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Food and Drink

Chile - Food and Drink


- Pastel de choclo: corn casserole filled with ground beef, onions, chicken, raisins, hardboiled egg, olives, and topped with sugar and butter.

- Empanada de pino: a baked pie filled with ground beef, onion, raisins, a piece of boiled egg and a black olive. Watch for the pit.

- Empanada de queso: a deep fried patty filled with cheese. Found everywhere, including McDonald's.

- Cazuela de vacuno: beef soup with a potato, rice, a piece of corn and a piece of squash.

- Cazuela de ave (or de pollo): same as above, but with a piece of chicken.

- Cazuela de pavo: idem, with turkey.

- Porotos granados: stew made with fresh beans, squash, corn, onion and basil:

con choclo: with grains of corn
con pilco or pirco: with corn thinly chopped
con mazamorra: with ground corn
con riendas:with thin sliced noodles

- Curanto: lots of sea food, beef, chicken and pork, potatoes, cheese, and potato "burguers", prepared in a hole in the ground ("en hoyo") or in a pot ("en olla"); a dish from Chiloé

- Southern sopaipillas: a fried pastry cut as 10 cm circles, with no pumpkin in its dough (see Northern sopaipillas in the desserts section). They replace bread. They are known South of Linares.

- Lomo a lo pobre: a beefsteak, fried potatoes, a fried egg (in restaurants you should expect two) and fried onions.

Besides typical foods, you should expect food normally found in any Western country. Normal diet includes rice, potatoes, meat and bread. In central Chile vegetables are abundant. If you are concerned about the amount of food, consider that the size of the dish increases the farther south you travel.

With such an enormous coastline you can expect fish and seafood almost everywhere. Locals used to eat bundles of raw shellfish, visitors should be cautious of raw shellfish because of frequent outbreaks of red tides. Chile is the world's second largest producer of salmón, as well as a number of other farmed sea products, which include oysters, scallops, mussels, trout and turbot. Local fish include corvina (sea bass), congrio(conger eel), lenguado (flounder), albacora (swordfish), yellow fin tuna, etc.


- Hotdog or completo. Not similar to the American version. This one includes mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, tomato, mashed avocado (palta), sauerkraut (chucrut) and chilli (ají). All of it makes a full sandwich, called un completo. With mayonnaise, tomato and avocado it's un italiano with the colors of the Italian flag.

- Lomito. Cooked pork steaks served with anything that can go in a hotdog. Italiano is the preferred form but German purists prefer it with sauerkraut (chucrut).

- Chacarero: a thin beefsteak (churrasco) with tomato, green beans, mayonnaise and green chilli (ají verde).

- Barros Luco: Named after President Ramón Barros Luco. Thinly sliced beefsteak with cheese.

- Choripán: Bread with "chorizo", which is a highly-seasoned pork sausage. Named that way because the contraction of "Pan con Chorizo" or "Chorizo con Pan".

A common combination is meat with avocado and/or mayonnaise, e.g. Ave palta mayo (chicken with avocado and mayonnaise) or Churrasco palta (thinly sliced beefsteak with avocado). The strong presence for avocado is a Chilean standard for sandwiches that influences the fast food franchises who include it in their menus.


- Mote con huesillos: dried peach (huesillos) cooked with with lots of sugar (giving a fresh syrup) with optional mote added. Mote is fresh cooked barley with almost no flavor. Since the syrup is very sweet, the mix is good.

- Northern sopaipillas: a fried pastry cut as 10 cm circles, which includes pumpkin in its dough, and normally is eaten with chancaca, a black treacle or molasses. It's customary to make them when it rains and it's cold outside. Sopaipillas as a dessert are known only north of San Javier. From Linares to the South they are not dessert and they are made with no pumpkin. So, when it rains, Chilean Southerners must cook picarones. In Santiago, Sopaipillas can be served covered with a sweet syrup as a dessert, or with spicy yellow mustard.

- Kuchen (or cújen, pronounced KOO-hen) is German for pie. In the South ask for kuchen de quesillo, a kind of cheesecake.

- Strudel (pronounced ess-TROO-dayl). A kind of apple pie.

- Berlín. When they translate John Kennedy's famous gaffe they say it's a “jelly doughnut”. The Chilean version is a ball of dough (no hole) filled with dulce de membrillo, crema pastelera or manjar. Powder sugar is added just in case you have a sweet tooth.

- Cuchuflí. Barquillo (tube of something crunchy like a cookie) filled with manjar. The name originally comes from cuchufleta wich means deceipt or trickery, as they used to be filled only at the tips of the barquillos, leaving the middle part empty.

As a major fruit producer, in Central Chile you can easily get fruit for dessert, including apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, watermelons, strawberries, raspberries, chirimoyas, etc.


- Wine: Chile produces some excellent wines, competing with California, Australia and New Zealand for world markets. Notable are the Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere in red, along with whites from the Casablanca valley.

- Mote con Huesillo: Dehydrated peaches with stewed barley often in water or peach juice.

- Chilean Pisco: Brandy made from Muscat grapes. Popular brands are Capel, Alto del Carmen and Valle Elqui.

- Pisco Sour: One of Chile's most popular mixed drinks, this consists of Pisco mixed with lemon juice and sugar. It has a delicious tart sweetness.

- Mango Sour: Pisco mixed with mango juice.

- Piscola: Pisco mixed with Coke.

- Borgoña: Red wine and strawberries.

- Schop: Beer on tap.

- Fan-Schop: Beer mixed with orange Fanta soda. A refreshing alternative on a hot summer day.

- Beers: Cristal and Escudo are the most popular (light). Several other main brands are Royal, Heineken, Brahma, Becker and premium Kunstmann.

Unlike other latin countries, in Chile it's illegal to drink on the streets or public areas. The alcohol laws also severely restrict vendor hours depending on the week day (in no case after 3AM or before 9AM). Foreigners are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages around the clock but only with their passport and in the hotel they're staying.

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