My time in Chile is almost over, and tomorrow I leave Santiago for my journey back home. I know I have said this a few times in the blog but I have had such a great time here and will miss the country when I leave. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m visiting my friend, because of the way of life, the atmosphere, the fact I am in an apartment so don’t feel like a tourist or the food but I suspect it is a combination of them all.
I have mentioned the food of Chile quite a few times but now I’ll talk a little more about it before talking more about the second half of my time here. Overall we have eaten fairly simply while I have been here. Partly this has been to keep costs down, partly this has been due to the basic kitchen in the apartment and partly this is because it is what we have wanted to have. Overall the food has been tasty, cheap and good quality.
I started this trip with a couple of days of home cooked food at Steven’s house. I had two main meals there which were Pastel de Choclo, a sweetcorn pie, and Humitas which are similar to Tamales. While these were home cooked meals they were an indication of what was to come as everything so far has been filling and made with fresh ingredients. We have had a lot of empanadas since I arrived, partly due to convenience but also as I really love them. I have made empanadas myself and had them in Latin American cafes in London but the best ones that I have had have been in Chile. The ones you buy from the supermarkets aren’t as nice but we have had a few from street stalls and cafes and they were really nice. Also really nice was the food at a Chilean restaurant very close to Plaza de Armas called Nuria, which served a selection of typical dishes. We ate there a couple of times and I tried the Cazuela de Vacuno, which was a very tasty beef casserole, and Lomo de Vacuno a la Pobre which was beef, fries, onion and fried egg. This sort of combination is very popular in this part of the world and I had something similar at a Peruvian takeaway near me but served with hot dogs instead of beef.
We have tried to stick away from international restaurant chains where possible, as they are overpriced and I wanted to try traditional food, but we did indulge in Johnny Rockets and Ruby Tuesday in various shopping centres. However, one restaurant chain that I did fall in love with was the Chilean fast food restaurant called Dominó, specifically their Churasco Palta which was a beef, cheese and smashed avocado sandwich. I asked to go back again as I loved the food so much and I can sense that I will want to make it myself when I return home. The food in the apartment has been simple, usually fruit and sandwiches with other occasional treats, but it has filled a gap.
Street food is common in most places around the world, except maybe some western countries, and Chile is no exception. The summer months generally have more selection but all over Santiago we still found people selling completos, which are hot dogs fully loaded with huge amounts of toppings, which look very messy but are loved by Chileans. Sopaipillas, a fried pastry made with pumpkin paste, is another common street food in Chile although we didn’t find any on the streets for the majority of our visit. We didn’t try much street food during my visit, instead opting to rest our feet over lunch due to how much walking we were doing, so perhaps next time I visit I will try more along with the famous Terremoto cocktail which I didn’t have a chance to try either.
One thing I did try from the streets a few times was the traditional Chilean drink Mote con Huesillo which is a sugary, nectar-like drink containing dried peaches and barley. It is served with a spoon allowing you to eat the ingredients and then drink the liquid. It sounds horrible, and I read one blog online which described it as both looking and tasting like monkey brains, but I have to tell you it’s actually really nice. The first time you try it it’ll probably seem extremely weird, as we don’t have anything like this in Europe, but you will soon fall in love with it just like I did even though I don’t usually like peaches.
As you can tell I really like the food that I have had out here, but I will move on…