Our 20 favorite Chilean culinary specialties

Le Caldillo de congrio

Get your taste buds ready for a trip to Chile! Here are our top 20 Chilean culinary specialties.

For some, the desire to travel lies in the temptation to discover new landscapes, populations with little-known customs, architecture dating back centuries, and to accumulate as many photos of the world as possible…

For others, a good reason to travel is to learn a new musical culture, hunt out local artists and perfect their playlists. Finally, for gourmets, travel is above all an opportunity to awaken your taste buds! Taste new combinations of products, discover the typical dishes of each country…

For all these reasons, Generation Voyage now offers you our top photos and culinary specialities for a wide range of destinations!

Today, we’re heading for South America on a journey to discover Chile’s culinary specialties. From the traditional curanto al hoyo to the Pisco aperitif, Chile has something for every taste bud…

Buen provecho!

Feeling hungry?

1. Le completo

Le completo

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Larisa Blinova

Let’s begin our culinary journey in Chile with a gourmet amuse bouche: the Completo. This Chilean-style hot dog, even bigger than the original, is a very popular and typical Chilean sandwich.

Although there are several variations, Completo is generally made up of a long loaf of bread topped with sausage, avocado, tomatoes and various sauces: an exquisite and surprising combination. For a taste of this specialty, head for the carritos around the corner!

2. Empanadas

Les empanadas

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Larisa Blinova

How can you describe Chile’s culinary specialties without mentioning its famous Empanadas? A must-try, these gourmet turnovers are adored throughout the country and Latin America in general.

Although they originated inSpain, Empanadas are adapted to each country with their own variation. Often stuffed with meat, they can also be served with vegetables, melted cheese, seafood or spices. A pleasure to indulge in at any time of day!

3. Humita


Photo credit: Shutterstock – Larisa Blinova

Equally popular in Peru, Argentina and Ecuador, Humita is presented as a small gift-wrapped dish. Composed of a few vegetables, corn and cheese, the preparation is then wrapped and cooked in a papillote in the corn leaves. A great little package, nutritious and economical!

4. Chapalele


Photo credit: Flickr – Rosario Lizana

Chapalele is a Chilean culinary speciality that can be eaten savoury or sweet. Its origins lie in the traditional cuisine of Chiloé.

Made from wheat flour and potatoes, these delicacies take the form of small dumplings. The savoury version is usually served with the traditional Curanto, while the sweet version can be enjoyed as a snack. You simply can’t miss them!

5. Machas à la parmesana

Machas à la parmesana

Photo credit: Shutterstock – MAV Drone

For seafood lovers, this speciality of Chilean gastronomy will be your ideal snack!

Originating in Viña del Mar, this preparation of clams cooked in white wine is a simple, gourmet recipe. Finally, it’s baked in the oven with cheese on top: meltingly tasty!

6. The pebre

Le pebre

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Nadile Parse

A tasty, fresh little sauce, Pebre is the Chilean aperitif par excellence. In fact, it can be found everywhere, from the cheapest restaurant to the most luxurious, as a perfect start to a meal or as an accompaniment to a barbecue.

Made with coriander, garlic, onion, chilli and tomato, this little sauce is served with bread, on which a touch of butter is spread. Simple and delicious, this recipe is an essential Chilean culinary specialty!

Main courses

7. La cazuela

La cazuela

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Katarzyna Hurova

Typical of Chile, but also popular in Argentina, Cazuela is a kind of stew that can be compared to our pot-au-feu.

Tasty and comforting, this traditional dish is made from beef or chicken, simmered with a variety of vegetables. In Chile, Cazuela de Pollo is the most common chicken dish. This authentic family recipe can be enjoyed all year round.

8. Curanto al hoyo

Curanto al hoyo

Photo credit: Shutterstock – MaxMaximovPhotography

A traditional meal from the island of Chiloé, Curanto al hoyo is much more than a Chilean culinary specialty – it’s a real celebration dish!

Curanto is traditionally prepared in a hole dug in the ground. Then, stones heated by a wood fire are used to cook an assortment of seafood, meats and vegetables. The whole dish is covered with nalca leaves, for a uniquely fragrant finish.

The name « Curanto » comes from the word curantû, which means « heated stone » in the Mapuche language. But rest assured, this dish can be simplified and cooked at home, in a large casserole dish.

9. Pastel de choclo

Le pastel de choclo

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Larisa Blinova

Influenced by the Spanish shepherd’s pie, Pastel de Choclo is a recipe skilfully revisited by Chilean chefs. The potatoes have been replaced by corn polenta.

Traditionally prepared in an earthenware bowl, Pastel de Choclo is made with meat, onions, salt, pepper and cumin. It is then browned in the oven. Finally, hard-boiled eggs, olives or pieces of chicken are sometimes added at the end of cooking. The result: a hearty, gourmet gratin!

10. The charquicán

Le charquicán

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Fanfo

Traditionally prepared by the indigenous Mapuche people, Charquicán is a Chilean culinary specialty that resembles a stew. It consists of meat, potatoes, green beans and corn kernels. It may also contain tomato and crumbled coca leaves. A comforting blend, ideal for warming up on a wintry evening!

11. Ceviche

Le ceviche

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Larisa Blinova

South America’s most famous dish, ceviche! While Chile and Peru battle over the very origin of the dish, the recipe remains the same: a mixture of fresh fish marinated in lemon, enhanced with various ingredients such as onion or coriander.

All in all, a fresh, easy-to-make dish. But it’s even better eaten on the terrace of a traditional seaside restaurant!

12. The Caldillo de congrio

Le Caldillo de congrio

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Larisa Blinova

Very popular throughout the country, Caldillo de Congrio is a kind of Chilean bouillabaisse. This stew is made from fish, simmered with small vegetables. Finally, a touch of white wine gives it its delicious taste.

A little sweetness

13. La Leche Asada

La Leche Asada

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Anna Alferova

Chile’s culinary specialties will also delight the taste buds of those with a sweet tooth. Let’s start with Leche Asada, a typical Chilean dessert par excellence. This caramelized flan, flavored with cinnamon and citrus, is one of Chile’s most popular desserts. A simple recipe that couldn’t be creamier!

14. The manjar

Le manjar

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Gabriel Paz

Dulce de Leche may be taking Argentina by storm, but Chile hasn’t said its last word. Chileans love this famous milk jam, known locally as Manjar.

This delicacy is made with milk, sugar and vanilla, for a creamy caramel finish. As well as being eaten by the spoonful or on bread in the morning, it can also be found in many dessert and cake recipes, such as the famous Alfajor. A must-have sweet if you’re visiting Chile!

15. Pan de Pascua

Pan de Pascua

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ildi Papp

Delicious and comforting, Pan de Pascua is a subtle blend of candied fruit, raisins, walnuts, honey and sometimes ginger. More than just a cake, it’s a custom shared with family and loved ones over the festive season.

Originating in Germany, the tradition of Christmas bread has since spread throughout the world. Today, its ancestral origins are the delight of Chileans and travelers who decide to spend the Christmas holidays in Chile.

16. Calzones Rotos

Calzones Rotos

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ildi Papp

A typical Chilean sweet, Calzones Rotos are, in a way, the most successful cookies made by Chilean grandmothers!

These traditional little doughnuts are first fried, then covered in powdered sugar; a delicacy that delights young and old alike. While they can be eaten at any time of day, they’re even better by the fire after a day of exploring Patagonia’s natural wonders.

Typical drinks

17. Le mote con huesillo

Le mote con huesillo

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Larisa Blinova

With a consistency on the borderline between drink and dessert, Mote con Huesillo is a Chilean culinary specialty par excellence. And with good reason: you can’t taste this sweetness anywhere else but in Chile.

A refreshing summer drink, Mote con Huesillo is made with peaches and wheat. Traditionally, dried peaches are rehydrated overnight and then cooked for around 30 minutes in sweet water, sometimes with cinnamon.

All served in a tall, chilled glass with a spoon to mix peaches, juice and mote (cooked wheat). An ideal refreshment on a sunny day, it can be found on streets all over the country, sold at small stalls run by street vendors. In short, a sweet you won’t want to miss on your trip to Chile!

18. Cola de mono

Cola de mono

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Rimma Bondarenko

Literally translated as « monkey’s tail », Cola de Mono is a typically Chilean cocktail made with brandy, coffee, milk, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon and sugar. For a taste of this gourmet and surprising blend, head to Chile during the festive season.

Indeed, Cola de Mono is a sweet that’s best enjoyed over Christmas and New Year. Perfect with a slice of Pan de Pascua, this cocktail is served well chilled. Because at this time of year, unlike in France, it’s the heat that counts in Chile!

19. Pisco sour

Le pisco sour

Photo credit: Shutterstock – BlkG

Cola de Mono may only be enjoyed during the festive season, but don’t panic: Pisco Sour is faithful and present all year round! In a way, it’s Chile’s national cocktail, although Peru also lays claim to it.

This festive drink is made with Pisco, the very name of the spirit it’s made with. Pisco is a grape-based brandy with an alcohol content ranging from 30° to 45°. Next, the « Sour » is added to the Pisco, i.e. a dose of lemon juice, followed by 2 teaspoons of cane syrup and a finger of beaten egg white. Finally, the whole is served on a bed of crushed ice.

To be consumed in moderation, Pisco Sour is the typical cocktail to try on your trip to Chile. However, other blends exist to vary the pleasures. Chileans love to add Coke to Pisco, a variant known as « Piscola ».

20. The terremoto

Le terremoto

Photo credit: Shutterstock – FCG

Let’s round off our selection of Chilean specialties with Terremoto, a cocktail that’s sure to please even the hungriest among us!

This alcoholic beverage is made with Pipeño, a fermented wine blend. Next, a scoop of pineapple sorbet is added. Finally, the preparation is finished off with grenadine syrup. It’s an explosive mix that reflects its very name. Indeed, Terremoto means « earthquake ».

Legend has it that the cocktail was invented in 1985, the year of a devastating earthquake. However, anyone who has tried this drink will tell you that the ground begins to shake underfoot once the liquid has been swallowed. All the more so as Terremoto is often ordered in a large decanter, to be transformed into « el cataclismo »…