15 Chilean Dishes to Drool Over (& Where to Find Them)

There’s no better way to truly get to know a country than by savoring its cuisine. When we think back on our travels, the memories of new tastes and delightful aromas often stand out.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Chile and want to explore its rich culinary culture, here’s a list of intriguing Chilean dishes you absolutely must experience.

Dish #1. Completo: A Chilean Hot Dog Delight

While it may appear to be just a loaded hot dog, the completo holds a special place in the hearts of Chileans.

The original recipe includes a sausage nestled in a soft bun, topped with chopped tomatoes, americana sauce, sauerkraut, and mayonnaise. However, the most popular variation is the “Italian completo,” which adds avocado, reflecting the green, white, and red colors of the Italian flag. Chileans adore this creation so much that they even celebrate “Día del completo” every May 25th.

Where to Try It?
You can find completos almost anywhere in Chile, even from street vendors. While there are countless variations in terms of ingredients, prices, and shapes, the legend has it that the first Chilean completo was born in 1920 at Portal Fernández Concha, an establishment located near Plaza de Armas in Santiago. They may not be the fanciest, but they are undeniably delicious and budget-friendly.

Dish #2. Chorrillana: A Hearty Bar Snack

Chorrillana is the ultimate bar snack in Chile, featuring a generous serving of fries piled high with fried onions, chopped sausages, beef, and, to top it all off, a pair of fried eggs. This calorie-packed treat pairs perfectly with a cold beer. Remember, it’s designed to be shared, as the portion is quite substantial.

Where to Try It?
The chorrillana is said to have originated in Valparaíso, making it a must-try in local “picada porteña” (local hangouts) such as El Pimentón or J Cruz restaurants.

Dish #3. Milcao: A South Chilean Staple

Milcao hails from Chiloé, in the southern part of Chile. This dish is made from a mixture of mashed boiled potatoes, grated raw potatoes, lard, salt, and chopped pork skin. The resulting mixture is shaped into bread-like loaves and then either baked or fried. Milcao is often referred to as southern Chile’s bread and can be enjoyed plain or with other accompaniments.

Where to Try It?
To savor authentic milcao, head to Chiloé, preferably skipping the restaurants and buying it from local market vendors or home cooks. The Castro Market is a great place to find these and other traditional Chiloé dishes.

Dish #4. Curanto en Hoyo: A Traditional Mapuche Feast

Staying in Chiloé, curanto en hoyo is a traditional Mapuche feast that has adapted to the challenging weather conditions of the region. The traditional method involves digging a pit in the ground, heating stones and embers until they glow red, then arranging the ingredients in layers, including seafood, meat, vegetables, milcaos, and chapaleles, all covered with nalca leaves. Preparing curanto requires patience and experience.

Where to Try It?
Unless you have Chilote friends who can invite you to witness the ritual of cooking a “buried” curanto, you can order it at traditional cocinerías (small eateries) in Ancud, where it’s considered the most authentic, well-prepared, and budget-friendly.

Dish #5. Porotos con Riendas: A Hearty Countryside Dish

Porotos con riendas is a traditional Chilean countryside dish that combines beans, spaghetti, sausage, and squash. Originally, pig skin strips were used instead of spaghetti, hence the “reins” in the name. This dish originated during times of scarcity when every bit of the pig was utilized, and meals needed to be calorie-rich.

Where to Try It?
For an authentic porotos con riendas experience, head to Estación Central district near Santiago city center, where you’ll find El Palacio del Poroto con Riendas, a popular Chilean eatery offering this dish year-round.

Dish #6. Machas a la Parmesana: Seafood Delight with a Cheesy Twist

Machas a la parmesana may sound like an unusual combination of seafood and cheese, but the result is a delightful culinary creation. It’s a simple dish consisting of long hard clams that are opened and then topped with parmesan cheese and a dash of white wine before being baked.

The key to this Chilean dish is using fresh, high-quality ingredients.

Where to Try It?
For a sumptuous serving of parmesan clams, visit Ocean Pacific’s restaurant at Ricardo Cumming Street 221 in Santiago. The restaurant not only offers delicious parmesan clams but also an impressive nautical-themed ambiance. Fun fact: the owner is one of our trusted Airkeep hosts, so you can drop off your bags and enjoy this exquisite dish.

Dish #7. Mote con Huesillo: A Sweet Chilean Delight

Mote con huesillo is a beloved Chilean treat that’s often debated—is it a dessert or a beverage?

What’s indisputable is its deliciousness, especially on a scorching day. This refreshing delight features dehydrated peaches (huesillos) boiled with sugar, cinnamon, and spices, creating a sweet juice. Mote, a type of wheat, is then cooked in this sweet juice. It’s best served ice-cold and enjoyed with a spoon.

Where to Try It?
Mote con huesillo is commonly sold by street vendors, particularly in Santiago, but you can also find it at the beach during the summer. For an outstanding experience, visit El Rey del Mote Con Huesillo (The King of Mote con Huesillo) at General Rondizzoni 2420 in Santiago. You’ll be treated to generous portions and affordable prices.

Dish #8. Chumbeque: A Sweet Delicacy from Iquique

Chumbeque is a delectable three-layer biscuit filled with lemon or mango honey. Originating from Iquique in northern Chile, it was adapted from an old family recipe of Cantonese nougat brought to Chile during the nitrate boom. The biscuit combines these influences with the fruits of the Tarapacá region to create a unique, sweet delight.

Where to Try It?
Chumbeque can only be found in the north of Chile and is a registered trademark of “M. Koo Co.” While many imitations can be found throughout Chile, for the authentic taste, head to the store located at Eleuterio Ramírez 949 in Iquique.

Dish #9. Sopaipillas: Chile’s Beloved Fried Dough Snack

Sopaipillas are a beloved snack easily found anywhere in Chile. Simply put, they are fried dough in the form of bread, made with wheat flour, lard, and boiled squash.

Its most curious variation is the traditional “sopaipillas pasadas,” in which after being fried, the sopaipillas are dipped in a mixture of chancaca (unprocessed sugar cane), orange, cinnamon, and cloves, making them ideal for cold and rainy winter days.

Where to Try It?
To savor genuine sopaipillas, it’s best to ask a Chilean friend to make them at home. In Santiago, you’ll also find many new establishments that have added “sopaipillas pasadas” to their dessert menu. Two notable examples are Cafe de la Candelaria on Av. Italia and Rescoldo restaurant on Lastarria street. When ordering, be sure to ask if they were made with squash for an authentic taste.

Dish #10. Pastel de Choclo: The Corn Cake Sensation

A staple of Chilean cuisine, pastel de choclo is a savory dish made from tender corn ground into a puree and seasoned with fragrant herbs and spices like basil, cumin, and sweet paprika. This flavorful puree is spread on top of a pino, a mixture of chopped beef, onions, and garlic, along with olives, boiled eggs, and chicken. The dish is then baked until the top layer turns golden brown. The result is a delightful explosion of flavors.

Where to Try It?
Traditionally, pastel de choclo is served in individual clay bowls, known as “greda,” which are handmade in the small town of Pomaire, located about 50 kilometers west of Santiago. The town is renowned for expertly crafting these dishes. While you’ll find delicious versions in many local restaurants, some of the best are said to be at El Cototudo or Los Secretos de Anita in Pomaire.

Now that we’ve covered these ten delectable Chilean dishes, let’s delve into five more culinary delights that you won’t want to miss.

Dish #11. Cazuela: Chilean Comfort Food

Cazuela is a classic Chilean comfort food. It’s a hearty stew made with a variety of ingredients, including meat (usually beef or chicken), corn on the cob, rice, potatoes, and squash. This delicious dish is typically seasoned with paprika, cumin, and oregano, giving it a rich and comforting flavor. Cazuela is a beloved meal enjoyed by Chileans, particularly during the colder months.

Where to Try It?
You can find cazuela in traditional Chilean restaurants or at local family gatherings. It’s a dish that brings people together and warms the soul.

Dish #12. Empanadas: Chilean Handheld Delights

Empanadas are a staple of Chilean cuisine and come in various flavors and fillings. These savory pastries are often stuffed with ingredients like ground beef, onions, black olives, and hard-boiled eggs. One popular variation is the “pino” empanada, filled with a mixture of ground beef, onions, and other seasonings. Empanadas are a versatile and portable snack enjoyed across Chile.

Where to Try It?
You can find empanadas in local bakeries, street food vendors, and traditional Chilean restaurants. They’re perfect for a quick and satisfying meal on the go.

Dish #13. Charquicán: A Chilean Hash

Charquicán is a traditional Chilean dish that combines chopped and ground ingredients to create a hearty hash. It typically includes diced potatoes, pumpkin, corn, onions, and seasoned meat (often beef or chicken). The dish is known for its comforting and filling nature, making it a popular choice for family gatherings and special occasions.

Where to Try It?
Charquicán is often prepared at home, especially for Sunday family lunches. If you have the chance to dine with a Chilean family, you might be treated to a homemade charquicán.

Dish #14. Paila Marina: A Seafood Lover’s Delight

Paila Marina is a flavorful Chilean seafood stew that’s a must-try for seafood enthusiasts. It features an array of fresh seafood, such as fish, shrimp, mussels, and clams, cooked in a fragrant broth with onions, tomatoes, and spices. This hearty and aromatic dish is a celebration of Chile’s abundant coastal resources.

Where to Try It?
You’ll find Paila Marina in coastal cities and seafood restaurants throughout Chile. Enjoy it while taking in the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

Dish #15. Sopa de Mariscos: Chilean Seafood Soup

Sopa de Mariscos, or seafood soup, is another delightful Chilean dish that showcases the country’s love for the ocean’s bounty. This hearty soup combines a variety of seafood, including fish, shrimp, crab, mussels, and clams, in a flavorful tomato-based broth. It’s often seasoned with spices, herbs, and a touch of white wine for an unforgettable taste of Chile’s coastal cuisine.

Where to Try It?
Sopa de Mariscos is a specialty in coastal regions like Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. Local seafood restaurants offer this dish with the freshest catches of the day.

With these five additional Chilean dishes your gastronomic journey through Chile will be even more flavorful and diverse. Enjoy the rich tapestry of tastes that this beautiful country has to offer, and savor each unique dish.