Follow the smoke signals and the barbecue parrilla smells to escape the Sunday San Telmo Market bustle and enter into a parking garage turned sausage wonderland. Chorizos, bondiolas, beer, wine and live music — you’ve never quite seen an Argentine chorizo fiesta quite like this one.
You’ve seen one market, you’ve seen them all. While the San Telmo market and antique fair is definitely something to cross off the site-seeing list, I’ve never been a fan of big crowds and pushy vendors. But thankfully now I can have my own fun while I take out of towners to the Sunday San Telmo mercado. And that fun comes in the form of a choripán.
Try to avoid stepping on the vendors market
junk goods, and hang a sharp louie on the corner of Defensa and México and enter in the sausage garden of the meat Gods. By weekday it’s a parking garage, but come Sunday afternoon, it’s a greasy, meaty, asado haven.
Before you become totally mesmerized by the meaty display, make your way to the ticket booth and pay for your poison: choripan + wine/beer. True, this spot might win the award for one of the more expensive choripans in the city, the rest averaging between AR$10-AR$15 pesos, but given the San Telmo hotspot location, all the toppings, live music and overall atmosphere, they can have those extra 8 pesos.
Once you pay, take your tickets over to the main show: chorizos lined up by the dozens on the front parrilla, bondiola (pork shoulder) and bife de chorizo (sirloin strip steak) grilling on the back grills, and sauces placed on the side table for self servicing your plate. It’s quite a wonderful interactive asado spectacular.
These asadores know what’s up. Give them your ticket before they start the hard core piropos. This chin-pubed grillmaster ordered me to give him a big fat beso after I took this photo… and if I didn’t, he wouldn’t hand over my chori.
So one greasy cheek kiss and handsy grab later, alas the prized choripán was in my paws. Naturally my next step was to slather on chimichurri, salsa criolla and hot peppers — I was in for a treat.
It’s important to step back and appreciate the killer condiment spread: tomatoes, chimichurri, salsa criolla, chili peppers. Check it. As much as I love the parrilla hole in the wall on Carlos Calvo, it just doesn’t offer condiments like these. So many times a banging choripán is overcome by stale bread and underwhelming toppings.
Salsa criolla will always be my go-to Argentine condiment. Chopped onions, red pepper, tomato, green peppers and vinegar. Drench it on top liberally, don’t be shy.
It’s not like chorizos are lacking any grease, but I wish all Argentine food would come with a side of brightly colored spicy chili oil.
On the way out I couldn’t help but snapping a photo of the big bucket of chorizos: both the best and the worst images I’ve seen in a long time. Gloriously disturbing.
Two thumbs up for choribesos.
El Rey del Chori
México and Defensa, San Telmo
Sundays only, 1pm – 6pm
Average price AR$35 pesos