The Food PostSantiago, Fall 2009
Generally speaking, food in Chile isn’t that different from in the U.S. We have the same vegetables here as well as staples like pasta, cereal, yogurt, bread, and meats. There are a few fruits, like Chirimoya, that I’ve never heard of. Palta (avocado) is huge down here. They’re sold for cheap on the street and we have it almost every single day.
They love mayonnaise and, even moreso, the combination of mayonnaise with palta. An Italiano or Completo can be ordered involving a hot dog, mayo, palta, ketchup, and possibly chicken and cooked onions.
Hallulla is a delicious and very buttery bread that is a daily staple here for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and snack again. You can use it for sandwiches, put butter and marmalade on it like toast, or eat it warmed up and plain.
The empanada is common as in other hispanic countries and can be made with beef, chicken, seafood, vegetables, or just cheese. I liked them at the beginning but am getting quite sick of them now.
Terremoto (meaning “earthquake”) is a signature Chilean drink that includes pineapple ice cream. It is made slightly differently by everyone and there is a secret ingredient that no one will divulge. I’m beginning to think that not even they know!
As for sweets, we found a great gelato place nearby called Bravissimo. For $3 you can get large scoops of three flavors, with or without a chocolate dunked cone. We love the tres leches and manjar flavors. Speaking of manjar, it is delicious spread on hallulla in the morning. It is like caramel sauce but more fantastic.
I made s’mores for my family. We couldn’t find graham crackers, but the sweet and crunchy vino crackers worked quite well, as did the stove burner for roasting the marshmallows on a fork. For my birthday, we had a tiramisu cake and apples that had been baked and then soaked in red wine – delicious!
They have Starbucks here and McDonald’s, not surprisingly, and we even got to order a McFlurry (and learned that Starbucks is just as expensive and delicious as in the U.S.).
I just have to mention plane food as well. Lan, the well known South American air carrier hands out a snack box and 2 rounds of beverage service no matter how short the flight. The snack box contains crakers, a chocolate/caramel cookie, and a fabulous lemon cookie. Additionally, during beverage service, one passenger may receive a soft drink, water, as well as tea at the same time. Oh, if only the U.S. carriers would pick up on this.
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