As with any country, first-time visitors to Chile will be interested in trying out all the different foods that Chile has to offer. Typical Chilean cuisine is available in most restaurants, in family-owned cafes, and food stands, and while each region has its own specialties, there are some dishes that remain popular in almost every city. Quite a few chain restaurants have established themselves in the bigger cities, but by and large most of the options are locally owned. Listed below are some of the most popular dishes in Chile -
Empanada – an empanada in Chile can be baked or fried, and comes with a wide variety of fillings. The most traditional of these is the empanada de pino: cubed or ground beef, a slice of hardboiled egg, onion, olives, and raisins. Other popular options are cheese with shrimp or chicken, seafood, or dessert empanadas with chocolate or fruit filling. Empanadas can be purchased at restaurants, specialty shops, and from street vendors.
Completo – the Chilean version of a hot dog, this dish comes in many varieties and, with an order of fries, is usually big enough to be a full meal. Some of the most popular types of completo are –
Italiano – hot dog with mashed avocado, tomato, sauerkraut, and mayonnaise
Dinámico – hot dog with mashed avocado, tomato, red and green salsas, and mayonnaise
Brasileño – hot dog with mashed avocado and melted cheese
Churrasco – similar to a hamburger, but instead of ground meat, they use thin slices of tender beef or pork, and toast the bun before serving. These can be found both in upscale restaurants and fast food places, in most cases served with a generous helping of fries. If you’re interested in trying out churrascos in Chile, here are some options you’ll find almost anywhere –
Churrasco Chacarero – sliced meat with julienned green beans, tomatoes, chopped green pepper, and mayonnaise
Churrasco Italiano – sliced meat with mashed avocado, tomato, sauerkraut, and mayonnaise
Churrasco Completo – sliced meat with mashed avocado, tomato, and mayonnaise
Churrasco Barros Luco – sliced meat topped with melted cheese
Cazuela – a rich and comforting soup, cazuela usually contains a combination of meat or seafood, squash, onions, corn, potatoes, rice, carrots, green beans, cilantro or parsley, garlic, and pepper. Usually you can get cazuela in small family-owned restaurants and food stands in a local market – each vendor will probably be serving their own favorite version.
Sopaipilla – a popular and inexpensive snack in Chile, sopaipillas are fried rounds of dough made from squash, flour, butter, and milk. They’re easiest to find from food stands, and you’ll be able to choose from condiments such as mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and sometimes mashed avocado or pebre, a spicy homemade salsa.
Anticucho – originally from Peru, an anticucho from Chile can be as basic as grilled chunks of marinated meat on a skewer, or, if you’re getting them homemade, a mixture of meats, sausage, and vegetables. The most common type is either beef, pork, or chicken, marinated in vinegar or lemon juice, with additional seasonings such as oregano, paprika, red and black pepper, and honey or sugar, with plenty of room for improvisation. Try looking for anticucho vendors in markets, large bus stations, and around parks or other public attractions.
If you’re thinking about visiting Chile but you don’t know where to start, just drop us a line here and we’d be happy to talk about it with you!