Food in Chile

by Andrea Segura - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tap water from your hotel is perfectly potable, although the locals generally drink bottled water. You should fill your water bottle at the hotel before you leave, because while on the road you can buy bottled water at a corner store more easily than refilling your water bottle. Generally, every small town has a corner store, and café/bars are more typical in the larger towns.

Hotel breakfasts are usually continental breakfasts – a roll with jam, butter and hot tea or coffee. We ask our hotels to supplement breakfasts with cold cuts, yogurt, and cereals. Usually, instant coffee (Nescafe) is offered instead of freshly brewed coffee in Chile. On the road, you may be tempted by the smell of freshly baked bread at the panaderías. These stores offer a variety of delicious rolls fresh out of the oven as well as pastries sweetened with manjar or dulce de leche which is similar to caramel.

For a quick lunch on the road, most restaurants offer a variety of sandwiches that range in price depending on the number and type of ingredients. Another typical lunch is an empanada – a fried turnover stuffed with cheese or meat (carne). An empanada de pino will have ground beef, egg, raisins, and usually pieces of sausage or hot dog. An empanada filled with sausage is called chaparrita. Chileans love hot dogs, called completos, which you eat loaded with sauerkraut, tomatoes, and palta (mashed avocado). You can also buy your own supplies for a picnic lunch (fresh rolls, sliced cheese, avocados, fruit, etc).

We will provide suggestions for the evenings scheduled for dinner on your own. A common meal might be bistec a lo pobre, which beef, French fries, and a fried egg. Salads are a common menu item (as a first course, not as an entire meal), but note that they come with exactly what they say. For example, an ensalada de tomate (tomato salad), is chopped tomatoes on a bed of shredded lettuce. Nicer restaurants will offer a variety of seafood dishes and soups as well.

For snacks along the way, corner stores and panaderías can offer ice cream, pastries, chips, fruit, juice and water.