People remember experiences in many ways.

For some, a photographic memory holds every detail of each moment, while others can recall full conversations. As for me, my memories are in the food — especially when it comes to remembering my study abroad experiences. To this day, a cup of mate, a caffeine-rich South American tea, sends me back to Buenos Aires and conversations with friends. But my Argentine memories revolve around more than just maté; the smells and flavors of asados, choripan, and empanadas always take me right back to my time in Buenos Aires! (Fast-forward five years and I still reach for maté when I’m feeling sluggish. Pro-tip: it comes in tea bags!)

And speaking of empanadas, I have a fond place in my heart for these delicious little pastries filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables. Shortly after arriving in Buenos Aires, my classmates and I gathered for orientation. We were all tired and starving after a long flight, then a staff member walked into the room holding four large, pink boxes filled with empanadas. That was the first thing I ate in Buenos Aires and I knew at first taste that it was going to be a good trip. In fact, we enjoyed the empanadas so much that we made it our mission to find our own empanada source…and we did! The restaurant was named Squzi and it was located entirely too close to our apartment.

But believe it or not, as much as you love empanadas, there is such a thing as too much cheese.

You’re probably shaking your head in doubt, but trust me! Luckily, there’s a simple cure for cheese overload: meat! An Argentine asado is sort of like an all-you-can-eat meat barbecue, minus the sauces. It’s a truly unique experience that’s best shared with friends, because there’s no way one person can eat it all. They bring you dish after wonderful dish, until eventually you have to hold your hands up in defeat. Much like maté (and most other Argentine activities), asados are meant to be social experiences. As you sit around the table stuffing your face, you’re sharing stories with your friends and trying your best to not mention that test everyone’s actively trying to forget. 

There’s another experience you must have in Buenos Aires: choripan after dark. In the words of Passion Pit, “take a walk!” to a special part of Buenos Aires called Puerto Madero that contains an even more special treat…food trucks!  When I think back to my time in Argentina, I picture Avienda del 9 de Julio, street markets, and Casa Rosada, but my main memories are of eating choripan (grilled chorizo sausage on crusty bread) with friends at night on Puerto Madero. 

I encourage you to try all of these dishes and create your own memories. Buenos Aires is a lively city full of friendly people, so pass the maté, hear their stories, and make your own!

Steven Paschal is an Admissions Counselor at CEA Study Abroad, an organization that helps students spend a semester, a summer, or an academic year studying abroad in 12 countries. Where will your learning take you?