One of my favorite ways to experience a country and culture is through the local food and drinks. I love to fully immerse myself, dining where locals eat and trying any local delicacies while I am in the region. Usually the experiences are successful, as I normally like anything I try. But, the best of these would have to be eating and drinking in Santiago, Chile. Each and every meal or drink I had was even better than I had expected it to be.
In fact, one of the hardest parts of leaving Chile was leaving all the food behind. I made my way through as much of it as I could, but with just a week there, I am hoping to eventually get back and enjoy more of the delicious food and drinks offered in the region.
If you’re planning on visiting Chile, here are a few of the dishes and drinks you have to sample before your trip is over.
I have always been a fan of empanadas, but the best ones I’ve had were in Santiago. I made sure to order them any time I saw them on the menu; nothing made me happier than indulging in each and every kind. In fact, upon my arrival home, I missed them so much, that I was inspired to learn how to make them myself.
A fried pastry often made with pumpkin, these flat disks are too delicious to have just one. They are usually had on rainy days, and luckily, my visit to the market was after a very rainy bike ride. These, along with a cup of coffee, were the perfect treat to warm up the day.
Hot Dog Completo
When I left for Chile, I had no idea how popular hot dogs were. But, when I got to Santiago, I saw hot dog shops all over the place. Chileans love their toppings, so I asked for the most popular combination, and got the hot dog completo. This is not your average hot dog. Instead, it’s topped with mashed avocado, diced tomatoes, and mayonnaise. It’s also known as the Italiano, due to the colors of the Italian flag that are represented as the condiments. No matter what you call it, you must get one while you’re visiting Santiago.
The idea of ceviche intrigued me, though I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the dish itself. But, it was one of the first dishes I ordered upon arrival to the country, and I’m glad I did, because I ate it as often as I could. The raw fish cured in citrus juices is prepared many different ways, but each time I had it, I couldn’t get enough. It’s one of those dishes you must try while visiting Chile.
Unfortunately, the day I arrived in Santiago, there were elections, which called for no sale of alcohol. This meant that my first drink of the trip was reserved for day two. By the time lunch came, I was ready for my first drink, and it would be wrong for me to make that drink anything but a pisco sour. The classic South American cocktail, made with pisco, egg white, simple syrup, lemon juice, and Angostura Bitters, can be found on almost any cocktail list. Soon enough, it’ll be your new favorite cocktail.
Some of the world’s best wine comes from Chile’s vineyards, so I had to make a trip to a winery to do a little taste testing of my own. I headed to Emiliana Organic Vineyards with Santiago Adventures during my stay and was more than happy with the selection of wine there. My new favorite from the day was carménère, Chile’s signature grape, and I made sure to have it as often as I could during my stay in Santiago.
Served and invented at La Piojera, the drink translates to the Earthquake because of how you feel if you’ve had too many. It’s made with white wine, Fernet (an herbal spirit), bitters, grenadine, and topped with pineapple ice cream. It’s sounds interesting, but I promise, it’s delicious, and the environment is as entertaining and lively as the come.
The selection of food and drink in Santiago, Chile is some of the best I have come across in the world, and I would gladly go back just to eat. Luckily, the city offers so much more than that, and there are a million reasons to spend time in the Chilean city. Still, the food and drinks will continue to call me back.