Chile has a distinctive cuisine. Both European and indigenous traditions have prominently influenced modern Chilean food. Chile is known for its fantastic seafood, grilled meats (think Patagonia), stews and pasteles, empanadas, corn, beans, potatoes, native tropical fruit (lucuma and chirimoya), pisco, and excellent wines.
To a casual observer, Chilean food might seem similar to Peruvian food. Though the two countries do share similar growing climates and geography, Chilean cuisine has evolved separately and is quite unique. Peruvian food may enjoy a certain trendiness right now, but Chilean cuisine has much to offer.
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Chilean Appetizers, Snacks, and Street Food
The empanada, which is a pastry filled with pino (a combination of stewed beef and onion) or queso (cheese) is a classic Chilean appetizer, snack, and street food. Followed closely in popularity are all types of tamales, and sandwiches like the palta, tomate y palmito made with avocado, tomato, and hearts of palm.
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Chilean Breads and Sandwiches
When you walk into a bakery in Chile, you probably would be surprised by the strange shapes and the fact that you serve yourself and pay by weight. Chile's bread is considered some of the best in the world having been influenced by French, Spanish, and German colonizers.
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Chilean Salads, Sides, and Salsas
Chilean salads, sides, and salads are made with fresh vegetables and fruits. Some are spicy, some are salty and yet others are sweet. The most popular Chilean salad is ensalada chilena made with sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, vinegar, oil dressing, cilantro, and salt.
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Chilean Main Courses
Lunch is typically the biggest meal of the day, and two main dishes are often served. In small towns, businesses close for almost three hours so people can go home and eat this large meal with their families and take a siesta (nap).
A traditional Chilean meal might consist of pastel de choclo, a "pie" made with corn, vegetables, chicken, and beef, and served with ensalada chilena (see above).Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Some of the most popular Chilean desserts and pastries are jelly-filled doughnuts, liquor-filled pastries, horn-shaped flaky pastries, fried pastries, rolled crepes, sopaipillas (fried dough) and churros (fried doughnut sticks). Many desserts have been influenced by Spanish and European specialties.