Tilcara – Taking a break from cow…to eat llama

Posted by on January 28, 2011

Normally, we would never go anywhere that was over 3 hours away on a day trip.  That would be like going from Seattle to Salem, OR or Chicago to Cedar Rapids, IA and back in a day. But, Argentina is large and it takes  longer to get everywhere on a bus.

We made sure to get on the correct bus this time. I asked every single driver at the station, multiple times.  Poor Jeff was had to pretend he didn’t know me.

We were the only ones doing a day trip, everyone else were college aged Argentinian backpackers. We could tell because besides backpacks, they all had mate gourdes, thermos, and guitars.

They showed the movie Happy Madison dubbed in Spanish.  You don’t really need to know Spanish or be 21 to enjoy the movie, but it helps.

some of us enjoyed the movie more than others

Once we got to the town it worth a 4 hour bus ride and Adam Sandler.

Tilcara is an amazing little town nestled in the mountains in the middle of the desert.  The backpackers and tourists seemed to outnumber the locals by about 10 to 1, but it didn’t matter.  Even in this tiny town we had entire streets almost to ourselves.

For lunch we went to a restaurant that served “regional specialties.”     After having so much beef it was a nice change to see llama (pronounced jama) on the menu.

We had the choice of several  llama dishes, we went with the llama casserole.

Just having some veggies and not just a hunk of meat on a plate was nice.  The llama was tender and flavorful, tasted nothing like chicken.

I think llama might have once been a local dish, but no one other than tourists and gourmet foodies are eating it now. It’s probably similar to rabbit. You can get rabbit in fancy restaurants in the US, but very very few people in the US are sitting down to rabbit sloppy joes or rabbit tacos at home.  Traditional or not, it was super good food on a super long but fun day trip.