Hey everyone, I’ve had a lot of questions from friends and family asking about what type of food I’ve eaten here, and what some of the differences and similarities are between the food in Australia and the food in Belgium (to those who didn’t know I have two nationalities, and want to know more about me, check out my About Me post: http://zoeinchile.9685exchangeblogs.com/about-me/). So, I thought I might just write a few things about food and eating in Chile in general as well. Please keep in mind that nothing is good or bad, just different.
A regular day of eating in Chile looks something like this:
Desayuno (Breakfast): We normally eat breakfast somewhere between 10am-1pm, depending on when everyone gets up. It’s always white bread rolls that are toasted, and usually you can choose to have it with mantequilla (butter), queso (cheese), palta (smashed avocado), miel (honey), manjar (caramel/dulce de leche) or jamón (ham). Myself and my host mum normally have a little bowl of yoghurt vainilla con fruta (vanilla yoghurt with fruit – that one wasn’t too hard to translate), a lot of the time it’s with either arádnos (blueberries), demasco (peach) or frutilla (strawberries). To drink, there’s café descafeinado (decaf instant coffee), té (black tea) and leche blanco y le he chocolate (plain milk or choccy milk).
Almorzar (Lunch): We eat somewhere around 3-7pm, and normally it’s a hot meal or bread again, we only normally have one hot meal a day and then bread for the other two meals. There’s many different things we have for a hot meal, some of which include completos, empanadas, humidas, fajitas, zapillita italiano, chocle, cazuela y carbonada, and more, which I’ll go into more detail about later. There’s almost always some ají (green chili, prepared into a paste), with hot food, and it makes everything really spicy and I love it. To drink, normally it’s jugo de fruta (fruit juice, but they make it a lot differently, explain later), agua (water), or bebidas (soft drinks, usually coca cola or canada dry ginger ale).
Once (Dinner – but it’s more in between a snack and a full meal): Once (pronounces on-say, but with less of an Aussie accent I’m imagining you saying it with), is normally around 9pm-12am. Like I said before, as there’s only one hot meal a day, once is either bread or hot food, with most of the same options as before. With a bread meal, for once and almorzar, there isn’t any yoghurt, it’s just hot drinks and some bread and spreads. For once though, because it’s holidays and everyone is getting a big bored, of someone has holiday boredom baked, then there’s some delicious cupcakes or cookies as well. I made scones for my host family the other day, but I messed them up so I’m going to try again soon!
There are quite a few differences between what my family in Australia eats and what I eat here, but there’s also so many similarities as well. I’ve been told that Chilean’s eat so much bread, but between sandwiches for lunch as an Australia custom and sandwiches for breakfast as a Belgian custom, it’s still two meals a day of bread. Also, I’m still eating some of the same veggies and fruits, they are just prepared differently, so to me there actually isn’t too much of a difference.
There is a difference between the types of cuisines they have here in restaurants and going out to eat. In Australia, there’s a lot more of an asian influence in food, and so far I don’t think I’ve seen any Thai, Vietnamese or Korean restaurants here, only the single Chinese restaurant and a sushi place (but, I still disagree that it’s sushi, because here they roll up the sushi without seaweed and then put it in batter and fry it, and that’s what they call sushi – completely different than what it is in Australia).
In Chile, there’s much more of an influence from the United States, with so many more fast food restaurant chains that in Australia. Here they’ve got McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Cinnabon, Little Caesers Pizza, Papa Johns Pizza, Pizza Hut, Dominoes Pizza (a lot of pizza but we rarely eat it – very odd), Wendy’s, Subway, Taco Bell, In-N-Out Burger, Krispy Kreme, Johnny Rockets and so much more (if that list wasn’t enough already!). For both examples, the geographical location of both Australia and Chile definitely have something to do with the influence, but it has been a bit of a shock having a lot less delicious asian food (I! Miss! Bubble! Tea!) and a lot more American food, but at least it means I get to try some new stuff!
As for some Chilean/South American specific food, going out to a food market is quite a different experience, and definitely a more lively one! To get fruits and vegetables here, we go to la feria, which has lots of little stalls selling the freshest just-off-the-farm produce. All of the food is massive, think almost double the size watermelons, corn, avocados, anything you can think of. It’s very loud, with stakeholders yelling out prices and deals in little songs, and giving you little samples of the freshest fruits, and it smells so wonderful. For food otherwise, the same sort of street food type stalls are every where, selling everything from churros, to chocolate covered strawberries, cut up fruit, empanadas, humitas, cakes, papas fritas, and so much more. Everything is mostly pretty cheap as well, which is a pleasant surprise for me and my wallet.
I’ve mentioned some classic Chilean food so far and haven’t explained it, so I’ll go into a bit more detail now.
Completos: It’s a type of hotdog, but with so much more on it than the sausage sangas in Aus. Completo Italiano, for example, is a hot dog bun, with a sausage first, then tomato, cut up very finely, and smashed avo with salt on top, finished off with mayo and tomato sauce. Please, if you’re bored of making the same old food, try to make yourself a completo, they are delicious!
Empanadas: Kind of like a pie but more like a pastie. I’ve explained them before, but you usually get an empanada de queso, which is with cheese, or the Chilean specialty, empanada de pino, which has red meat, onion, egg, olives and mushrooms.
Humitas: I think it’s basically a corn slab, I really don’t know how to describe it or make it, but it’s like a little patty of corn that’s been mixed with something and shaped into a rectangle, and you cook it when it’s wrapped up in corn leaves.
Fajitas: Basically just Mexican wraps/burritos, but Chilean or something. Normally, you have it with carne o pollo (red meat or chicken), palta (avocado), queso (cheese), sour cream, lechuga (lettuce), mayo, tomato sauce, chocle (corn), and a stir fry of vegetables like mushrooms, onion and paprika.
Zapillita Italiano: A casserole-ish bakes dish, with broccoli, artichoke, cheese (i think), and other things I haven’t been able to identify (I promise it’s good though!).
Chocle: Techincally, ‘chocle’ is just the spanish word for corn, but here they have a lot of corn based dishes, or just meal times where everyone has one or two big cobs of corn for a meal, normally with mantiquilla (butter) and ají (green chili).
Cazuela y Carbonada: This is a very Chilean dish, it’s a watery soup type thing. It has whole pieces of pumpkin, carrot, onion and white beans, as well as a few noodles. It’s very good.
Lechuga ensalada: Salads in Chile are very easy, it’s just cut up lettuce with lemon juice, salt and olive oil.
Papas fritas: Hot chips, but normally with heaps toppings. Some versions include things like cut up sausage, egg, pulled beef, smashed avo, mayo, tomato sauce, and more.
Helados y dulces: Ice creams and sweets. I haven’t found any single ice cream or sweet that is exactly like or similar to what we have in Australia, other than basics like vanilla ice cream or global brands like KitKat. They have a lolly here that’s called ‘Suny’, and I have no idea hot to describe it accurately, it’s kind of like caramel but it’s not caramel. Jury’s still out on whether or not we like it.
Now, I’ve written way too much, and you’re tired of reading. If you made it this far, thank you for reading!! Have an amazing day!!