Buenos Aires, Argentina – a city famous for so many things: tango, beef, gauchos, Paris style, and, of course, the Kosher McDonald’s.
What? Did you say ‘Kosher McDonald’s?!’
Yes, yes I did. I spent 6 months living in Argentina – all of them directly across the street from the famous Abasto Mall, which houses the only kosher McDonald’s outside of Israel.
It’s such an interesting and unusual find that it’s mentioned in the food section of all the major Argentina guidebooks, including those that almost never think to cover the kosher traveler (which is basically all of them!).
Because I lived pretty much across the street, the Abasto was one of my favorite hangouts. There was always something interesting going on there, whether it was a gigantic in-mall playground or the ‘Bodies’ exhibit on tour. Plus, with its two kosher restaurants (next to the meaty McDonald’s was a cute little dairy restaurant), it was a great place to meet up with friends to just munch, hang out, and watch the world go by.
And watch the world go by we did! In fact, it seemed like just about everyone in the world went by that kosher McDonald’s. Even if they weren’t coming to eat from it, they were coming by to take photos of it, just to prove it exists. People who have never been to Israel (and thus never seen the even more exciting kosher McDonald’s express in the main Jerusalem bus station) are fascinated to find their first kosher Micky D’s.
I never actually ate in the Kosher McDonald’s… I gave up fast food 10 years ago after reading “Fast Food Nation.” But many, many of my friends did eat there, and the verdict was that it was pretty good! Of course, the flavors are slightly different, imbued with an Argentinean flair, but that famous Argentinean beef does those burgers good. No overly processed factory-farmed beef here! In Buenos Aires, the legendary gauchos of the pampas are the ones responsible for the cows, who feed on the endless grassy plains.
Next time you’re in Argentina, it’s worth a visit to the Kosher McDonald’s in the Abasto Mall (Abasto has its own metro stop, so it’s easy to reach). But don’t limit yourself. Buenos Aires has a wealth of kosher places, from pizza joints famous in Jewish communities across the southern cone to the cutest little sandwich and empanada shop Wafflemania to bakeries selling the famous Argentinean alfajores, chocolate-covered cookies filled with sticky-sweet dulce de leche. For the kosher traveler, Argentina is a culinary delight!