I have been living in Santiago de Chile for almost 6 months now and I have learned a couple of things about eating (and drinking) in this great city. Here are just a couple of Santiago Chile foodie tips for any tourist who finds themselves hungry and wandering the streets of this Chilean capital.
15. The red bottle at the restaurant does not always mean there is Ketchup inside. The red bottle usually signifies hot sauce while the green bottle is ketchip
14. Chileans love palta or avocado. They put it on everything! I once went to McDonalds and had avocado smeared on my McChicken burger…strange. So if you hate avocada be weary of what you are ordering!
13. Go to a Peruvian restaurant. They have amazing food and please try the white sauce, you will not regret it! Also if you are a fan of seafood, I highly recommend trying ceviche (fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers). But make sure to go to a genuine Peruvian restaurant with Peruvian cooks or the experience might not be a memorable one!
Peruvian white salsa!
12. Salsa means sauce. Salsa in South America is not the stuf that you dip your chips in back home. As a result, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise are all considered to be salsa
11. Do not be surprised (or angry) if the restaurant or fast food joint you are eating at has ran out of the thing you want to order. It is normal. I once went to Starbucks and was told that they had no more “venti” cups and I had to order another size.
10. If you want gringo coffee than Starbucks is your best bet. Prices in Santiago de Chile are still crazy high but free wifi is a definite plus. NONETHELESS, there are still some great independent coffee joints in the city that have WIFI and organic coffee. These places are just a little more scarce – a great coffee place is Bon Voyage Coffee & Travel. But if you want a true Chilean experience than I recommend heading to a café con piernas.
9. Some fast food joints will ask you to pay at a cashier first and then hand your ticket to the cook or the waiter. Make sure to scope out if there is a cashier before heading over to take a seat! Some great non-gringo fast food joints can be found around Plaza de Armas.
8. AVOID Chilean hot dogs at all costs. They resemble old school oscar meyer weiner hotdogs – over processed an small hotdogs that are usually just boiled before plopped on a bun and served. If you want a tasty (and quick) try a churrasco italiano (con palta of course) and/or an ass con queso (cheese please).
7. Street meat: proceed with caution. The individual pizzas that people sell near Bellavista are HORRIBLE. Please do not eat them. I would say that I am a little iffy about street meat in Santiago. Every day I see young individuals sitting next to the metro and selling homemade sandwiches and sushi (ummm?). But whenever I am hungry I stick with the basics empanadas and/or French fries.
6. Try manjar, a sweet white spread made from milk! My favorite sweet in Santiago would have to be a churro filled with manjar!
5. Drink the local drink! Try PISCO, a colorless or yellowish-to-amber colored grape brandy. Many Chileans simply drink pisco with coca-cola but I would suggest trying a pisco sour whereas the pisco is mixed with a sour concoction to make it sweet and sour! A Terremoto is a drink with pipeño (a type of sweet fermented wine) with pineapple ice-cream served in a one-litre glass. Terremoto literally translates as ‘Earthquake’ since you are left with the ground (and legs) feeling very shaky. The best place to get a terremoto is La Piojera. And if that is not your thing, then try a Michelada, is a Mexican cerveza made with beer, lime juice, and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers. It is served in a chilled, salt-rimmed glass
4. Love Poutine? Why not try a Chorillana, a popular Chilean dish consisting of a bed of french fries topped with sauteed beef strips and onions with two fried eggs. Best places to get one? I do NOT remember the name but in front of the metro Bellas Artes there is an ice cream place and right beside it is a restaurant that has great chorrillana! There is also a restaurant that is on Avennida Darginac in Bellavista (on the corner and right in front of an Italian restaurant).
Great hang-over food. Skip McDonalds and get a Chorillana!
3. Embrace the pace. This is not North America folks! Restaurants and even fast food joints run at a much slower pace than those of Canada. Just remember to take a deep breath and go with the flow.
2. Eat at La Vega. The food is cheap, home-made and fast! Do not expect menus and be prepared to have to change your order if they have run out of what you want! During the week most restaurants serve pantruca soup for $1,200 CLP. Pantruca is a typical food of Chile made with flour. It is a type of dumpling whose dough is made with water, flour and a bit of oil, cut in irregular pieces and later mixed with verduras soup or beef stock.
Pantrucas are healthy, hearty and cheap at La Vega!
1. Avoid gringo food and just experiment! If you are really craving some gringo food that I would highly suggest Mr. Jack’s Burgers (Bellavista and many other locations as it is a chain). For $6,500 CLP you are served with a delicious burger (they have all sorts of burgers – my favorite is the Mr. Ring burger with barbecue sauce, pickles and onion rings) and a heaping portion of fries. And if you want a cheap thin crust pizza (and great empanadas), I suggest going to the my favorite pizza place in Bellavista on the corner of Avenida Pio Nono and Avenida Darignac. For $3,900 CLP anyone can get a great pizza that is made from scratch (even the dough!)
Mr. Jack burger
DO YOU have any tips on eating in Santiago?