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19 dishes and drinks you need to try

With a coastline of about 6,500 kilometers and a very well developed fishing activity, the fish and shellfish are protagonists of typical Chilean foods.

In Santiago and in the coastal region, we find various recipes for dishes and starters with seafood. But the “strong” dishes, full of substance, are also present, especially in the cold winter and in the cities further south.

Chilean cuisine recipes are in tune with the seasons, that is, with more light dishes on offer in the summer, and more succulent dishes in the winter. But we could see this difference when going from Santiago to cities further south – and therefore colder – such as Santa Cruz and Pucón at the same time, where broths and soups “dominated”.

The typical cuisine of Chile has Spanish and indigenous influences, with items from the sea – obviously – and from the land, with a focus on corn and potatoes.

In my opinion, you eat very well in Chile. The cities we visited have a wide range of restaurants, many of them famous, and with excellent wine lists, to our delight. But food is more expensive compared to Bolivia and Peru.

There was a lot to taste, such as sopaipilla, but some dishes, starters and snacks that are part of the list of typical Chilean foods suited us very well. We’ve made a list of the main items to help you get an idea of ​​what to try!

Read too:

Restaurant tips in Santiago de Chile

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Typical Chilean food: tips for traditional dishes


1. Conger

Congrio is the most famous, typical of the entire coast of Chile. The most common recipe is Caldillo de Congrio, a fish broth, which I found a little “watery”, but it was definitely the place I tried it.

Too bad I didn’t get a chance to take the test. Perhaps Neruda’s famous recipe, with shrimp and sour cream, is more interesting.

2. Salmon and trout

Typical Chilean food
Centella stuffed trout

These are the other two options that I found in droves both in Santiago, in the region of Valparaíso and in the south of Chile.

In the south, in Pucón, there was also a lot of southern hake. I like fish a lot, so I’m suspicious to speak.

And even with no interest in eating Chilean farmed salmon, I tried two dishes, a pasta with smoked salmon, and a salmon carpaccio that were melting in your mouth. They say that this is one of the characteristics of when the salmon is real and not from captivity, I hope!

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3. Locos, machas, octopus and oysters

Typical Chilean food: locos
Locos is a well-known mollusk in Chile.
Typical Chilean food: octopus
Pincho de pulpo (octopus), delicious!

Locos and machas are two types of seafood that are often found in restaurants in Chile, both in starters and main dishes, and also in fillings, such as Chupe de Locos, or in empanadas, for example.

I had never eaten or heard of either of them!

The “Machas a la Parmesana” and “Locos a la Ordem”, dishes highly recommended by Chileans to those who asked for tips, were really very good. At first I found the texture of the locos a little hard, but when mixed with the onion in the dish, it was exceptional.

If you’re a fan of octopus and oysters, you’ll easily find them in most restaurants. We tried some starters that were delicious and well presented.

4. Centolla and jaiba (crab)

Typical Chilean food
Centolla suck

Centolla, the illustrious giant crab typical of Chile, very tasty and succulent. As it was very big (including the side dishes), the way we found to try it was in other dishes, like a delicious trout stuffed with centella that we tasted at Patio Bellavista.

And a Chupe de Centolla at the Central Market. In fact, the latter is where you can find a great supply of centella.

I don’t know if it was because I didn’t eat it pure, but in elaborate dishes, I didn’t see much difference between jaiba, common crab, and centella. We tasted jaiba in a Chupe which was very good.

5. Ceviche

Typical Chilean food: ceviche

The famous dish made with raw seafood such as fish, lobster, shrimp or octopus marinated in lemon usually still has onions, cilantro and other spices in Chile, and is easily found in many restaurants, although it is not exclusive to that country. We tried one at the Casa Silva winery restaurant and it was divine.

6. Seafood platter

Tabla de Mariscos or Jardim de Mariscos are options for those who want to taste a little bit of everything, but we only saw options for 2 or 4 people.

It comes with various sautéed seafood, including shrimp, oysters, ostiones (scallops), machas, locos and others.


7. Choclo Pastel

Typical Chilean food: pastel de choclo
Chicken stuffed chocolate pie

For those who don’t know, choclo is corn, and this dish is like a baked corn pie, or an escondidinho, but with corn puree.

In the stuffing, there is meat, and what I found different was that it came with a whole piece of chicken, and not a shredded chicken as I imagined, lol.

8. Sucks

Typical Chilean food: Chupe de Jaiba
A delicious Chupe de Jaiba (crab)

It also looks like a pie or escondidinho, but the dough is made with breadcrumbs soaked in milk and various seasonings, it is gratin and usually stuffed with shellfish.

We tasted a chupe de jaiba (crab) and a chupe de centolla (giant crab).

9. Cazuela

It is a traditional vegetable soup with meat, which can be beef or chicken, and a piece of corn on the cob. It’s that winter food dish that we were recommended to eat after climbing the Villarrica Volcano in Pucón, southern Chile.

10. Lomo a lo pauper

Typical Chilean food: lomo a lo pauper sandwich
Lomo a lo pauper sandwich

A famous and caloric dish made with grilled pork steak, fried egg, onions and french fries. We ate a poor sandwich, which was all that, but inside a loaf of bread!


11. Complete Italian

Typical Chilean food: full italian
Complete Italian on the whim!

It’s the most famous fast food in Chile! A hot dog, with bread, sausage, tomato, mayonnaise and…..avocado. That’s right!

It may seem strange, but avocado looks more like a sauce, and it tastes super yummy. By the way, we ate other avocado sauces, served along with breads like couvert, all delicious.

12. Humitas

It corresponds to our corn tamale.

13. Empanadas

Typical Chilean food: empanadas
We love empanadas and ate in every city we visit in Chile!

Chilean empanadas are usually baked, with a dough similar to those found in South America, but often filled with seafood.

The most traditional is pine (meat, olives, boiled egg and raisins). It’s like a baked pastry and is found everywhere.

14. Average Moon

Typical Chilean food: media luna
Medium Luna with Dulce de Leche

It is actually typical of Argentina, but you can also taste it in Chile, as it is found in all the cafes, and the Bellas Artes neighborhood, where we stayed, is full.

It is a delicious croissant of puff pastry, in some places accompanied by dulce de leche. With a coffee in the middle of the afternoon, there’s nothing better!

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15. Juices, ice cream and local fruit drinks

Typical Chilean food: drinks
A Pisco Sour with pepper and the “Chirimoya Alegre”

Some local fruits that they recommended were chirimoya and arándanos, which we only tried in juices and drinks and we loved them.

16. Mote with Huesillos

Typical Chilean food: mote with huesillos
The traditional mote drink with huesillos comes with a whole peach inside, plus cooked wheat, all in peach juice!

A typical refreshing drink found in many places, especially in squares and parks. It’s like a juice, made with peach syrup, with boiled wheat grains and a whole peach inside.

Many tourists end up leaving the wheat, which after all, has a very mild flavor.

17. Chilean beers

Typical Chilean food: Chilean beers

Escudo, Austral and Kunstmann are the three Chilean beers we tasted, which come in different styles. The two best we tried are Austral Calafate and Kunstmann Torobayo, which were highly recommended wherever we went.

Be sure to ask for craft beer suggestions at the bars and restaurants you visit. You will end up consuming very good drinks.

18. Pisco Sour and Earthquake Drinks

Typical Chilean food: Pisco Sour
pisco sour

Pisco is a very traditional grape brandy in South America, which when mixed with lemon, sugar and egg white, creates the famous drink “Pisco Sour”.

As I had drunk many, many Pisco Sours in Peru, I decided to try a version with more personality, with pepper. Yummy, but the drink “Chirimoya Alegre” that Nange ordered was better!

Terremoto is made with pineapple ice cream, white wine and Fernet that “shakes the structures”, but tasting just one, everything works!

19. Chicha

Typical Chilean food: chicha

It is a fermented drink of indigenous origin, typical of the people of the Andes since the Inca Empire, usually made from corn, and very strong. It looks like a cachaça.


Extra: wines

Wine is part of the daily life of Chileans and is always present at the table. You can’t have a meal without wine! And as Chile is one of the most recognized wine producing regions, it is worth visiting a winery and better understanding how production works, as well as trying out great labels.

The tour is worth it even for those who don’t like the drink so much. In that case, choose a traditional winery, preferably with a good restaurant. And here’s a tip, it’s worth bringing wines in Chile, because the price is well worth it, and it’s possible to bring several bottles (check with your airline on the way).

Check out the articles on the wineries of Valle de Casablanca and on the wineries of Valle del Maipo, the two most important wine regions close to Santiago and easier to visit.[/su_quote]

So, what did you think of typical Chilean foods? I particularly liked everything! 😉

by Camila Coubelle

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