I love trying out the different dishes and drinks that each country has to offer. You learn so much about the culture of a country through their food and drinks.
- I think the one drink that Chile is really famous for is that they produce great quality wine. The wine in Chile is quite affordable and I learned that even a cheap bottle can taste very good! The best place to try great Chilean wine is definitely at one of the many vineyards that surround Santiago! I had the opportunity to visit Cassablanca winery where they produce a boutique wine. This was an amazing experience as we got to walk through the vineyards and into the wine cellar. After learning how they produce these lovely wines we got to enjoy a wine tasting in front of a lovely fireplace! The wine here was absolutely fabulous!!
- I have never even heard of Pisco Sour before I came to Chile. It is liquor made with grapes as its basis from the northernmost Chilean valleys. This drink is then prepared with lemon juice and sugar and served in a champagne glass. I think it is lovely!! It smelled and tasted a bit like a margarita!! I went out for a lovely seafood dinner in the Lastaria district of Saigon and was lucky enough to actually get a complimentary glass of Pisco Sour with my dinner.
- Chilean people LOVE sandwiches and have the weirdest filling combinations I have ever come across.I tried Chacarero which was a chicken burger with tomato and NOT lettuce but GREEN BEANS!! Yes, green beans and all of this was covered with mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard!! I opted for eating the green beans separate before enjoying my burger, the combination was just a bit too weird for me. Its quite interesting to see what other cultures see as “normal”! A Chilean hot dog or Italiano as they are called here in Santiago is served with salsa, avocado, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard! I think this was the weirdest tasting hot dog that I have ever eaten. It could have done with a little bit less mayonnaise! I ordered an Italiano burger the one afternoon and really enjoyed the avocado added to the burger after I got rid of the mayonnaise! I have now learned that the Chileans love mayonnaise and eat it with nearly everything!
- I went to La Piojera one of the largest traditional pub restaurant in Santiago. This historically popular bar is famous for its meat dishes and its traditional drink called Terremoto which means earthquake. This drink is made with pipeno wine and pineapple ice-cream. We got one to share and it was so sweet that we could hardly finish the one drink. I can vouch that it is sweet but also very strong and even half a Terremoto made me feel a bit tipsy!
- The drink Mote con Huesillos ended up being as interesting as the name! This is actually a traditional summer drink made with boiled peaches, wheat, water, sugar and cinnamon. I tried ordering one at a restaurant close to Plaza de Armas and was informed that I would only be able to get it in summer. I was then lucky enough to find one in a supermarket. It was quite good and tasted a bit like ice tea. I didn’t like the wheat part that much though but do think this would be a very refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day!
- I really love Chilean Empanada’s!! It is close to a pie but the dough is not flaky. The traditional Chilean Empanada is filled with pino, this is ground meat, onion, olives, raisins and a boiled egg! I tried this and it was good but not my favourite filling. I loved the empanadas that were filled with cheese and olives or seafood! I ended up having an Empanada either for dinner or for lunch nearly every day!
- I think my favourite Chilean food is Sopaipillas. They are made of fried flour and served in many restaurants as snacks. I love the Sopaipillas that you can buy from some of the street vendors that line the busy streets of the Bellavista district. I often stopped here after work on my way home and had a freshly made Sopaipilla while watching people hurry on past. The Chileans would add ketchup and mustard to theirs but personally I thought they tasted better plain!
- There is a half Chilean, half Spanish dish that a lot of people said I should try. Pastel de Choclo is a corn pie made of corn paste, meat, chicken, hardboiled eggs, olives, raisins and a bit of sugar mixed together and then baked. I tried this dish at a little local place close to Plaza de Armas. It was not the best thing I have ever eaten but the experience was definitely worth it. The place I ate it had a very unique way of preparing it. The olives still had pits in and the chicken inside the pie was still on the bone! Was fun eating it though.
- Chileans love sweet things and especially “manjar” or dulce de leche ! It is traditionally made by slowly and gently cooking pure (normally non-homogenized) milk to thicken and reduce the volume, and gradually adding sugar and they eat it with everything! I had the chance to eat a croissant filled with this sweet substance and it was lovely!! There are biscuits filled with manjar but my favourite was definitely the churos! They were freshly made by some street vendors and then filled with manjar, it is absolutely delicious!!
- I had the opportunity to try Ceviche at the Central fish Market in Santiago. It is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of Chile. The dish is made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime and was served with chopped onions, salt, and coriander. I really enjoyed trying this dish and doing so in the fish market where I knew the ingredients would be fresh was an excellent experience! I would recommend this fish dish to anybody who loves sushi!!
I have really enjoyed my culinary exploration of Santiago and think Chile offers something to everybody’s taste!