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Thanks to a seemingly endless coastline, large swathes of fertile agricultural land and a host of European influences, Chile has an impressive array of traditional cuisine that is just begging to be sampled by the hungry traveler. From hearty meals to seafood, sandwiches, and sweets, read on to discover the best of Chile’s culinary delights.
Although eaten all around the continent, Pastel de Choclo is a mainstay of Chilean cuisine. Similar to Shepherd’s pie, this oven-baked treat is filled with ground beef and corn, diced onions, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and raisins.
Not great for the waistline, bistec a lo pobre is a hearty dish consisting of a huge steak garnished with French fries, fried onions and a couple of fried eggs. The name is thought to have come from a time when the poor (pobre) would live off carb-heavy meals, unlike the wealthy who stuck to meat and veg.
Cazuela is a hearty, homemade stew made from beef, chicken, corn on the cob, rice, and potatoes. There are numerous variations of this classic dish that make use of different ingredients.
Chileans know how to put on a barbecue, even rivaling their meat-obsessed Argentine neighbors. The typical Chilean charcoal-fired grill is packed full of beef, chicken, pork, and fat juicy chorizos.
Charquican is a ground meat stew cooked with mashed garlic, potatoes, pumpkin, and onion. It might look a bit off, but it’s actually quite delicious.
Chileans love their empanadas just as much as their Latino neighbors. The local variant is a bit bigger than most and has a thick shell that is stuffed with meat, cheese or seafood.
With thousands of miles of uninterrupted coastline, it’s no surprise Chileans eat a lot of seafood. Among the most popular species of fish are reineta and corvina, each cooked and served in a variety of ways. Eels, crabs, and lobster are very popular too.
A South American classic, Chileans love a bit of ceviche. The dish, made from raw fish, is cured in lemon or lime juice instead of being cooked. Sides include chopped onions, avocado, corn, sweet potato, and lettuce.
Locos are a type of large edible sea snail that is native to Chile’s coast. They are said to be pretty good, although we haven’t been brave enough to try one yet.
Chileans love a good sandwich, chowing down on more than any other Latin American nation. The go-to snack is the completo, a hot dog packed full of tomato, onions, and avocado and then smothered in the sauce of your choice.
Another popular hot dog variation is the Italiano, featuring avocado, tomato, and mayonnaise. The three colors merge together to form the Italian flag—kind of.
A classic Chilean sandwich, the Barros Luco consists of grilled meat and cheese served in a fluffy white bun. It was named after a former Chilean president who reportedly ordered this particular sandwich every single day.
Barros Luco’s cousin, Senator Barros Jarpa, preferred ham and cheese sandwiches. So much so that they named a sandwich after him too!
With chopped chicken and mashed avocado, this delicious sandwich combo is a hit in Chile, much like it is elsewhere in the world.
As with other nations on earth, Chileans have a bit of a sweet tooth. This triple milk cake, as the name suggests, is made from three different kinds of milk (whole, evaporated and condensed milk). A deliciously fluffy sponge cake, it’s often smothered in whipped cream and strawberries, the perfect flavor combination.
A typical Christmas treat, this cake is packed with fruits and nuts and usually includes a generous portion of rum. Sound familiar?
Chile has a large German migrant population, and thankfully, they brought their dessert recipes with them. The word Kuchen actually covers a whole range of German-style cakes, pastries, and tarts, each as delicious as the next.