Chile is a country with culinary diversity, although there is a limited variety in its traditional food, it does pride itself in its local cuisines. The gastronomy in Chile has a strong Spanish foundation that infuses flavours from European cuisines. The food is delectable and has inviting aromas that will send your appetite into a frenzy. Dishes like ceviche and cazuela, showcase Chile’s rich and well-rounded heritage. In this article, we will highlight some of the foods that make every food lovers palate explode with flavours. With Chile being one of the largest producers of wine, Chilean recipe’s are also enhanced and accompanied by local wines. Find out some of the popular traditional food that Chile has to offer, and eat like a local.
1. Empanadas - baked or fried stuffed pastry
These flavourful fried or baked dough parcels are enjoyed by Chileans all year around but most especially during Chilean fiestas. The pastries are filled with a stuffing of your choice. Traditionally it is a mixture of ground beef, egg, olive and onions. This meat mixture is known as pino. For some of the best empanadas in Santiago, visit La Empanada Mia – a restaurant that focuses on empanadas and they have been doing so for the past 20 years. Kick off your day with a warm baked or fried empanada with a filling of your choice, or perhaps grab it as a daytime snack.
2. Ceviche - a seafood dish
Try out this mouth-watering seafood dish made from fresh raw fish or ceviche. This traditional delicacy is often made with reineta or corvina fish marinated in the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon and served with cilantro, onions, olive oil, garlic and red peppers. Visit Il Paparazzo to sample their delicious take of this traditional dish. The Ceviche Pescado del Día or fish cubes marinated with lime, coriander, “rocoto”, evaporated milk and spices (ginger and garlic) is a best seller. It is served with Peruvian corn, sweet potato, yucca and red onions.
3. Cazuela - Spanish casserole
Cazuela is a tasty and hearty broth that is made with tender pieces of beef or chicken mixed with starchy potatoes, pumpkin and corn noodles. This comforting meal is sure to fill you up and keep you warm in the cold winter nights. Chileans tend to drink the broth first followed by eating the meat and vegetables separately. For authentic cazuela visit Liguria and try their Cazuela de Vaca.
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4. Curanton - stew of meat and shellfish
This Chilean traditional food originates from the southern part of Chile. It is a mash-up of ingredients that come together harmoniously to form this fulfilling shellfish dish. Curanto is prepared on hot stones in a deep hole in the ground. The shellfish are cooked with meat, potatoes and other vegetables and then paired with a potato bread called milcao. Kuranton will surely serve you the best version of their take on this traditional meal.
5. Prietas - blood and onion sausage
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Prietas are a unique delicacy in Chile. It is a sausage made with the coagulated blood of a pig. The blood is usually mixed with chopped onions and spices to bring out the flavour, it is cooked over a grill and served with potatoes. Gusto Criollo in Santiago specializes in showcasing some of Chile’s favourite traditional dishes, and the prietas are one of the things to try out on the menu.
6. Completos - hotdog
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The Completo is a native Chilean hotdog. As the name suggests, it is a ‘complete’ sandwich that is stuffed with a whole lot of goodness. The bun is cut open and stuffed with a hotdog sausage, buttery smashed avocado, sauerkraut, onions and tomatoes. This mouth-watering sandwich can be found at Domino, a fast food joint with various locations throughout the city.
7. Churrasco con queso - sandwich with cheese
Churrasco is another traditional Chilean sandwich that is loaded with thinly sliced grilled steak served on a fresh bread roll. It can be accompanied with cheese (Churrasco con queso) and other toppings such as avocado or a fried egg. Chileans love their meat and its no wonder that this sandwich would be amongst the favourite lunchtime treat. To sample this famous sandwich, visit The Fuente Alemana.
8. Asado - Chilean barbeque
Meat lovers will feel right at home in Chile, as Chileans pride themselves in their barbeque. Asado is a variety of grilled meats, usually starting off with chorizo, followed by chicken, beef and pork. The flame-grilled variety of meat is usually accompanied by a light refreshing salad of fresh greens and tomatoes. El Meson de la Patagonia serves some of the best asado varieties in Santiago.
9. Chorrillana - French fries with toppings
If you looking for a loaded meal to share with a group of friends over a great conversation and some beer, then head over to J. Cruz in the Valparaiso region of Santiago Chile, and ask for the chorrillana. The dish is a large plate of chopped pieces of meat and sausage, accompanied with a layer of fried onions and french fries and finally topped with fried eggs. The meal is rich and certainly not for the faint-hearted.
10. Pastel de Choclo - corn pie
Pastel de Choclo is a type of comfort food that is loved all over South America but particularly in Chile. The dish is very similar to a cottage pie and is served straight from the oven in a cast iron dish while it is piping hot. Pastel de Choclo comprises of ground beef and corn, diced onions, hard-boiled eggs, olives, raisins and finally topped off with a thick layer of creamed choclo or corn. Visit Viva la Vida in Santiago for a serving of some of the best Pastel de Choclo.
Eat like a local in Chile
Eat like a local in Chile and sample these top ten popular cultural dishes that will surely excite your taste-buds. Start your day with a warm empanada with a cup of coffee, followed by a satisfying lunch-time completo sandwich and rounding up your day with a group of friends over a chorrillana and refreshing drinks.
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