Eating Chile

Most people who know me are well aware that one of my favorite things to do is eat. They also know that one of my favorite things to eat is junk. I’m talking about cheese, fried things, chips (I could maybe arm wrestle Russell Wilson for some freaking Ruffles right now)… things that basically destroy Craig’s stomach. (So far, we’ve somehow been able to eat in semi-harmony.)

Now, imagine you’re in a Thai restaurant, but you’ve never eaten Thai food and have no knowledge of it. Try to picture seeing the word “Pad Thai”, with no other explanation or picture, and wondering what the heck that was. You ask the waitress in your rudimentary language skills, “What is Pad Thai?” Her answer is incredibly fast and completely incomprehensible. This is how I feel whenever Craig and I go out to eat. Even Craig has a hard time understanding waitress-speak here, so it is hopeless for me.

Not knowing what to order makes me incredibly sad. It makes me so sad, in fact, that I have spent the last 2 hours compiling a list of Chilean dishes (in alphabetical order, of course), so that I can look them up on my iPodTouch when I’m in restaurants. No more will I wonder if I’m missing out on something truly amazing because I didn’t know what Salmón Reina was. No longer will I have to stare vacantly at some saucy Chilean waitress as she rattles off explanations designed to frustrate the beginning Spanish learner. I now have the power to eat what I want. Moohahahaa!

And what I want is usually “a lo pobre”, meaning covered with a fried egg (and costing about $4 more than the dish without it, belying its name), salmón reina (I was missing out, if the palta reina definition is any clue), and… Ruffles (Russell Wilson…!).

So without further ado, for all of you current or future travelers to Chile, here is my compiled Chilean Food Glossary, in alphabetical order, taken from this travel guide site, and, of course, Wikipedia. (I know there are some duplicates, but sometimes the explanations were really different and I wasn’t really sure which would be better.) Buen provecho!


Albóndigas al jugo – meatballs in sauce

Almejas con Limón – raw clams with lemon juice.

Araucana, Kollongka or Mapuche Chicken: Endemic to southern Chile, known by their light blue/green eggs.

Arrollado de Chancho – Chunks of pork wrapped in pork fat smothered in red ají (chili).

Arrollado de chancho and Arrollado de huaso: Pork roll and chilli roll.

Asado al palo: A form of roasting or barbecuing meat in which the whole animal (usually a lamb) is put on a stick next to a big wood fire and cooked for several hours until tender.

Bistec a lo pobre – beefsteak, French fries, fried onions, topped with a couple of fried eggs.

Brochetas: a variety of anticucho or kebab

Calapurca: Spicy soup, with potatoes, corn and different kinds of meat.

Caldillo de Almejas: Clam soup (“caldillo” is a clear thin soup).

Caldillo de Congrio – conger-eel soup with onions, potatoes and carrots.

Cancato: A baked stew of fish, cheese, onions and pepper, seasoned with lemon and wine.

Carbonada – meat soup with finely diced beef and all kinds of vegetables such as potatoes, onions, carrots, broccoli, green pepper and parsley.

Cazuela de Ave – chicken soup with pieces of meat, potatoes, green beans or peas, rice or noodles.

Cazuela de Vacuno – beef soup with pieces of meat, potatoes, corn on the cob, carrots, onions, green beans, garlic, chunks of pumpkin, rice or noodles.

Cazuela chilota: The Chiloé version of cazuela differs from traditional cazuela because the stock is made of dried choros (Chilean mussels) and lamb instead of beef or chicken, giving it a very distinct flavour.

Cazuela marina: A stew of different types of seafood, such as razor clams, oysters and shrimp, similar to Paila Marina but with more vegetables.

Ceviche – minced raw sea bass in lemon juice.

Chairo: An altiplanic llama stew, one of the least known in the rest of Chile.

Chancho en Piedra – a typical Chilean seasoning. Tomatoes, garlic, and onions grounded together in a stone.

Chapalele: A Chilean dumpling made from boiled potatoes and wheat flour.

Charqui: Dried and salted meat, originally llama.

Charquican – ground or diced meat cooked with garlic, onions, potatoes and pumpkin all mashed. It is a mushy dish but great.

Charquicán – Potato, pumpkin, mince, onion, carrot sometimes with peas and corn (both optional) all mashed together.

Chicharrón de papa: Pieces of meat and fat from llama and lamb, boiled and then fried . Served with potatoes, salad, or consumed as a snack by farmers and peasants.

Chochoca: Also known as chochoyeco, trotroyeco or trutru, this is a traditional Chilote dish prepared with raw squeezed potatoes and boiled mashed potatoes or flour, stuck to a pole and roasted in a fireplace.

Chorrillana: a typical Chilean dish consisting of a plate of french fries topped with beef sliced into strips, eggs, fried onions and occasionally sausages.

Chupe de Locos – abalone bread pudding.

Chupe de Locos: A rich stew made with the loco or Chilean abalone, served with bread and baked in clay pots or “Paila de greda”

Conchas de camarones: Prawns, leeks, cheese, milk and other ingredients form a mix that is served in oyster shells.

Congrio Frito – deep-fried conger eel.

Cordero al palo: Another characteristic dish of the southern regions – a lamb roasted on a stake over a bonfire. In the northern regions, similar dishes are prepared but with young goats, called cabritos.

Corvina al horno: A whole corvina (saltwater fish) stuffed with cheese, tomatoes and longaniza (sausage), baked.

Costillar de Chancho – baked spare (pork) ribs.

Crudos: Crudos (Spanish for “raw”) is a typical German-Chilean dish similar to a steak tartare.

Curanto: A traditional preparation where seafood and meat is cooked in a big hole in the ground using heated stones.

Curanto en Hoyo – a typical dish from the south of Chile. Traditionally prepared by heating fish, seafood, potatoes, some meat, milcaos and types of bread over red hot rocks in a hole in the ground. The food is wrapped in big leaves and then covered with dirt so that it slowly cooks over a number of hours. (Similar to a hangi in New Zealand). On Easter Island it is called Umu Pae.

Curanto en Olla – same ingredients as the curanto en hoyo only that it is cooked in a pot instead of under the ground.

Empanada de Pino – typical turnover (pastry) filled with diced meat, onions, olive, raisins and a piece of hard-boiled egg, baked in earthen or plain oven.

Empanada de Queso – typical turnover filled with cheese.

Ensalada de apio: Celery salad, with the celery peeled chopped and seasoned with lemon, salt and olive oil. It can also contain boiled eggs.

Ensalada a la Chilena – sliced tomatoes and onions with an oil dressing.

Ensalada chilena nortina: Onions and tomatoes prepared a la Julienne. It is similar to the basic Ensalada Chilena with the addition of goat cheese and olives.

Ensalada de Quinoa: Quinoa salad comprising quinoa and other vegetables.

Erizos con salsa verde: Sea urchin is very abundant in the Chilean seas, but its extraction is limited by the government to certain times of year only. It is often eaten raw with a little lemon, coriander or parsley, and onion, as an appetizer.

Estofado de chancho: Pork stew.

Estofado de cordero: Lamb Stew.

Guatitas: A stew of cow stomach (guatita means “tummy”).

Hallulla: a flat round bread baked with vegetable (but sometimes also animal) shortening and is used for several traditional Chilean sandwiches.

Humitas – boiled corn leaf rolls filled with seasoned ground corn, similar to Mexican tamales.

Jaibas Rellenas: stuffed crabs

Jurel (kind of kingfish): Eaten in salad or as a cheaper substitute for tuna.

Locos con Mayonesa:, accompanied usually with lettuce and potato salad.

Machas a la Parmesana – parmesan cheese raisor clams.

Mariscal – cold soup with all kinds of raw seafood.

Merkén: a traditional Mapuche condiment, made with dried and smoked red chillis and coriander, ground to a fine powder. It is used to season all kinds of dishes.

Milcaos – grated raw potato squeezed until dry then added to minced cooked potatoes and flattened to a bread-like form then baked or fried. This is one of the ingredients that can be found in a typical curanto.

Milcao: The dish is a type of potato pancake prepared with raw grated potatoes and cooked mashed potatoes mixed with other ingredients.

Niños envueltos (literally, “wrapped children”): This peculiarly-named dish contains vegetables and other ingredients wrapped in thin sliced beef.

Ostiones a la Parmesana – scallops on the shells in melted butter and covered with grilled Parmesan cheese.

Pantrucas: a type of dumpling or pasta made without eggs, cut in irregular pieces and later mixed with vegetable soup or beef stock.

Palta Reina – an avocado half which is filled with tuna fish or ham and covered with mayonnaise. It is served on lettuce leaves, normally as an entree.

Pan Amasado: a traditional type of bread, which has animal fat in it. It is kneaded for a long time to achieve a very dense type of bread

Parrillada – different kinds of meat, sausages and sometimes entrails grilled over charcoal and served with potato salad or rice.

Pastel de Choclo – a typical Chilean summer dish. Ground corn and meat, chopped onions small pieces of chicken, pieces of hard boiled egg, olive raisins – baked in clay or regular oven. Similar to a shepherd pie.

Pastel de choclo: a layered pie, usually made in a deep dish or a clay paila with chopped beef at the bottom prepared “al pino” (a thick stew of minced or chopped beef, chopped onions and seasoning), chicken, olives and a hard-boiled egg, topped with a mixture of ground fresh corn and basil, and baked in the oven.

Pastel de Jaiba – Chilean Crab Pie served in its own shell.

Pastel de papa: a pie made in layers, with minced beef in the bottom and mashed potatoes on top, similar to the English Cottage pie.

Patas de Chancho Rebozadas: Pork feet boiled with herbs, accompanied by pebre and bread.

Pebre – seasoning of tomatoes with chopped onion, chili, coriander, and chives. Usually served in a little clay dish.

Pernil – boiled whole hock (ham).

Pernil con papas cocidas: Roasted pork leg with boiled potatoes, and usually accompanied by sauerkraut.

Picante de conejo, cow stomach or chicken: Spicy dish of vegetables fried and stewed with meat of rabbit, chicken, or cow stomach. Hand crushed potatoes are added at the end.

Piure – Sea Squirts that are a dark red colour and with a very distinct strong flavour. Often eaten with diced onion, coriander and lemon. Best eaten near Chiloé.

Plateada con Quinoa: Literally “silver plated”. A cut of beef known in English as “Rib Cap” is cooked with quinoa, onions, garlic and white wine.

Pollo al Cognac: Chicken stew slowly cooked with plenty of cognac and white wine.

Pollo Arvejado – Chicken served with peas, onion and sliced carrots.

Porotos Granados – fresh bean dish with ground corn and pieces of pumpkin served hot.

Porotos granados: a stew of fresh white beans, ground choclo and other vegetables.

Prietas – Blood sausages.

Pulmay: A kind of curanto, cooked in a big casserole dish instead of a hole.

Risotto de quinoa y pimientos amarillos: Quinoa risotto with yellow peppers.

Sango: A kind of bread made from wheat flour cooked with oil and salt; served with Chicharrones

Sopa chilota de pescado seco: Dried fish soup.

Sopa de Ostras: Oyster soup

Sopaipilla – a flat circular deep fried ‘bread’ made of pumpkin and flour.

Tapapecho a la cacerola: Tapapecho casserole, similar to spare ribs; also known as Pescetto.

Timbal de quinoa: A mix of quinoa, avocado and other ingredients; served shaped like atimbal drum.

Tomates rellenos: Stuffed tomatoes, generally filled with sweetcorn, mayonnaise, and other ingredients.

Tomaticán: a thick vegetable stew, similar to Charquican but with tomatoes.

Tortilla de mariscos: A kind of omelette of beaten eggs fried with seafood and chorizo, similar to prawn tortilla from Spain.

Valdiviano: One of the oldest dishes in Chilean cuisine and named after the conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, this soup made of jerky, onions and potatoes was one of the dishes eaten by the conquering Spanish troops.

Chilean Sandwiches

Aliado – ham and cheese sandwich.

Ave Mayo – diced chicken meat and mayonnaise.

Ave Palta – diced chicken meat and mashed avocado.

Ave Pimienta – diced chicken meat and red pepper.

Barros Jarpa – grilled cheese and ham on white bun.

Barros Luco – grilled cheese and meat on white bread.

Chacarero – sliced meat, green beans, chili and tomatoes.

Churrasco – beef sandwich.

Churrasco con Tomate – thin sliced meat and slices of tomato on white bun.

Churrasco con Palta – thin sliced meat, mashed avocado on white bun.

Completo – hot dog with all kinds of trimmings: mayonnaise, tomatoes, onions, dilled pickles sauerkraut, etc.

Especial – hot dog with tomatoes.

Italiano – hot dog with avocado, tomatoes and mayonnaise.

Hamburguesa – hamburger patty. It isn’t always served between buns.

Lomito Completo – sliced pork meat with sauerkraut, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup.

Pan Amasado – homemade bread.

Piñera Sandwich – Salmon, Arugula (rocket) and cream cheese.

Chilean Desserts (and sweet things)

Alfajor – a flat round pastry (almos like two biscuits together) filled with manjar and covered in Chocolate

Arroz con Leche – Rice pudding (literally rice with milk)

Bavarois de Lucuma – bavarois (type of custard) of a variety of eggfruit

Berlin – a round donut filled with manjar or jam / jelly

Brazo de Reina: a classic Swiss Roll, usually filled with strawberry jam, raspberry jam or manjar (Chilean dulce de leche), and topped with chocolate swirls or icing sugar.

Calzones Rotos – literally translated as “broken underwear”, it is a sweet, soft dough that is twisted and then fried. Sometimes icing sugar is sprinkled on top.

Chumbeque – A traditional sweet from Iquique.

Kuchen – a German fruit flan often found in the South of Chile

Leche Asada – A milk flan. A baked milk dessert with caramel, similar to the original panna cotta made with eggs instead of gelatine, as it is made in most places today.

Manjar – a brown spread or cake filling made from boiled milk and sugar. Some visitors say it tastes like caramel. Manjar is quite sweet and is used in many cakes and sweet dishes.

Mote con Huesillo – cooked dried peaches and stewed corn or wheat served as a drink

Pan de Pascua – similar to a sweet sponge cake flavoured with ginger, cinnamon, liquor and honey. It usually contains candied fruits, raisins, walnuts and almonds.

Papaya con Crema – preserved papaya with whipped cream.

Sopaipillas Pasadas – sopaipillas are immersed in a warm sauce that contains water, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and orange rind.

Tortilla de rescoldo: a traditional Chilean unleavened bread prepared by rural travellers. It consists of a wheat flour based bread, traditionally baked in the coals of a campfire.