The Other Chimichurri

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Photo courtesy of MyDominicanKitchen.com

Chimichurri is the condiment king of Argentina and Uruguay. A hemisphere away, however, a completely different dish with the same name is a hit in the Dominican Republic. Affectionately called the chimi, chimichurri is a burger defined by its choice of bread—pan de agua—and the inclusion of cabbage instead of lettuce.

There are two notable omissions from chimi burgers: cheese and the South American chimichurri sauce. Instead, chimis are slathered in salsa golf, a ketchup-mayo mixture. The burgers are street food staples in the D.R., and each carrito puts their own twist on both the sauce and the sammy.

So how did another chimichurri enter the food scene? Like the hearsay etymology of South American chimichurri, no one really knows for sure. Some believe it started with Juan Arbales, an Argentinian cook who moved to the Dominican Republic and opened a food cart in the 70s. He sold Argentinian sandwiches called choripanes with a chimichurri sauce, and eventually the name (and sandwich) evolved into just chimichurri. Another link could be the salsa golf, which also hails from Argentina. The truth is, there’s no verified origin story to the Dominican chimi, but don’t let that stop you from chowing down on one en las calles de Santo Domingo.

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