What do we know about Chile? Perhaps this is the most remote country from Russia, which makes it even more mysterious for us. Chile is also located below the equator, but unlike Asia, it also has 4 seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. Well, just the opposite of our country. I never dreamed of getting here, but fate still gave me such an opportunity.
What do people who live so far away from us across the ocean eat? Due to the extent of Chile from south to north, culinary delights vary greatly between regions. At times it seemed to me that I was traveling through different countries, and not just Chile. Food in the mountains is very different from food on the Pacific coast. This is what I like – variety! The influence of the traditions of preparing European dishes brought here by immigrants more than 200 years ago has not passed by.
In some ways, the cuisine of Chile has something in common with the cuisines of Argentina, Peru and Bolivia, but they have also preserved the unique recipes of the Indians who inhabited these lands many centuries ago. Since the country is only 100–200 km wide from the Andes to the ocean, there are plenty of meat and fish dishes here. It’s good that I’m not a vegetarian.
Argentina and Chile are always arguing about whose cuisine is tastier and better. In my opinion, they are very different. In Chile, they try to prepare dishes according to the season, using vegetables, fish or meat from their region. Simple and inexpensive. And the Chileans themselves eat a lot, 4 times a day. Chile is also famous throughout the world for its excellent wine – one of the best in the world. But first things first.
In Chile, unlike Russia, there are 4 main meals. Chileans never miss them and try to follow the regime. By the way, I have noticeably gained weight with this schedule. The food consumption culture is somewhat similar to Argentina and Uruguay, but still different:
In the morning, Chileans do not have breakfast in our usual sense, but have a snack. But for me, the morning is the main meal of the day. It is not customary here to cook something in the morning. A typical Chilean breakfast is toasted white bread and mate, a local strong tea. Some people drink instant coffee. As a rule, bread is eaten with butter, marmalade or Manjar – condensed milk. If there is no time to cook croutons, then they eat crackers. In Chile, I was an alien when I cooked oatmeal or made an omelet.
Unlike Argentina, in Chile the main meal of the day is lunch. Chileans have lunch from 13:00 to 15:00, during which time no government offices are open, shops and some travel agencies are also closed. There’s no way you can skip lunch. Chileans eat very heavily at this time and never limit themselves to one dish. For the first course they order soup, but for the second course whoever likes what.
Since they eat dinner late in Chile, the next meal is a kind of snack. This is the time of sweets and bread, the time of boiled condensed milk and fried pancakes with cheese and pebre – local sauce. My favorite time is to sit and talk, and who doesn’t love sweets :).
And finally, late dinner at 21:00–23:00. Chileans do not like to cook dinner, so they most often eat sandwiches, or prepare one hearty dish, but not soup. Actually, my dinner consisted of just a glass of red.
Unlike Argentina, in Chile lamb is more popular than beef. And here there is no such cult of meat as in neighboring Argentina. Chicken is considered a second-class meat in Chile, although many dishes are prepared from it. I happily ate everything they gave:
As elsewhere in South America, in Chile they cook meat over coals – As ado. Large pieces of different parts of the carcass are sprinkled with salt and placed on the grill. Most often it is a mix of lamb, beef and sausages. If in Argentina meat can be fried at least every day, then in Chile azido is a Sunday or holiday event.
Why the event? Because if the Chileans start eating as ado, it’s for the whole day. My Sundays almost always go like this. I love this dish. It is customary to fry the meat well, so if you like medium-rare meat, like me, then don’t relax! As a rule, one person prepares the azido, so ask him to cut you a piece before the meat is well done.
Soups occupy an important place in Chile. They are eaten almost every day for lunch as a first course. The most beloved and popular soup throughout the country is Azuela. Translated as pan. This is a soup made from meat with various seasonal vegetables. For example, in the summer sweet corn is added to this soup. To prepare this soup, use beef (Casual de Vasa) or chicken (Azuela de Ave).
I would still recommend trying it with beef. Turkey and pork are very rarely added. On the coast you can find a seafood option. As a rule, vegetables include potatoes, carrots and onions. But depending on the region, you can try this soup with pumpkin, beans or celery. It is customary to drink a shot of vodka or pisco, washed down with broth. And then they eat meat and vegetables. One bowl of soup is enough for me to fill up. Therefore, do not rush to order the second course.