Questions regarding beef and ground beef.
I have a couple of questions on how to properly translate beef into Spanish. If I wanted to say beef would I say "(la) carne de res" or "(la) carne de vaca"? What are the differences between the two terms? Are they regional? I was also wondering if there was a shorter way to say beef but I suppose saying "vaca" or "res" by itself would probably be translated as cow or beast. What I am really trying to find out is how to say ground beef. If I were to say "res molida" or "vaca molida" would it be fairly clear that I meant ground beef? Or would I have to say "(la) carne de res/vaca molida"?
I can tell you how it works where I've been.
In some places, when you say "carne", people automatically think you're talking about beef. You need to specify "pollo" for chicken, and "puerco" "cerdo" or "cochino" for pork.
Thus generally speaking, "carne molida" means "ground beef".
If you wish to specify it is beef meat, then you would say "carne de res" rather than "carne de vaca" - although the latter is used and understood.
And yes, I would say that there are some regions where "carne de vaca" is more common than "carne de res".
In any event, though, I believe that in most places if you simply say "carne molida" people understand this to mean "gound beef". You would have to say: "pollo molido", "pavo molido", or "cerdo molido" in order to refer to some other type of meat.
In Baja its carne molida or carne de res molida.
In some countries "ground beef" is "carne picada."