Chilean cuisine

Chilean cuisine, . Chile is a unique country for its variety of climates, landscapes, and especially people. All this is reflected in its cuisine, made mainly from meat , poultry , fish , seafood , fruits and vegetables . Where you can not miss the empanadas, humitas, pastel del choclo, poultry casserole, steak a lo poor, caldillo de congrio, machas soup, baked fish, carbonada, always accompanied by bread fresh from the oven and a glass of wine .


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  • 1 History
  • 2 Variety
  • 3 Original crops and popular products
    • 1 Marine Products
  • 4 Baking
  • 5 Fast cooking
  • 6 Drinks
  • 7 Source


When the conquerors arrived at the command of Pedro de Valdivia, they established the bases of the future Creole diet; Among the products they brought are wheat , pigs , chickens , cattle, and sheep. The Mapuches also bequeathed their agricultural products, providing potatoes , corn (corn) and beans (beans). These base ingredients were mixed and so on; gave rise to the most typical dishes of Chile. According to historians, the menu during the Colony was very nutritious. The first dish was called “of residence”, which could be meat, poultry or fish. Then they continued with “the hearty stew” preferably made with corn and potatoes. At the beginning of the colony, humitas, chuchoca, pilco and locro began to be well known. Also in the neighborhood, a fondness for seaweeds such as cochayuyo and luche was born, served with hard-boiled eggs. The bread was of three kinds: tortilla de rescoldo, Spanish bread with a lot of fat and crumbs, and Chilean bread, crushed and “cascarudo”. At the end, fruit, especially custard apples, strawberries and lucumas were served for dessert. the lunch and food ended with grass water, which could be paico for empacho and intestinal problems. In the 17th century, the nuns gave a great boost to Chilean cuisine. Hence the expression “Made with a nun’s hand”, to express that it is an exquisite delicacy.

In the same century, turkey and goose arrived in Chile from Mexico . Of Jamaica watermelons and melons written. Fish and shellfish acquired first and last names; the Pejerrey de Aculeo, the Tollo and the Lobster by Juan Fernández, the Erizos de Papudo, among others. Chocolate and mate were the most popular drinks.

Chilean cuisine began to acquire refinement in the mid- eighteenth century , the time of festivals and parties, and the tables began to be elegantly decorated for lunch and dinner. Regional products endowed Creole chefs with appetizing curiosities. Warp your cakes. La Serena, the stuffed turkey. Chanco, its cheeses and Chiloé its curanto. However, the village food was different from those served at the aristocratic tables. The first was made of flour, charqui and beans with salt and dried pepper. On holidays the menu varied. Roast meat on the stick, gutta, carbonada, casserole, mote, fried fish, suck, empanadas and sopaipillas.

Then came the country, tea and coffee that left behind the habit of drinking mate. Chilean wines became famous and the Chilean people became fond of grape chicha.

Chilean cuisine acquires a physiognomy defined during the Old and New Homelands. From the date that marks the beginning of the independence of Spain , on September 18 , 1810 , the Creole tables began to celebrate the event with empanadas, chicha and red wine. The beef broth with chili pepper , thickened with chuchoca, becomes a traditional delicacy from the fields of the Chilean Central Valley.

The menu becomes extensive and varied. Salty pork, mixed with potatoes , onions, cabbages and peas. The town is fond of stew and charquicán and for dessert, melons, wine and watermelon. In the New Homeland, winters are sweetened with picarones. At the beginning of the Portalian era, the gastronomy tried in colonial times is already assimilated by the people. The rolled dish reaches a hierarchy of typical dishes, meat cooked in pieces, scrambled with eggs and wrapped in malay or pig leather. Other favorite dishes of those times were huañaca, beef fat with toasted flour, egg onion, miltrines or rigging, roasted potatoes, pebre of raw onions and tomatoes, pantrucas, mote stew and false locro . In drink, Ulpo gained popularity, along with the glorious or cordial, hot water with burnt sugar.

During the 20th century , a characteristic “Chilean fast food” has also been developed, such as the famous Barros Luco and Barros Jarpa, both of which take their names from former presidents of the country; In addition to the hot-dog varieties such as the complete one, made with American sauce or sauerkraut, tomato and mayonnaise, the Italian that is named after the colors of the flag of that country made with tomato, mayonnaise and avocado and the Ace, which It is a kind of hot-dog but with grilled loin meat instead of sausages.

The Creole culinary tradition was passed down from generation to generation through family tradition and recipes kept in notebooks or cards, which remained for years as a secret of the different families, until someone decided to publish them as a recipe book. Indeed, in the mid- nineteenth century , printing presses received handwritten recipes from old families or nunneries, which over time became a tradition that remains almost intact today.

History indicates that in the mid- nineteenth century , several recipe book prints emerged in Santiago and Valparaíso , highlighting The Book of Families, a series of publications containing manuals on cooking, home economics, pastry, confectionery and two curious manuals on health and laundry.

At the beginning of the 20th century , the Encyclopedia of the home of Tía Pepa, by the Chilean Rafael Egaña, the recipe book La Negrita Doddy and The newest manual of the Chilean practical cook, were successful and numerous reissues. Better still was the book 365 recipes of practical cooking. One for each day, compiled and signed by María Cinderella, which had reissues until the 1960s . Likewise, in this first third of the century, Lucía Vergara de Smith emerged with the publication of several recipe books, among which her Manual of Chilean Vegetarian Cuisine stands out.

In the 1930s , two new publications were printed ending with the traditional booklet-type recipe book and large format, impeccable edition books began to appear, where refinement and French cuisine were presented as privileged aspects of both publications. The first, by the well-known writer Marta Brunet, La hermanita hormiga: treatise on culinary art: recipes for stews, sweets, menus, etc .: instructions for the proper arrangement of the table with illustrations from 1931 ; and the second, in 1935 La Buena Mesa by Olga Budge, who had lived for long periods in Europe in the company of her husband, Agustín Edwards. At the middle of the century, an interesting brochure appeared that recounted the recipes of one of the most famous Santiago diners: Famous recipes at the Hotel Crillón, an eccentric place where the influence of French cuisine marked its apogee in mid- century Chilean cuisine. XX .


Product of the extensive geography of Chile , the recipes are very varied in the north, center and south, for receiving the contribution of the different aborigines throughout the country, their different customs and products; fish, seafood, meat and poultry with different preparations and seasonings, go hand in hand with the foreign influence that has originated a wide range of desserts and drinks. A product in which Chilean cuisine has known how to get the most out of it and use it in multiple dishes is nothing less than the precious corn or corn as it is known in Chile.

Original crops and popular products

Throughout Chile you can see fruits and vegetables grown since ancient times, as well as in other sectors of South America. They stand out in recipes, as in important export businesses. Among the best known are the following:

  • Olives : Although the olive tree comes from Europe, Azapa olives are considered a variety of Chilean origin, and are famous throughout the country.
  • Seviche: This characteristic dish of the Latin American countries of the Pacific coast, especially Peru , had been scarcely consumed since the beginning of the country, but in the 20th century its consumption took a lot of strength, especially in northern gastronomy. The name Seviche comes from the English “Sail Fish”.
  • Custard apple: Chile is the one that has made the most progress in understanding the behavior of custard apple, in addition to being by far one of the countries where it is consumed the most.
  • Choclo: This cereal planted by the three great empires of pre-Columbian America (Mayan, Aztec and Inca empires), was also cultivated in the terraced systems of the Atacameños and by commercial exchanges between the towns it spread south until reaching be known and cultivated by the Mapuche-Huilliche.
  • Lúcuma: It is a tree native to Bolivia , Chile and Peru . Its first crops extended from La Serena to Quillota, but currently it is grown from the Azapa Valley to Santiago. It is mainly applied in confectionery and ice cream.
  • Murta or murtilla: This exquisite fruit, collected by the Mapuche people since before the arrival of the Spanish, has a precious value in the area of ​​gastronomy, mainly for making jam and a liqueur (murtado or enmutillado).
  • Avocado: Different types of avocado have been cultivated in Chile since pre-Columbian times; the black peel avocado is of Chilean net origin, which was grown in Quillota and the Maipo Valley. Chile is the world’s third largest avocado producer after the United States and Mexico .
  • Potato : It is a very important ingredient in the different types of Chilean casserole. In Chile the most important center of origin is the Archipelago of Chiloé and the gastronomy of that area has it as a fundamental part of almost all its dishes.
  • Fish and shellfish: Throughout Chile there are thousands of species. Only on the coast of La Serena and Coquimbo is a great variety of fish species found; in the consumption of shellfish, hedgehogs and picorocos (barnacles), both are practically foreign to the cuisine of almost all other nations and that in the future may become new proposals in the foreign market. Other important cases are covered by the presence of Juan Fernández lobsters (prepared under the name “Perol de Langosta”), spider crab, mussels, southern krill, etc. In the south are the giant oysters, the razor clams and the Chiloé huepo. In short, the Chilean sea gives a wide quality and variety of marine products to national gastronomy.
  • Quínoa: Cereal originating in the Andes Mountains, in Chile it was cultivated mainly by the Atacameños; they contributed the different varieties of this product to the cuisine of the Norte Grande of Chile.

Sea products

A characteristic element of the Chilean culinary field is the variety and quality of fish and seafood , favored by the geographical situation in which the country is located.

Among other products are octopus , sole , albacore , cod , cochayuyo , hake , corvina, palometa , ray, grouper and tuna .

The red, black or golden congri is eaten fried, baked, or in a stew, known as caldillo de congrio, which deserved an ode from the Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda .

The Humboldt Current brings to the supply of seafood is very ample and qualified like fish: crazy or marine ears, prawns, scallops, shrimp, sea urchins, clams (clams), crabs giant, crab, shrimp , oysters , lobsters , Barnacles, itching, even eels that are similar to whitebait. Throughout Chile there are thousands of species. Only on the coast of La Serena (Chile)and Coquimbo]] there is a great variety of fish species; in the consumption of shellfish, hedgehogs and picorocos (barnacles), both are practically foreign to the cuisine of almost all other nations, products that in the future could become new proposals in the foreign market. Other important cases are covered by the presence of Juan Fernández lobsters (prepared under the name of “lobster basin”), spider crab, mussel, southern krill, etc.

In the south are the giant oysters, the razor clams and the Chiloé huepo. In short, the Chilean sea gives a wide quality and variety of marine products to the national gastronomy and to the foreign market, since Chile is one of the main exporting countries in the world for seafood, occupying the second place in the world for the export of fishmeal and the first in the export of high-quality and pollution-free salmon (30% of the world market), surpassing Norway in 2006; currently an important source of wealth for exports to Japan , the United States , even Europe ; likewise, trout farming is important.

Cake shop

In the 17th century , the nuns gave a great boost to the Chilean colonial pastry, and from there comes the expression, valid until today, “made with nun’s hand”, to say that a dessert is exquisite.

It was a prodigal time in this previously unknown culinary facet. The nuns imitated, with almonds and pastries, from the most delicate sweets to natural fruits, table services, glasses and even napkins. These imitations were called “counterfeits” of the nuns, becoming so perfect that many times they led to deception.

Other desserts are the alfajor , the quince jelly, the peaches of the virgin, the delicacy, the substances, among many others, and were the typical gifts of colonial Christmases.

Also the Spanish influence of the Judeo-Moorish pastry marked its gastronomic heritage with recipes such as alfajores, papaya or pineapple lodges, compotes and fruits in syrup made with native fruits, mol egg, delicacy, not to mention the fruits of skillet like fritters and picarones.

Other well-known and widely consumed sweets are the arm of the queen, the chumbeque, the churros, the cuchuflíes, the sweets from La Ligua, the sweet empanadas, the powders, the roasted milk, the Easter bread, the latter especially in Christmas time, and the cakes curicanas.

Fast food

During the 20th century , a characteristic “Chilean fast food” was developed, a type of food that is traditionally sold in small food outlets called soda fountains or in street vendors.

Among the oldest sandwiches are the two most famous, known by the names of two different Chilean politicians, a former minister and a former president:

  • Barros Jarpa, consisting of a melted cheese and ham sandwich, and
  • Barros Luco, which, unlike the previous one, has melted cheese and grilled meat.

Another dish of this type is grilled chicken, known in Chile since ancient times as “chicken Spiedo”, which is very popular for its quick way of acquiring it.

Others, such as the broken calzones, the cheese empanadas, the candied apples , the bread with chicharrones, the picarones and the sopaipillas, and the sandwich , colloquially «sánguche», of potito, traditionally sold at the exit of the parties of soccer. All of them are traditionally sold on the street as a street vendor.

This type of food, especially that sold on the street, is frequently consumed by a large part of the people, due to its low prices and the lack of time to cook at home; However, since they are foods high in fat and carbohydrates, they have caused an increase in obesity in Chilean society, a health problem that is affecting more people every day.


In Chile, the traditional drinks are chicha, Chilean pisco and wine . The latter is the main alcoholic drink, mainly in its Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménere, Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc strains, and is known worldwide for its aroma, quality and body, which has led it to obtain several world awards. Among the national alcoholic beverages are:

  • The monkey tail, especially at Christmas time,
  • The jote,
  • The aviary,
  • The piscola, also called “national combined”, which has February 8 as its day of commemoration,
  • Pisco sour,
  • The culén punch ,
  • The fruit punch, mix of wine and seasonal fruit (custard apples, peaches or strawberries). In the case of the mixture of wine with strawberries, the mixture with red wine is called burgundy and the mixture with white wine is called clery,
  • He will be free,
  • Earthquake,
  • The Chilean pod.
  • Melon with wine, which has its national day on February 15.

In the north there is a variety of drinks (such as mango and papaya sour appetizers) and smoothies (guava, mango and passion fruit, among others) based on tropical fruits. There are also non-alcoholic sweet drinks for popular consumption, such as the typical mote con huesillo, the pineapple smoothie, the sweet potatoes in syrup, fruit salad, banana with milk and fruit punch.


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