Tuesday, April 24, 2007

La Comida Tipica Chileno

As promised, the next installment of everyone´s favorite (and only) regular El Gringo y El Gallo feature, ¨La Comida Tipica¨comes to you live from Chile. I´m starting this in Santiago and who knows where I´ll finish it. Anyway, here goes.


Pablo, the very cool receptionist at my hostel, insists that empanadas are in fact Chilean, not Argentinian and that they are of course better here. So far I´ve had a few and they´ve been so so.

My first emanada was a pino, which includes ground beef, onion, raison, olive, and a piece of hard boiled egg. It was huge, but not super tasty. This picture is actually of my second, a spinich and cheese (lots of spinich, not lots of queso).

Today I had an empanada mariscono (with seafood) at the Mercado Central which has a bunch of seafood vendors and restaurants. It was nicely fried, but much smaller than the other one and there wasn´t all that much mariscon in it.

Traditional Dishes That Come in a Hot Brown Bowl

The first truly traditional dish I tried, on the recommendation of my new friend Javier, is called pastel de choclo. It´s basically a mushy corn pie filled with beef, chicken, raisons, olive, and hard boiled egg. I found the flavor strange and hard to place. It wasn´t that tasty, but it was a bit sweet--which made putting salt on it (which I would normally do to boost flavor) seem like a bad idea. It was also very mushy. The corn crust on top is not firm, but gloopy. Interesting experience, but I wouldn´t order it again.

Next, I took advice from another new friend Tomas (both new friends courtesy of Jorge Contesse from YLS, by the way--thanks Jorge) and went to Mercado Central for some chupe de locos. As you can see, this dish came out looking remarkably similar to the first one. It too is a gloopy mix served in a hot brown bowl. This time the stuffing was white fish cubes and there was what appeared to be parmesan cheese on top. The result was similar: an interesting experience I´m not dying to repeat.

Both gloopy bowl dishes were way too much food for one person, and both were somewhat amenable to bread scooping.
Sampled in Northern Chile
Here's Christian from Arica with a bowl of cazuela, a soup with potatos, vegetables, and meat or chicken.

Here's Mirtha from Santiago displaying mate con huesillos, a cold juice drink. Huesillos are fruits and mate is a type of corn at the bottom of the drink.

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