayan desserts are “postre chaja” (postre chaja, a sponge cake with meringue, sour cream and peaches) and “milhojas” (milhojas), an analogue of the Napoleon cake we know.
The traditional Uruguayan drink is yerba mate. This is Paraguayan tea, which is brewed from young leaves and branches of the Paraguayan holly and drunk from dried gourds – calabash with a special tube – bombilla. Mate is drunk here at any time of the day or night, in the morning instead of coffee and at parties. This is a very invigorating and rather strong drink, sometimes sugar or honey is added to it.
In the heat, the tutti frutti drink is popular here – freshly squeezed juice with ice. In Uruguay, sparkling water is very popular: the most popular brand of soda with different fruit flavors is Salus, and local doctors even prescribe Coca-Cola for gastritis.
The local analogue of the Spanish sangria “clerico” (clerico) is made from white wine and alcoholized fruits and is also drunk in the heat, sometimes some fruit liqueur is added for strength and ice.
Beer in Uruguay is pretty good and mostly light, light, usually sold in liter bottles or kegs. Of the strong drinks, you should try grappamiel, a honey tincture with a strength of 20-25 degrees, many restaurants make it themselves.
Food in Uruguay is an important part of the national culture and almost a religion, they love food here, they talk a lot about it and often immediately after breakfast they start discussing lunch, and after lunch – dinner.
It is not customary to have a hearty breakfast here – maximum mate or coffee and sweet pastries, so you can not count on an omelette or oatmeal in a cafe in the morning. Lunch is usually hearty, always with meat, many restaurants offer a “menu of the day” for 300-600 UYU at lunchtime. Wine is rarely served for dinner, the most popular drink is sweet soda. At 18:00-19:00 comes the time for a late afternoon snack after work, usually pastries, cookies, marmalade or other sweets with mate or the same sweet soda. Restaurants at this time work only in tourist areas, everything else is closed.
They dine late in Uruguay. Restaurants open for dinner around 21:00, and by 22:00 the first visitors arrive. At home, it is customary to start preparing asado no earlier than 22:00, here it is considered normal to call and invite them to dinner around midnight.
The most popular type of restaurant in the country is “parilla” (parilla), specializing in asado and other meat dishes. One of the most famous restaurants in Uruguay, La Huella, is located in José Ignacio. It is built in the form of an ordinary surfer bungalow, rather inconspicuous in appearance, the tables are right on the sand, but it is believed that the best meat in the whole country is prepared here.
Lunch in a Montevideo restaurant will cost about 7-8 UYU per person, dinner in an inexpensive restaurant – from 20-25 UYU for two.
5 things to do in Uruguay:
- Taste real Uruguayan mate and make sure that it invigorates better than coffee.
- Rent a bike and ride the entire Colonia del Sacramento waterfront.
- Look at the sea lions on Lobos Island and try to outshout them.
- Get a luxurious tan on the Atlantic coast.
- Chat with hippies in the settlement of Cabo Polonio, who have lived there since the 70s. and to this day.
Not far from the resort village of La Paloma, there is a natural reserve of Laguna de Rocha with an area of about 22 hectares. Birds, turtles, dolphins and whales live there in their natural habitat.
Lobos Island is known for the largest population of sea lions on the continent – there are about 200 thousand of them. They are not at all afraid of people, splashing in the water, sunbathing on the rocks and quite noisy, so you can find them without much difficulty.
There is also a corner of nature almost in the very center of the capital – the only botanical garden in the country is located in Montevideo. Over 130 sq. m of its territory is almost completely planted with plants brought here from all over the world. Uruguayan scientists are engaged in their cultivation and selection, then planted in city parks. There is also a museum in the botanical garden, and butterflies are also cultivated here, which can be seen in spring and summer. The garden has its own park, where you can relax and walk, but photography is prohibited.