Chilean cuisine is influenced by regional flavors, customs, and indigenous traditions. Read ahead to learn about fascinating foods (and drinks) from Chile!
1. Cuchuflí – A tube-shaped pastry filled with dulce de leche, jam, or chocolate, this handheld treat is sold in stores throughout the country, as well as by street vendors.
2. Milcao – These potato pancakes are mentioned in Chilean poems and songs and usually made with both mashed and grated potatoes and can be enjoyed in savory or sweet preparations.
3. Marraqueta – Also called pan frances or pan batido – depending on the region – this crunchy bread is made of four small rolls that are baked together. Originating in Valparaíso, marraqueta is the most widely consumed bread in Chile!
4. Paila marina – A seafood soup or light stew usually served in paila, which is a large, shallow earthenware bowl. This soup can be made with almost any kind of shellfish!
5. Mote con huesillo – This unique Chilean drink is made from dried peaches that are dehydrated and then cooked with sugar and spices before being mixed with mote (husked wheat). This non-alcoholic is popular during the summertime and actually served with a spoon!
6. Valdiviano – A soup made of jerky (dried meat), aromatics, herbs, and spices that is said to have been created by soldiers in the late 1500s due to the large amount of jerky that was present in Chile at the time.
7. Curanto – A preparation of a multitude of foods found throughout the country, curanto is the name for the traditional preparation of cooking in a hole dug in the ground that is covered with stones and heated until it’s very hot. After filling with fish, meat, potatoes, and vegetables, the pit is then covered with cabbage, fig, or rhubarb leaves. Some still cook curanto at home, since a pressure cooker can mimic the effects of the curanto.
8. Pastel de Choclo – A smorgasbord of local produce, this dish highlights everything from corn and black olives to raisins and paprika. With a base of ground corn and herbs, the dish is then topped with chicken and beef, and garnished with a slew of vegetables and fruits before being topped with an egg.
9. Caldillo de Congrio – This soup is usually served in paila (earthenware bowl) and made with dorado (eel), vegetables, spices, and herbs. Cream and potatoes are then added right before serving.
10. Mate – Sometimes called yerba mate, this tea-like drink has been enjoyed for generations. Dried leaves are steeped in hot water – just like with tea – but the mate is made in vessels called calabash gourds and stirred with a small stick called a bombilla. After brewing, the drink tastes similar to a chai tea.
11. Sopaipillas – Supposedly created in 1726, this delicious fried dough can be eaten in both savory or sweet styles. The savory version is made with squash, but they’re now also served with pebre (Chilean salsa). Other condiments go well with it too, such as mustard, ketchup, or butter. Sweet sopaipillas can be dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with honey.
12. Alfajor – A soft cookie made with almonds, honey, hazelnuts, and dulce de leche, these sandwich cookies are also sometimes covered with chocolate, coconut, or powdered sugar.
13. Humita – Similar to the tamale, this dish is made of masa harina (cornmeal dough) and corn, prior to being wrapped in corn husks and boiled. There are many varieties, but many use onions and cheese, often either queso fresco or goat cheese.