From the dry north that gives Chile the olives and olive oil that flavor food around the world to the central region, where most of the agricultural powerhouse of the country is located, to various valleys that produce some of the best wine grapes in the world, to the long coastline, including the icy waters of Patagonia and the seafood that is fished from it, Chile has a tremendous amount of variety to bring to the table.
And lucky for the people who visit Santiago, almost all of those products, from the plentiful avocados to Patagonian lamb, and the sweet meat of the centolla (king crab), all comes through here. For a foodie Santiago is a great place to sample some of the best Chile has on offer.
There are a variety of price points for foodies of all budgets. Street-food-aficcionados will appreciate a fresh-fried sopaipilla (fry bread), or a completo, Chile’s answer to the all-American hotdog, loaded with avocado, tomatoes and mayonnaise. Heartier options include home-cooked specialties like cazuela, a beef or chicken soup that always features a large piece of squash and a half a corn cob, to perníl, a giant ham shoulder braised and cooked until it is tender.
For something at a higher price-point and that shows off the Chilean “fruits of the sea” there are Chilean specialties like machas a la parmesana, baked, open-faced razor clams topped with melted cheese, or paila marina, a bubbling, flavorful broth filled with nearly every kind of shellfish available in Chile. And meat-lovers can try traditional Chilean foods such as arrollado, a tied pork roll, and other land-based.
For a close-up view of foodie Santiago without even breaking a sweat, try a Chilean Folklore Show with dinner, or a Private Santiago Food Markets Tour with Cooking Demo and Homemade Lunch, or a Small-Group Santiago Food and Market Tour Including Mercado Central.
- Eileen Smith