They say the best way to learn about a country’s culture is through its food. Are you hungry? Here is a list of the foods in Chile you MUST try during your stay.
Number 1: Pastel de Choclo
One thing that you will learn quickly is that Chilean people call corn “choclo”. Most Latin American countries will call corn “maiz”. During the summer months in Chile, you can enjoy this typical dish called “Pastel de Choclo”. While there isn’t anything similar in the English speaking world, think of something along the lines of corn casserole or a corn pudding. When you ask for this, it will come served in an individual clay dish and will consist of two main components. At the bottom, you’ll find the “Pino” which is mixtures of ground or minced beef, chicken, raisins (optional), hard boiled eggs, onions, and black olives. The top is layered with ground corn and topped with sugar so it caramelized in the oven.
Number 2: Humitas
This is also a summer favorite in Chile. There are several versions of this dish throughout Latin America but that doesn’t mean that you need to skip this dish. Humitas are prepared with fresh corn, onions, basil, and butter. They are then wrapped in corn husks and then boiled. You have two options to go with your Humita: sugar or tomatoes. Try both ways and then decide which way you like most. Here at TodayinChile, we like it with sugar.
Number 3: Empanada de Pino
Remembered in the pastel de choclo there is a “Pino”? Well, this is an empanada of just that and it’s one of the most Chilean snacks you can eat. You can also have one for lunch because they are just so big. This beef empanada traditional comes baked but you can also have the fried version. Before you leave Chile, have an empanada de Pino.
Number 4: Chacarero
One thing you’ll notice is that the Chilean Sandwich game is strong. No one can compare to the sandwiches that you will find here. One of the classics is a Chacarero. This sandwich has thinly sliced steak (you can also try with pork) with tomatoes, green beans, and Aji, the Chilean pepper.
Number 5: Charquican
This beef stew just screams home cooked meal in Chile. Originally it had Charqui, which is dried horse meat but today most people make this with minced beef, potatoes, pumpkin, corn, onions, peas and topped with a fried egg.
Number 6: Cazuela
This is the classic comfort food for Chile, especially in the winter time. Making cazuela is simple. Beef, lamb, pork, or chicken (preferably with bone and meat) is simmered in water with a touch of seasoning–garlic, onion, oregano, paprika. When the meat is tender, vegetables are added: potatoes, corn on the cob, squash, all in large chunks; perhaps onion and bell pepper, and then rice or cornmeal, and green beans or peas. On top a little parsley. Yummm
Number 7: Completo
The Chileans take hot dogs to a whole different level. One of the most classic varieties is the Completo Italiana, Avocado, tomatoes, and mayo (just like the Italian flag). Once you eat one of these hot dogs in Chile, you will never want to eat a hot dog any other way.
Number 8: Porotos Granados
Porotos Granados is a classic Chilean summer dish and is translated into “de-seeded beans” in English. This means that the beans are purchased fresh, still in the pod. The basic ingredients — pumpkin, corn and tomatoes and the most important, Cranberry beans. Porotos Granados is often served with a simple ensalada chilena of tomatoes, chopped cilantro and sliced onion tossed with a vinaigrette.
Number 9: Lomo a lo Pobre
The classic Lomo a lo Pobre, which roughly translates as “poor man’s steak,” simply piles on the tasty ingredients. While the Lomo a Pobre isn’t uniquely Chilean, it is a very popular dish in Chile. You’ll find similar dishes throughout South America.
Number 10: Barros Luco
This is another popular hot sandwich in Chile that will bring this happy list to an end. The Barros Luco is named after the Chilean president Ramón Barros Luco, who always asked for a sandwich with thin beef and melted cheese at a restaurant just outside of the National Congress of Chile.
Get your belly ready to enjoy these amazing Chilean food. Don’t forget to tag us with the hashtag #todayinChile when you’re eating any one of these on the list. Did we forget a dish? Let us know!! We are always down to try something new.