You can eat well on a budget in Paraguay. Meat, especially beef, features heavily on most menus, whilst many of the typical dishes are corn based. Outside of the main cities, vegetarians may struggle to find restaurants that cater to their needs.

Essential Food & Drink

Asado Grilled meats are the focal point of every social event.

Chipa Cheese bread made with manioc flour.

Chipa guasú Hot maize pudding with cheese and onion.

Sopa paraguaya Cornbread with cheese and onion.

Tereré Iced yerba maté tea, drunk ubiquitously and constantly.

Vori-vori Chicken soup with cornmeal balls.

Paraguayan Cuisine

Beef here is succulent, abundant and easily rivals that of Argentina. The best cuts are tapa de cuadril (rump steak) and corte americano (T-bone), though the most common (and cheapest) are fatty vacío (flank) and chewy-but-flavorsome costillas (ribs).

Grains, particularly maize, are common ingredients in traditional foods, while mandioca (manioc) is the standard accompaniment for every meal. Chipa (a type of bread made with manioc flour, eggs and cheese) is sold everywhere but is best in the southern town of Coronel Bogado. Empanadas are great wherever you buy them. However, it can be hard to find typical dishes in restaurants: locals tend to eat them only at home where recipes are passed from generation to generation.

Paraguayans consume massive quantities of yerba maté (a type of tea), most commonly as refreshing ice-cold tereré (iced maté) and generously spiked with yuyos (medicinal herbs). The national obsession can be bought in any general store, but you will need to get your guampa (gourd) and bombilla (drinking straw) first. There are countless brands and brews of yerba available in the supermarket, and the most refreshing for tereré are those flavored with mint or citrus. Kurupí, Campesino, Selecta and Pajarito are among the most popular brands.