22Chile’s typical cuisine features a wide variety of meat, fruit, vegetables, fish and seafood. Chileans like to dine out, with groups of friends or with their partners. Food is generally patache, with the pot on the table, abundant, with a large bottle of wine and a large table with room for extra chairs.
Some dishes not to be missed
Cazuela: The country’s most typical dish. This is meat stew with vegetables including potatoes, pumpkin and green beans. A simple dish, but that is its main attraction.
Pastel de choclo: A summer dish that brings together the country’s Andean tradition. Ground corn, meat and onions come together to make pastel de choclo a real delicacy. You can find this dish everywhere, from north to south.
Empanada: It’s one of the most typical Chilean dishes and consists of a stuffed bread that is filled with minced meat, onion, egg, olives and raisin. It can also be prepared with cheese and shellfish. Though the empanada can be consumed in any date of the year, its stellar moment is during the independence celebration in September.
Humitas: Ground corn, fine herbs, a little bit of milk and that’s it. If the cook is talented, you can eat humitas all year round.
Beans: A summer and winter essential for any reputable Chilean table. These are often seasoned with Chili pepper in the winter, sometimes with noodles and ground corn, and almost always come with a delicious sausage. These are called porotos granados in the summer, prepared using new beans and fresh vegetables.
Asado: The Chilean barbeque is a rite starting from the time the charcoal is first lit. Everybody becomes a chef and tries to take over. The Chilean barbeque features chicken, pork and well-done beef.
Seafood: Chile’s cuisine features a wide range of sea food with a wide variety of recipes. Fried conger eel with a side dish, a sea food soup or the cocimiento, a motley variety of sea food all cooked together, abalone (an exquisite bivalve that only exists in Chile) with mayonnaise, and crabmeat pie are all a source of national pride. But there’s more: fried Chilean sea bass, razor clams with Parmesan cheese, curanto or cocimiento prepared inside a hole in the ground lined with leaves or in a pot using fish and sea food, etc. You will need time, patience and a good appetite in order to try it all.
For dessert we recommend exotic fruit such as papaws, cherimoya and mango. Chile also has some fine pastry desserts. Don’t miss the chilenito, caramel spread floating between two layers of soft pastry.
Pisco: Chile’s traditional drink, a kind of 35 to 40 proof brandy. This is generally mixed with Coca Cola and is then called piscola. A fine appetizer called pisco sour is also mixed using lemon juice, egg white and sugar.
Chicha: September’s traditional celebration calls for a glass of lightly cooked and slightly fermented grape cider called chicha.
Wine: What more could be said about the fame and quality of Chilean wine? Once here, you will have the chance to taste everything that you have heard and read about. You can also visit the different wine routes.