25 typical Chilean dishes you must try sometime
25 typical Chilean dishes you must try sometime

Chile has learned to value its gastronomy, its own history, and culinary individuality expressed in an abundant and varied diversity of typical Chilean dishes, many of which adapt according to the climate and seasons of the year.

Typical Chilean foods have evolved over centuries based on two main influences: the techniques, ingredients, and recipes of its indigenous peoples, combined with the influence of cuisines from other European countries, mainly Spain and France.

Below, and as an undoubtedly necessary introduction, if you wish to delve a little deeper into Chile’s gastronomic culture, here we propose 25 typical Chilean dishes you must try at least once, with a direct link to their recipe, including ingredients and step-by-step instructions.

1. Chilean Stews (Cazuelas)

In its different versions, the stew is a dish of Spanish origin that in Chile has developed a wide variety of versions, whether beef stew, chicken stew, or seaweed stew, always accompanied by potatoes, yellow squash, and/or fresh corn, including specialties such as smoked pork stew, horse stew, or turkey stew with corn flour.

Chilean Chicken Soup (Cazuela de Pollo) Recipe

2. Conger Soup (Caldillo de Congrio)

Conger soup could be considered one of the country’s most popular specialties, to which the Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda even composed a poem titled “Ode to Conger Soup.” It is a delicious and hearty soup based on conger head broth and made with fresh red conger medallions, shrimp, Chilean potatoes, and bell peppers.

Chilean Conger Chowder (Caldillo de Congrio) Recipe

3. Chilote Curanto in the Ground (Curanto en Hoyo)

Many consider the curanto more a cooking technique than a recipe per se since it is a preparation made on hot stones that have been gathered and heated red-hot in a hole in the ground. Still, the Chilote curanto in the hole is a unique recipe within typical Chilean foods, both in the previous process and in the arrangement of its ingredients, which include clams, mussels, barnacles, clams, Chilean potatoes, pork ribs, chicken, and smoked sausages, always accompanied by traditional milcaos and chapaleles.

Traditional Chilean Seafood Pulmay Recipe

4. Chilean “Carbonada” Stew

Carbonada is a typical Chilean stew very common on winter days or in cold areas of the country, mainly made from potatoes, squash, corn, carrots, and minced meat, simple and delicious, but it requires knowing the exact cooking point of each ingredient to obtain an outstanding final result due to its sophisticated simplicity.

Chilean Homemade Carbonada Recipe

5. “Chancho en Piedra” Sauce

Chancho en piedra is a classic among Chilean sauces and appetizers, a peasant preparation that was originally made during harvest seasons when farmers at the end of the day washed their shovel and mashed (chancaban) freshly harvested tomatoes, garlic, and chili peppers on it to accompany the daily ration of homemade bread.

Chilean “Chancho en Piedra” Sauce Recipe

6. Chorrillana from Valparaíso

The chorrillana is a preparation originated at the J Cruz restaurant in Valparaíso in the 1970s, designed as a super hearty and caloric dish based on French fries, onion, and meat, which allowed accompanying the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Over time, the chorrillana evolved throughout the country, and variations based on seafood or even vegetarian options were developed.

Chilean Original Chorrillana Recipe

7. Baked “Empanadas de Pino”

Although Chile has an infinite variety of empanadas, such as seafood empanadas or even fruit empanadas, it is the baked “empanadas de pino” that could be considered its most representative preparation. It is a preparation present almost everywhere in the country, made with minced or ground beef, onions, optionally raisins, black olives, and hard-boiled eggs.

Chilean Baked Empanadas de Pino Recipe

8. Chilean Crab Pie (Pastel de Jaiba)

The crab is very abundant in Chile, so its crab pie or even crab soup are very representative recipes of the exceptionally long coast of the country, made with shredded crab meat, bread soaked in milk, and Parmesan cheese. Undoubtedly a must-try.

Chilean Homemade Crab Pie Recipe

9. Chilean Sopaipillas

There is not a single place in the country where Chilean sopaipillas are not consumed, in all their forms, sopaipillas made with wheat flour, sopaipillas with yellow squash, sopaipillas with potatoes, or even sopaipillas made with pine nut flour. This is why sopaipillas have become one of the most delicious and versatile fried breads made in all of Latin America, to be eaten fresh, alone, or with any sweet or savory accompaniment.

Chilean Sopaipillas with Pumpkin Recipe

10. Razor Clams au Gratin (Machas a la Parmesana)

“A la Parmesana” is a term coined in Chile to refer to appetizer-type preparations that are generally topped with a generous layer of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This is what happens with the globally famous razor clams au gratin, a combination of sea flavors and dairy products that will surprise you singularly and that you will want to try again and again.

Chilean Parmesan Pink Clams Recipe

11. Chilean Corn Pie (Pastel de Choclo)

Corn pie is one of the favorite seasonal recipes in any list of typical Chilean foods, originated in the country’s fields over 200 years ago with corn at the beginning of summer, accompanied by minced beef, onions, diced chicken, and even hard-boiled eggs. Simply marvelous.

Chilean Homemade Corn Pie Recipe

12. Beans with “Reins” (Porotos con Riendas)

Beans with reins are a typical Chilean peasant food, very nutritious and hearty, which originally takes its name from the strips of pork leather (traguas) added to the preparation, which also includes noodles, squash, paprika, and smoked sausages, optionally topped with a fried egg and accompanied by pickled onions.

Traditional Chilean Porotos con Riendas Recipe (Beans and Noodles)

13. Chilean Stews with Bread and Cheese (Chupes)

In Chile, stew is a thick stew made from milk, soaked bread, and cheese, which has developed various versions throughout the country, with sea and land products, such as loco stew, potato stew, or tripe stew, usually served and prepared in deep clay dishes.

Chilean Magellanic King Crab Chowder (Chupe de Centolla) Recipe

14. Chilean Hot Dogs (Completos)

Chile is a country of sandwiches, that’s for sure, but above all, it is a country of completos, a preparation that uses an elongated bread called “copihue,” the size of a sausage or frankfurter, and on which an infinite number of variations have been created, many of which have even crossed the country’s borders, such as the classic completo, Italian completo, country completo, or dynamic completo.

Completo Italiano (Chilean Italian-Style Hot Dog) Recipe

15. Chilean Abalones (Locos)

One should not be fooled by the simplicity of its presentation; locos with mayonnaise or simply locos mayo are a preparation exclusive to the time when this mollusk is not in a closed season, prepared in a way that allows you to appreciate its natural flavor since in this typical Chilean preparation, the freshness of its main ingredient is almost everything.

Chilean Abalones (Locos) with Mayonnaise Recipe

16. “Calzones Rotos” Dessert

Calzones rotos are a typical Chilean dessert made from flour and powdered sugar, a fluffy and sweet dough that is crossed over itself to adopt a particular shape, which evokes an old story from the colonial times when a cook from the town of Chuchuncho, who used to sell her delicious fried foods in the Plaza de Armas, was affected by the strong winds that sometimes revealed her slightly worn underwear.

Chilean Traditional Calzones Rotos Recipe

17. Chilean Salad

The simplicity of a selection of fresh and seasonal ingredients gathered in this simple but unforgettable Chilean salad, or simply “Chilean” as it is recognized everywhere, a combination of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro perfectly integrated to accompany almost any other national typical meal, from a lamb roast to freshly kneaded bread.

Traditional Chilean Salad Recipe

18. Chilean “Mote con Huesillos”

Probably the most typical dessert of the central area, “mote con huesillos” is a centuries-old and refreshing Chilean drink made from dried peaches and cooked wheat kernels, to be served very cold ideally on the hottest days of summer.

Mote con Huesillos Dessert Recipe

19. Chilean Sweets or “Chilenitos”

Chilean sweets or “chilenitos” as they are also known, are a “family” of typical desserts with a centuries-old history that dates back to the colonial era and originated in Curacaví, Melipilla, and La Ligua, made from a common base of puff pastry and homemade caramel, with meringue and/or jams, including, for example, alfajores, príncipes, and sweet little birds.

Chilean Sweets or Homemade Chilenitos Recipe

20. “Melón con Vino” (Melvin)

In Chile, summer is synonymous with “melón con vino” or simply “Melvin,” a delicious and refreshing typical drink made to be enjoyed on the hottest days, using as the base of its ingredients a seasonal honeydew melon, a little sugar, and a good Chilean white wine, always available in all formats.

Chilean Melon with Wine (Melvin) Recipe

21. Spit-Roasted Lamb (Asado de Cordero al Palo)

Spit-roasted lamb is a typical Chilean dish originating from the Mapuche people, who mainly consumed it during the harvest or abundance time (Walung), and which was traditionally prepared over wooden coals on which the lamb was mounted through coligue branches.

Chilean Spit-Roasted Lamb Recipe

22. Semolina with Red Wine Sauce

Semolina with red wine sauce is a very popular typical Chilean dessert, especially in the south of the country, a very old recipe about which there is little information about its origins, but which has been passed down from generation to generation, made with milk, semolina, and Chilean red wine.

Semolina with Chilean Red Wine Sauce Recipe

23. Chilean “Terremoto” Cocktail

Undoubtedly, there is no list of typical Chilean foods that does not include what is probably the country’s most traditional cocktail, the “terremoto,” a preparation based on pipeño wine and pineapple ice cream, which is believed to have been named at the El Hoyo bar in Estación Central when some German journalists covering the 1985 earthquake ordered it to calm their nerves but ended up losing their balance anyway “by letting themselves be carried away by the sweetness.”

Chilean Terremoto Recipe: How to Make te Most Famous Chilean Cocktail

24. Chilean “Huaso” Rolled Pork

The “huaso” rolled pork or simply Chilean “huaso” roll is a preparation based on pork pulp marinated in vinegar which is then rolled in the pig’s own leather, cooked in abundant boiling water, and to be consumed the same day.

The “huaso” roll is a specialty of Chilean typical cuisine from the central zone that Anthony Bourdain described as a “wonderful culinary innovation.”

Homemade Chilean “Huaso” Rolled Pork Recipe

25. Chilean Sandwiches

No selection of typical Chilean food would be complete without a small list of some of our best national sandwiches, which combine the globally recognized variety of Chilean breads with almost any ingredient we can find, examples of which are the Barros Luco, the cow tongue sandwich, the “sánguche” of tripe, the chacarero, the fricandela, and the salmon burger.

Chilean Fried Fish Sandwich Recipe

The Future of Chilean Gastronomy

There is no doubt that the culinary richness of Latin America has begun to express itself strongly around the world, establishing our own influences on cuisines from all over the world.

It is here where typical Chilean foods have found their space and have been revalued first by their own inhabitants, often thanks even to the migration of the last decade, creating and consolidating a way of cooking and eating that today go hand in hand with other great cuisines of the continent such as Mexican, Peruvian, or Brazilian.

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