How to eat like a Uruguayan

In Life, Travel by Continental StaffLeave a Comment

If you’ve been following our trip to Uruguay, you’ve likely noticed that cattle (and by extension beef) are a major part of the economy, history, and way of life in the country. Like neighbouring Argentina, Uruguay has many different ways to prepare beef – from barbecues to scrumptious steaks and more.

The most unique (and iconic) dish however is the chivito – a sandwich invented by and popular throughout Uruguay. Spot a food truck on the streets of Montevideo? They’ll probably sell you a chivito! While the name actually means ‘little (or baby) goat’, rest assured that beef is the keystone ingredient of this unique sandwich.

We’ll take a look at how the sandwich is prepared, including all the ingredients and sides (vegetarians might want to look away).

The Bun


Pretty self-explanatory this one, it’s not a sandwich without bread. Like a burger, start with a bun and go from there. Just make sure they’re good size, since they’ll have to hold quite the collection on them!

Churrasco Beef


This is it, the pièce de résistance. What you’ll want here is strip of fillet mignon (a thin steak cut of tenderloin). Round these parts, you should be able to find the cut you want from the local butcher or grocer. You already in Uruguay? We’re pretty sure the country consumes the most beef per capita, so if you can’t find the meat (or sandwich as a whole), you’re doing something wrong.



Because just beef isn’t enough to live on, why not throw in some pork as well? Good ole deli ham will do here, and will add a bit of diversity to the meat palate of the chivito.

Fried or Hard-Boiled Eggs


What’s that? Putting egg on top of beef and ham in the same sandwich is too much? Well it might be but you don’t hear us complaining.



No explanation needed.

The Vegetables


This sandwich might be all about the meat, but a well-placed vegetable can turn hearty snacks into a complete meal. In this case, the most common additions are tomatoes (pretty standard) and either black or green olives. Which you choose is up is up to you, but to be honest you can’t really go wrong with either.



A sandwich isn’t a sandwich without cheese. Like most everything in the chivito, it’s go big or go home. Instead of thin slices of cheddar or Monterey jack, this sandwich employs a massive slab of mozzarella atop the mountain of ingredients below.



Some people love it, some people hate it. But if there was ever a time for the enigma of the condiment world, it was this.

But I want more!


Seriously? Have you seen the previous ingredients? Well if you still have extra room somehow and you want to play around with the chivito a bit, other optional additions include red beets, peas, cucumber slices, and grilled or pan-fried peppers. Good luck keeping everything on the bun.

The Sides


Like most great sandwiches, the chivito comes with a side – French fries in this case. Nothing too out of this world here, just something to eat when you need a break from the monstrosity before you.

Well that’s it!

You now have everything you need to eat like a Uruguayan. Get a thermos of yerba mate (caffeine-rich infused drink) and you’ll really be living the lifestyle of this fascinating South American country. While making your own chivito is definitely worthwhile (there’s even a Canadian version with Canadian or peameal bacon), nothing quite beats the real thing. So head on down to Uruguay and give your taste buds a treat!

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