Eating is another way to discover Chile: our cuisine is a reflection of our identity, a product of the mixture between our indigenous traditions and the spaniards. The ingredients used on these plates also speak about our geography, which delivers the product that make our gastronomy so unique.
Most of the dishes on this list can be enjoyed throughout Chile, from north to south. But if you want to make them yourself grab a piece of paper and a pen; and learn how to prepare them on your own.
One of the most classic dishes. The cazuela has the power of taking us back to the most precious memories of our childhood, while spending winter surrounded by our family.
Beside the traditional “cazuela de vacuna” (beef soup), in the Coquimbo Region we can enjoy the “cazuela de salón”, that is prepared with beef ribs, tomatoes, and wheat instead of rice.
In Valdivia they also have their own version of this dish made with jerky, onion and dry chilli. This preparation known as “Valdiviano]” appeared during the colonial period, and it’s still enjoyed to this date. If you want to try it and compare it to more traditional “cazuelas”, you can find this and many more delicious dishes near its Mercado Municipal.
Another classic during the cold winter days is the “charquicán”. It is said that this is the most national and traditional dish of our country, which origins are dated to the precolumbian era. The southern indigenous people used to make it with potatoes, squash and guanaco’s jerky. The Spaniards added the salt and cumin.
Along with the previously mentioned ingredients; onion, corn, and grinded meat are also added. In some part of the north they put rice on the side, and near the coast they make it with cochayuyo.
If you want to enjoy the best seaweed “charquicán” of your life, each winter Pichilemu celebrates the “Fiesta del Cochayuyo”. The perfect excuse to travel and enjoy some delicious food!
But not only beef is enjoyed during winter. Prepared with a special fish that can be found on the Pacific coast, the red cusk-eel (congrío colorado) or the pink cusk-eel (congrío dorado), this chowder is so popular than Neruda dedicated one of his poems.
Ideally, the conger chowder is served on a clay plate to keep the dish warm. In order to prepare it; onions, potatoes, carrots, lemons and coriander are added, making it the perfect dish for those who love the see products.
The best way to enjoy this dish is after walking across Pablo Neruda’s house on Isla Negra, in the Valparaíso Region.
Chiloe’s gastronomy, which is influenced by the mapuche culture, is known for its different types of potatoes, which are part of many different and classical dishes from the Los Lagos Region. The famous curanto, along with the potatoes, is made with pork and beef, sausages, fish, seashells and many other vegetables. It’s traditionally cooked over some hot stones located on a wide hole in the ground.
You can enjoy it with some chapalele, a dough made with some cooked potatoes and wheat flour. There’s also a sweet version, where you can add sugar or honey and are served warm, perfect for a cold winter day.
If you are in Chiloé and already enjoy its beautiful architecture, end this experience with a delicious curanto and its incredible cooking process.
Carbonada is a easy, delicious and satisfying soup that has big pieces of vegetables and meat, perfect during those days in which the cold weather takes the best of us. There are several theories about its origin and name, but what we do know is that it was initially prepared in Lota, in the Biobío Region, in the coal mines during the XIX century.
This dish is easy to prepare, and provides enough energy to visit the most traditional places of the region, like Lota’s Historical Museum or “Chiflón del Diablo”, one of the oldest coal mines in Chile.
This dish also has many other ingredients, like potatoes, squash, meat, onion, carrots and some soup. We add some peas and rice and we have a delicious carbonada; and with some “sopaipillas” on the side even better!
This post is also available in Spanish