Levi and Luke having a moment, as Levi tries to feed him his first ever completo…*tear*
Una Chorillana!!! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm... 🙂
- The one time I went out for breakfast here…and all they had on the menu was toast and butter and jam with juice and coffee…very cute…but I miss big American breakfasts!!
- Yup, just some small portions of french fries…except for that they’re HUGE!
- Un terremoto!
- A pisco sour on the left and jugo natural on the right, I wish both were in my hands right now 🙂
Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite subject: FOOD!
Last year part of the money the group paid to the YMCA was to have a cook who made them dinner each night, but they changed things up this year and now they are reimbursing us up to what we pay each month to buy groceries and cook ourselves or go out to eat…it’s a sweet deal! I’m definitely focusing on the going out to eat more than the cooking, hehe 🙂
TOP 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT EATING IN CHILE
1. NO TACOS. NO BURRITOS
Surprised?! I was! Turns out that’s Mexican food, and Chileans aren’t big fans of it. I have only found one restaurant with tacos here and one with fajitas. I have found none with burritos. It makes me want to cry!!
2. They are OBSESSED with salt.
Every single restaurant table has a huge salt shaker on it and usually no pepper to go with it. They put salt on EVERYTHING and lots of it! Salads don’t have dressing, just oil or lemon juice and tons of salt. One of my friends keeps salt packets in his coat pocket. I don’t even know how to describe the obsession, but it is hilarious. Also, almost nothing is spicy here. That was a big surprise for me too. Know why nothing is spicy?!…because they use salt to flavor everything!!!! Taco seasoning can only be found in a tiny space in the ethnic section of the grocery store…gotta love it 🙂
This was recommended to me for my first meal and Chile, and wow is it good. Basically, a chorillana is a heart attack on a plate. It is a plate of thick, greasy, salty French fries, with one or two fried eggs and your choice of meat, (traditionally it is sliced hot dog, but I like it more with chicken) and then fried onions to top it off. Most restaurants make them only in portions for two people to share and they are HUMONGOUS!!! (portion sizes here are usually really big, but this is big even for Chile).
4. Eating Schedule
Let’s journey back in time to Anna’s first full day in Chile. She sat down for lunch, not that hungry, and just had something small, don’t remember what, but a normal American lunch. 6 pm rolls around and she asks when they are going to have dinner and is told “around 9’oclock”…what?! Well that’s a little weird, but she can wait…9 o’clock comes and she is handed a small jelly sandwich…hmmmmm. Luckily, now I know better, haha 🙂 The Chilean eating schedule goes like this, they “tomar desayuno” (literally, “to drink breakfast”), which is only a bit of bread, usually with manjar (see #7) or butter, and this is accompanied by tea or coffee. The focus of breakfast is the tea or coffee, some don’t even eat, that’s why it’s called “drinking breakfast”. Lunch is between 1-3 usually (they can’t believe that in the U.S. I eat at chapel break between 11-11:50 (they always tell me TAN TEMPRANO! “THAT’S SO EARLY!”) And lunch is the big meal of the day, so you have to load up on food there. A lot of restaurants are open from 12-4 and then close until 7 or 8…which is so different! I was a waitress for 4 years, and 11-2 was our busy time for lunch, we’d only keep one waitress on between 2-4:30 (and restaurants are packed during this time here) and 5-7 was our busy dinner time…and the restaurants are closed here then! Dinner is either small or non-existent. Instead, they have “onces” (which I have no idea why it’s called “onces”, because that means eleven…but they have onces around 6-7…weird). Onces consists of tea or coffee with small sandwiches or pastries or cookies. And there you have it! Very different, but I’m more used to it now.
5. Bland Carbohydrates Anyone?
The Chilean diet is carbohydrate-filled (see #10 for more). Breakfast mainly consists of bread. Humongous sandwhiches are everywhere. See # 8 for snack foods: what do they consist of? BREAD! Plus, they love, love, love potatoes. Mashed potatoes, huge portions of French fries, roasted potatoes, they love it (and of course flavoring it with lots of salt). Panderías and pastelerías (bread and pastry shops) are everywhere selling bread and pastries…ok, so I’ve beat the point to death that they love bread 🙂 But in general the diet is just more bland, with lots of carbohydrates, and I’ve even found that the chips and cookies here aren’t as rich as in the U.S. Seriously, I bought a bag of cheetos once, and the flavoring is much lighter colored and not nearly as strong, sadness!
Chocolate rules the dessert scene in the United States, and chocolate is certainly still big here…but manjar definitely comes first. Manjar is “dulce de leche” or caramel-flavored sweetened condensed milk…I don’t really know how to describe..but it is GOOD. And super addicting. And super bad for you…winner 🙂 Chileans put it in everything! Seriously, in every single thing at pastelerias and panderias there is at least a tiny bit of manjar…it’s like they are nervous to make something without manjar, ha 🙂 You can buy it in jars to spread on things (they don’t make peanut butter and jelly here, they saw me making it once and thought it was so weird! But manjar sandwiches?! Of course!) I’m pretty sure all us gringos have our own jar in our rooms at this point, I’m definitely brining a big jar home! But still, for me chocolate will always take the cake!
7. Pisco Sour and Terremotos
Remember how Chile is known for its wine? Well, Chilean wine on its own is amazing, but terremotos make Chilean wine a dream come true. A terremoto (which means “earthquake”) consists of a type of Chilean wine called pipeño, which is really sweet, and then they scoop ice cream on top and serve it in a 1L pitcher…YUM! I can’t decide between this and pisco sour for my favorite. Pisco sour consists of pisco (which I just looked up, and it is defined as a “white brandy made from muscat grapes”..there you have it), lemon juice and sugar and sometimes egg whites (which sounds weird I know), but I think it is SO good! It’s a great mix of sweet and sour and lots of places have it in different flavors, mango and kiwi are my favorite. Oh, and if you’re in Chile, make sure you don’t attribute the invention of pisco sour to the Peruvians…unless you’re looking to start a fight, ha. Chile and Peru both claim to have invented the drink and look on it with national pride…but obviously it was Chile! 😉
8. Anyone Want a Snack?!
Fast food in Chile: Chileans may say they don’t eat dinner, but street carts and fast food places are jam-packed at night, here are 4 of the favorite offerings:
Completos These are a big deal in Chile, Chileans LOVE THEM! Basically, it’s a huge hot dog that is COVERED in condiments (by the way, Chileans love condiments…to an extreme degree…it’s crazy). Normal completes have palta, which is mashed avocado spread, tons of mayo and chopped tomatoes. You can also get tons of varieties, like quesopletos (just cheese filled, no hot dog) or papapletos (filled with French fries instead of hot dog).
Empanadas Who has an addiction to cheese empanadas? This girl! Empanadas are all over, just like completos. There are lots of “Fabricas de Empanadas” where you can grab one quick to go, and standard fillings are cheese, chicken, seafood, and beef. But I like getting them at sit-down restaurants more, they’re usually crispier and really hot, YUM! Also, I just found a place that makes really unique empanadas, like basil, tomato and cheese, goat cheese paired with different things and manjar with pineapple (which is WAY too good)
Sopaipilla Also love these. All the main streets and plazas have tons of little street carts making and selling these fresh. It’s a circle of fried dough and the dough includes pumpkin mixed in it, which makes is slighty sweet. You can put mustard or ketchup or mayo on it, or this Chilean mixture called “pebre” which consists of onion, tomato, garlic, and herbs (they set this down with bread at almost every restaurant). But I just like them plain! And for only $100 pesos per sopaipilla (about 20 cents!), it’s one delicious deal.
Oh my papas fritas… You think that Americans have an addiction to French fries?! YOU HAVEN’T SEEN CHILE! The portion sizes here are INSANE! Be warned, you ask for a small portion of papas fritas and you will add least be delivered a full plate full, if not more. And they are the greasiest, saltiest, freshest fries ever…por qué Chile, por qué?!?!
Chileans love a good sandwich (the word is the same too :D). And their sandwiches are HUMONGOUS! Barros luco is Levi’s favorite (beef and cheese, grilled on a big white bun) and they have sandwiches in every combination you can imagine, always piled to the sky with enormous amounts of condiments, but the Guatón is the king of all sandwiches. A guatón is basically a giant sandwhich. It has layers, so there isn’t just a bun on the outsides, but buns inside to divide the layers. I have only seen them served, never witnessed one eaten…but it is a feat to be proud of. And I am proud to say that Luke Easterday did indeed finish one…I cannot witness to have seen it, but Erica and Johnna can…but I can witness to how much his stomach hurt afterwards 😉
10. Te y Café y Jugo (Tea and Coffee and Juice)
Tea and coffee is everywhere here. Lots of restaurants offer deals with sandwhiches, completes and chorillanas that include a drink and it’s usually a choice between tea, coffee and juice. I think it’s really funny to offer tea with these huge fast food options, but everyone does it! Chileans tend to prefer tea over coffee and almost always have it with breakfast and onces.
Chilean coffee, to be blunt, is gonna be disappointing to an American. They definitely don’t have the same coffee culture that we do. Restaurants with a good selection of lattes do exist, but sizes are small and it’s not as rich. Be warned that if you just order coffee, you will often be served a cup of hot water with a packet of instant coffee…yuck. Finding a Starbucks in Vina del Mar, the next town over, was a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL day 🙂
Chile has made me addicted to fruit juice. They don’t just do apple and orange juice here, they have every possible kind, blueberry, peach, strawberry, banana, kiwi, SO GOOD! Plus, almost every restaurant also offers “jugo natural”, which is freshly squeezed juice mixed in with sugar and water and it is absolutely heavenly. It’s rich and pulpy, but also very light because of the water and it comes in big, pretty glasses with fruit on the rim, so you feel special for ordering it 😉 Plus, it’s usually pretty cheap! This is another thing I am definitely going to miss.
There's even a fast food chain named "El Guaton", here's the menu!
So there you have it! And now I’m hungry…cheese empanada anyone?!