When you think of dining in Argentina, particularly in Buenos Aires, king crab is not the first dish that comes to mind, unless you’re down at the bottom of the country in Ushuaia. Here are eight reasons why you shouldn’t eat king crab in Argentina.

1. When in Argentina…

When it comes to food in Argentina, you don’t often hear the Argentine people talking about king crab. Unlike other places in the world, the country isn’t known for its king crab. As the expression goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, so do like a local in Argentina and stick to eating what they know and do best, which is barbecued meat, pizza and pasta.

2. Beef is king in Argentina

Argentine beef is the best — © Silvia Paiz / Pixabay.
Argentine beef is the best — © Silvia Paiz / Pixabay.

It’s all about the carne in Argentina and after your first bite of tender, juicy steak in the country, you’ll see why. Argentina produces some of the best beef on the planet so why would you eat anything else? You’re only in Argentina for a limited time so you’d better get your fill. And when else will you get to gorge yourself on huge chunks of tasty beef guilt-free all in the name of “studying Spanish”.

3. Most restaurants don’t serve king crab… unless you’re in Ushuaia

King crabs in Ushuaia — © Tim Gage / Flickr.
King crabs in Ushuaia — © Tim Gage / Flickr.

You’ll struggle to find king crab on a restaurant menu in Argentina, or sold fresh in any fishmonger or supermarket, unless, of course, you’re at the end of the world in the most southern city of Ushuaia. This is the only place where we’d recommend that you DO eat crab (a.k.a. centolla) in Argentina. Known as the southern king crab, it inhabits the nearby Beagle Channel and Southwest Atlantic Ocean around Argentina and Chile. It’s considered a delicacy in these parts and is served fresh, straight out of the ocean. But if you’re studying Spanish in Buenos Aires, you’re going to have to travel a good 3,000km to get there.

4. Not friendly to those on a student budget

Since king crab is a delicacy mostly served in fancy restaurants, you’ll pay a premium for the privilege of eating it, which might put a large dent in your student budget for the month. But if you stick to dining out in hole-in-the-wall parrillas on a large hunk of steak and a glass of Malbec, you’ll get far more bang for your buck and will be able to eat out much more regularly during your time in Argentina.

5. They’re fiddly to eat

How to eat king crab? — © Sharon Ang / Pixabay.
How to eat king crab? — © Sharon Ang / Pixabay.

Let’s face it, king crab may be tasty, but it’s a real pain to eat. You can only eat the legs and claws and, unless you’re a crab connoisseur, it takes time and effort to dissect this crusty crustacean and pick out all the bits of meat.

6. Crabs eat garbage

King crab close-up shot — © diddi4 / Pixabay.
King crab close-up shot — © diddi4 / Pixabay.

According to The Encyclopedia of Aquatic Life, crabs exist by feeding off dead and decaying matter. This means they will eat pretty much anything. Their main function in the ecosystem is to cleanup the bottoms of lakes, rivers and oceans. Still fancy eating some king crab and everything that comes with it?

7. The king crab population has diminished over the years around Ushuaia

According to various sources, the population of king crabs in the Beagle Channel has diminished over the last 20 years, and at one point, the fishing of king crabs in the area was banned because they were in such short supply. Let’s leave them be at the bottom of the Channel to do their job in the food chain.

8. And did we mention the carne is really REALLY good in Argentina?

Better: Eating steak in Argentina — © Elizabeth Ekman / Pixabay.
Better: Eating steak in Argentina — © Elizabeth Ekman / Pixabay.

Seriously, you really won’t want to eat anything else but beef in Argentina, not to mention chorizo, morcilla, bondiola and the other traditional meaty cuts that come off the grill. Just make sure you leave some room for helado at the end of your meal as the Argentines took heed from their Italian ancestors and their Italian-style gelato is some of the best around.

Got any other reasons why you shouldn’t eat king crab in Argentina? Share them with our readers in the comments section below.

Originally published on Ailola by Sophie Lloyd on November 21, 2018.