The best sandwich in the world

Friday, August 7, 2015

Despite having lived a year in the city previously, being back in Buenos Aires I found myself wanting to do all the typical touristic things again. From the colorful houses of Caminito in La Boca to the graves of the rich and the famous in Recoleta, I felt inspired to take on the city as if it were new to me. And as any tourist in Buenos Aires should, I headed out on a Sunday to hit up San Telmo Market.

Charcuteries sandwiches in San Telmo's indoor market
San Telmo is an old iconic barrio near the city center. It is home to some beautiful old buildings and generally has a really great vibe. With a big indoor market and streets filled with stalls on Sundays, this is a great place to come and stroll the day away while checking out hundreds of identical jewelry and clothing stores in the belief you will find something you eventually want to buy.

While you ponder whether you need that tacky touristic t-shirt or modern tango CD, the thing to do in San Telmo is grab something to eat. As my Argentine companion opted for pizza (my love for Argentina doesn't extend to its pizza I'm afraid), I guarded my hunger for something far better. Revisiting San Telmo made me think of the ultime Argie street food, the genius pairing of chorizo sausage and french bread. Hello, choripan. 

Argentine men? Meh. An Argentine choripan? Now there's a love for life.
My love for this union of bread and chorzio began two years back. Despite the distance, choripan and I  have kept the bond strong. I'm also very partial to a morcipan (black sausage sandwich), but the classic snack has always been a choripan.

It's not the king of chori, but by god it smelled gooooood
But what's this? While I had plans to head to an iconic San Telmo chorpian spot (called 'The King of Chori' no less), my meaty, spidey senses tingled when I walked past this meat grilling joint as seen above. A very apt description for this small place would probably be 'hole in the wall'. No sign, no name, just the smell of sweet, sweet meat and many happy looking customers. What else could I want? I was ready to get my choripan here, until...

Bring on the bondipan
Hello, lover. This here is a step up in the sandwich world. Ditch the sausage for a slab of meat and you have another Argentine classic, bondipan. Bondiola de cerdo is pork shoulder and a popular cut of meat in any Argentine asado. Seeing the perfectly grilled, tender pork made my tummy rumble and my mouth water. Chorizo could wait, because I was ready to bite some bondiola. Serving me my bondipan, the asador actually had to opt for a different slice of bread as the first one he had picked out was too small. Oh yeah, my bondiola is too big for your bread.

Grilled pork shoulder, slathered in chimichurri and chili dressing
And here it is - the best sandwich in the world, rated by Eve Bidmead (therefore it's officially excellent). Crispy french bread, succulent, salty pork drizzled with lemon and topped with chimichurri (a great Argentine condiment made with parsley, oregano, and garlic) and a bit of chili sauce too. Eating this sandwich, I really began asking myself why I had stayed away so long. Buenos Aires, you are brilliant.

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