Between the fabled stone heads of Easter Island, the awe-inspiring glaciers and the sweepingly scenic fjords strung throughout the nation, Chile has much in the way of “Oh my God, look at that.” Even the cityscapes have a predisposition towards the magnificent — especially so with the capital, Santiago. Sprawling stretches of street art, opulent examples of neoclassical architecture and museums filled with priceless works of art are backdropped by snowcapped mountains; Santiago is a city pulsing with enchantment. Easily overlooked among all these sights is another sensory delight well worth discovering: the cuisine. Specifically, the street food of Santiago can hang with the best of them — New York, Mexico City, Hong Kong; Santiago proves just as unique and flavorful. For an idea of what the best street food in Santiago, Chile, entails — look no further.
It may seem unusual — reckless, even — to enjoy raw fish from a street vendor, but consider the locale: the entirety of the country is essentially just one coastline. Seafood is done exceptionally well here, and the street ceviche proves it. White fish, prawns and squid are “cooked” in a zesty concoction of citrus juices, and then oftentimes paired with savory soft-cooked sweet potato, sliced red onion and crunchy Chilean corn. The flavors and textures run the entire gamut of what food can be; the sum is somehow greater.
The distant cousin to the quintessential hot dog, completos (as in, “complete”) are a big deal — literally. The frankfurter sausage (and accompanying bun) tends to be several times larger than the American counterpart; but that’s just the start. Piled high on top of the sausage are generous helpings of chopped tomatoes, mashed avocado and drizzles of mayonnaise. This is just the standard: Depending on the vendor, you can opt into piling sauerkraut, fried onions, French fries or fried eggs on top of that!
When discussing the best street food in Santiago, empanadas may as well be Elvis: They are the undisputed King. Empanadas are near omnipresent in any and all food conversation taking place in South America; in Chile the empanadas are meal-sized, rather than snack-sized. The most traditional filling is a combination of ground beef, onions, raisins, olives and hard-boiled eggs, but with that being said: Make time to try an empanada de queso — it’s pure dairy decadence.
While the fresh juices of the city are legendary, the one drink you truly can’t miss is mote con huesillos. Dried peaches are soaked in nectar syrup (or sometimes, peach juice) before being mixed with fresh cracked wheat, water, cinnamon and dark brown sugar. A warm-weather treat, you’ll likely see everyone on the street enjoying one in the summer months — we highly recommend you follow suit.
Think we’ve painted a pretty picture by listing the best street food in Santiago, Chile? This isn’t even a corner of it. Chile is a country saturated with rich, fulfilling experiences — and our travel agents can help you make the most of it. Not only do they have a whole menu of insider tips and recommendations accrued from their years in the travel industry, but also their professional relationships with the leading names in travel — such as Viking — secure you sweet perks and exclusive amenities. Imagine savoring all of the above, as well as 16 other days brimming with discovery; with the help of Viking and our agents, it doesn’t have to be just a fantasy.