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Popular Chilean Dishes
Popular Chilean Dishes

Chilean cuisine is a hybrid of traditional Spanish cuisine, Chilean Indigenous Mapuche culture and local ingredients, with later influences from European cuisines such as German, Italian and French. The food tradition and recipes in Chile are notable for the variety of flavors and ingredients, with the country’s diverse geography and climate hosting a wide range of agricultural produce, fruits and vegetables. The long coastline provides an immense array of seafood products to Chilean cuisine, with the country's waters home to unique species of fish, molluscs, crustaceans and algae, thanks to the oxygen-rich water carried in by the Humboldt Current. Chile is also one of the world’s largest producers of wine, and many Chilean recipes are enhanced and accompanied by local wines.

As Chile covers a variety of landscapes, the different regions have a diverse range of dishes to offer.

Northern cuisine is strongly influenced by the Andean Aymara and Atacameno cultures, as well as the coastal Chango people. Traditionally high in protein, northern Chilean cuisine includes the use of camelid meats like llama and alpaca.

Northern dishes:
Asado: Meat roasted on the barbecue
Chairo: Altiplanic llama stew
Machas a la parmesana: A type of shellfish similar to the razor clam that is baked with bits of Parmesan cheese and other condiments
Estofado de cordero: Lamb stew
Ensalada de quinoa: Quinoa salad
Sango: Bread made from wheat flour cooked with oil and salt

Central Valley and coastal cuisine has been influenced by the traditions of the native cultures and European immigrants, with an emphasis on agriculture and country traditions.

Central dishes:
Sopa de mariscos: A soup of mixed seafood
Palta reina: Avocado stuffed with chicken salad, tuna, prawns, or other fillings
Tomatoes rellenos: Stuffed tomatoes, generally filled with sweetcorn, mayonnaise, and other ingredients
Pantrucas: A type of dumpling or pasta made without eggs, mixed with vegetable soup or beef stock
Charquican: A stew of charqui (dried beef) or regular beef, with potatoes, corn, and vegetables
Jaibas rellenas: Stuffed crabs

Southern cuisine has been greatly influenced by Mapuche and Chilote cuisine and European immigration; due to the thousands of islands that make up the southern region, seafood plays a particular role.

Southern dishes:
Merken: A traditional Mapuche condiment, made with dried and smoked red chillis and coriander, ground to a fine powder
Araucana, Kollongka, or Mapuche Chicken: Endemic to southern Chile, known by their light blue/green eggs
Chupe de locos: A rich stew made with the loco or Chilean abalone
Chapalele: A dumpling made from boiled potatoes and wheat flour
Crudos: (Spanish for "raw") A typical German-Chilean dish similar to steak tartare
Empanadas: A stuffed baked pastry, filled with meat, onions, and other fillings
Curanto: A traditional preparation where seafood and meat is cooked in a big hole in the ground using heated stones

Other street favorites throughout Chile include:

Completo: (Spanish for "complete") A hot dog variation, larger than American versions, with mayonnaise, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and sauerkraut

Pebre: Hot chilli pepper sauce made with tomatoes at the base and topped off with chopped onions, chilli, chives, garlic, coriander, oil, and vinegar

Churrasco and Chacarero: Chilean steak sandwiches

Sopaipillas: Simple fried flat breads made from pumpkins, butter, and flour

Chorillana: A large plate of sliced beef with french fries covered with either scrambled or fried eggs and fried onions, a typical dish from Valparaiso