local Chilean food

7 Must-Try Traditional Chilean Dishes

Chilean food is as rich and diverse as its landscape. Whether you’re on a city break in Santiago or trekking through the Chilean Patagonia, you’ll find that local dishes and traditional Chilean food is full of flavour and character.

The indigenous cuisine combined with centuries of Spanish influence has come together to create a unique table for anyone visiting Chile.

The Must-Try Traditional Chilean Food

1. Completo

Found on practically every street corner is this Chilean spin on a hotdog. Completos, (Spanish for “complete” or “total”) are huge, fully loaded hotdogs covered with mayo, tomato, onion, pickles and sauerkraut.

image: Pilar’s Chilean Food & Garden

2. Chilean Empanadas

These Patagonian sized turnovers are well worth a try when visiting Chile. Chilean empanadas are much bigger than traditional ones are halfmoon and past square-shaped. Be sure to try the seafood stuff empanadas. You won’t regret it.

image: Butterfield & Robinson

3. Pastel de Choclo

Corn and beef casserole in English, this Chilean dish is a Santiago favourite. This yummy casserole is packed with minced meat, garlic and corn. Can be found in practically any food market and is known for its sweet but garlicky flavour.

image: El Especiero de Patricia

4. Chacarero

This hearty Chilean sandwich is made with churrasco style steak and topped with tomatoes, green beans and chilli pepper. Arguably Chile’s most popular sandwich, it’s definitely worth a try when visiting.

5. Chilean Sopaipillas

Sopaipillas (or sopaipas) vary slightly throughout Latin America. Ground pumpkin is what sets apart the Chilean version. Enjoy them savoury with onions and garlic or sweet with hot syrup. Whether you’re looking for a tasty side dish or a sweet dessert, Chilean sopaipillas are a great choice.

local Chilean food

6. Patasca

Native to Northern Chile, this corn stew is a must-try. Its ancient roots make for a memorable dish any time of day. Traditionally made with corn, potatoes, onions, pork and beef, it’s a savoury and filling dish that can be a main course or a side.

local Chilean food

7. Cochayuyo

Last but not least is cochayuyo. This kelp dish is a real treat for foodies. Cochayuyo is briny seaweed that is typically sold in dry bundles at farmers markets. Allow it to soak and then spritz it with lemon for punch of flavour.

local Chilean food

Melanie Hamilton

Melanie is an avid traveller with a passion for history and global foods. She is currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia where most of her time is occupied with qvevri wine and Soviet history. Having do-si-do'd her way across Europe and Latin America, she's enjoyed some of the world's most exciting places firsthand and can't wait to tell you about them.

View stories