Friday, September 25, 2009

Eating Elsewhere: Chile, Part 1

Posted By on 09.25.09 at 03:26 PM

A few months ago I traveled to Argentina (see Eating Elsewhere: Argentina, Parts 1 and 2) and then to Santiago, Chile, where I'd lived for about two years starting in fall 2004. I don't have as many food pictures from this part of the trip, but I have more to say about the ones I have.

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Asados, or barbecues, are one of my favorite parts of life in Chile. There seems to be one every weekend, for any excuse at all, and they go on pretty much indefinitely. When I arrived in Santiago this time, the friend who picked me up at the airport informed me that we had an asado with his family to go to that afternoon. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

This is choripan, or at least the makings for it: chorizo and bread (marraquetas, a Chilean white bread that comes in four sections that you pull apart). Unlike Argentines, who usually add chimichurri sauce to their choripan, Chileans eat it without any sauce. To be honest, I like it better the Argentine way, though it's good without sauce too—it's hard to go too far wrong with chorizo and white bread.

Also pictured: wine and soda, essential for any asado (particularly the former). Wine is more popular here than beer, maybe because it’s cheap and good, whereas the beer is just cheap. (It’s possible to find good beer, but there isn’t a lot, and the concept of craft brewing definitely hasn’t caught on.)

I didn’t take pictures of the actual meal, but just imagine tons of chicken and steak, rice, tomato salad, cucumber salad. Oh, and mayonnaise. They put mayo on everything. And wine, which my friend’s grandmother kept trying to force on me along with more food: "Give the gringa more! She's too thin!" (In Chile, gringa isn’t derogatory, which is a good thing because it was practically my name—that's the only thing one of my roommates called me.) The grandmother was drinking jote, or red wine mixed with Coke. It’s a terrible thing to do to wine, but Chileans love it for some reason. Below is a photo I found from an asado I went to while I was living in Santiago (this is actually out in the country).

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Machas a la Parmesana, a classic Chilean dish of machas, a type of surf clam found off the coast of Chile and Peru, covered liberally with Parmesan cheese and butter and baked. The amount of cheese here is excessive even by Chilean standards, but you can just barely see the pink machas poking through on a couple.


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Pisco sour, another Chilean classic. This cocktail is made with pisco, sort of a grape brandy that originated in either Chile or Peru (depending on whom you believe), lemon juice, sugar, and egg white. It's another of my favorite things about Chile—and is much better than the ever-popular piscola (pisco plus cola, pronounced pees-coh'-la), which tastes like rum and Coke but sweeter. It's fine, but at this point I've had enough of it to last me for the rest of my life.


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Breakfast. I didn't eat ice cream for breakfast when I lived in Chile, but I wasn't on vacation then. This is from Emporio la Rosa, a cafe I used to live next to; it has great ice cream in unusual flavors like rose and chocolate cayenne. It's orange ginger on top and miel de palma on the bottom. Miel de palma is syrup made from palm sap, with the consistency of honey and a rich molasseslike flavor. Unlike maple syrup, it’s common in Chile (they don’t have pancakes there, and the one time I made them for a friend she insisted on putting ketchup on them).


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Fresh-squeezed orange juice from one of the city's many juice carts (this one was on the bridge across the river to Bellavista, a pretty and touristy little area with lots of shopping).

Up next: Part 2.

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