Seafood, a tour through the Chilean coastline

Flavours that include algae and an exceptional variety of shellfish and fishes, it’s what characterizes the food from the shores of our country.

James / Flickr
James / Flickr

If there is anything that as Chileans we cannot deny, is that we have the privilege of enjoying all the seafood that we want. With over 6.000 km. of coastline, our country has a great variety of fishes, shellfish and algae that inspire our dishes from north to south, captivating the palates of visitors and residents.

The climate conditions, along with the currents of the Pacific ocean, have created the perfect environment for an optimal development of several fishes species. That is the reason why throughout our territory, and in different markets and fishing coves, you can find products taken straight out of the sea, and is possible to enjoy different types of “ceviches”, made with salmon, Southern Ray’s Bream (reineta) or tilapia, among others.

When talking about more elaborated dishes, it is common to enjoy a delicious fried fish in different cities next to the sea, whether in the north, center or south area of our country; the conger chowder it is considered a must; made with delicious fish, potatoes, onions and in some cases, as the poet Pablo Neruda used to like, with a final touch of cream.

Some people say that there is no better taste that the one of the seashell chowder, that’s why it’s so easy to find them in different markets and shellfish bars; a dish also known as seashell stew (sopa de mariscos), marine soup (paila marina) or hot seafood stew (mariscal caliente). You can find it in every restaurant of the coast, made with a great array of seashells, such as clams, mussel, giant barnacle and piure. This last one is a relatively unknown sea animal in other parts of the world, but it’s quite popular in the Chilean cuisine and easily recognisable due to its strong taste and its concentration of iodine.
Besides these stews, chowders and soups; shellfish empanadas are a must, where the variety is as wide as the different types of species that can be found in our waters.

But when talking about seafood, we cannot ignore the presence of algae into our gastronomy and their many uses. Cochayuyo is the most popular and it has been collected for many years and for different purposes; from cosmetics to the most delicious dishes, such as stew, “charquicán”, salads and “ceviches”. Another example is “luche”, which can be found on the rocks and it’s an important ingredient in the traditional mapuche cuisine, whether you eat it with potatoes on the side or in stews.

This is the Chilean cuisine. A tasty and amazing experience.