Two thoughts on food for this Eating Well installment:
Shared kitchens are a common part of hostel life in South America. From Chile onward, every hostel I stayed at had cooking facilities. In contrast, the standard for hostels in Asia was to have a kitchen and bar located on the premises. Off the top of my head, I remember only two hostels in Asia with open kitchens – one in Jaipur, India and the other in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
My completely un-researched, unverified explanation for this difference is the cost of living. Meals in Asia cost 3 to 4 times less money than meals in South America. With the higher cost of eating in this part of the world, it seems reasonable that hostels have facilities for cooking to help travelers save money.
Chilean food is full of special memories for me. Bread, manjar, wine, pisco sour, empanadas, pastel de choclo, and delicious red meat are a few of the foods that taste best when eaten in Chile. Eating traditional foods I was first introduced to when I studied abroad made each meal on this visit, including the meals I ate with my Chilean family, exciting moments.
For Justin’s first night in Santiago we cooked a big meal with our friends Nick, Anna, and Kelsey plus a few other people in the hostel. We began cooking around 10:00 pm and ate at midnight. Meat, vegetables, and grilled apples were parts of our spread.
Justin and I ate lunch together in the Santiago city center. Our meal included traditional Chilean foods that felt like comfort food to me. Justin ordered a mixed seafood ceviche. I ate a pastel de choclo, which is a creamed corn and chicken dish. Our starter was bread with a spicy traditional salsa called pebre.
We drank wine and ate leftovers at the hostel. This bottle of wine was especially good. Grocery stores in Chile have extensive wine offerings and the prices are relatively low for high quality reserve and grand reserve wines.
In Valparaiso, there is a famous locale called J. Cruz. This dive-bar-esque restaurant serves one food, chorillana. Chorillana is french fries with grilled onions, egg, and meat. It was a hearty, greasy and delicious meal that was perfect before a night out. We paired our chorillana with a locally brewed beer called Del Puerto. Justin was excited about this place. I enjoyed visiting J Cruz again and sharing the experience with a friend from home.
After our chorillana dinner we went into the hills to meet Nick, Kelsey, and Anna. They were dining at a fine restaurant so we waited for them at a bar next door. When I studied in Valparaiso, fine dining and fancy cocktail bars were not available. It was amazing to see how the city has shifted and who the other patrons were at these establishments with U.S. prices.
Nick, Justin and I ate empanadas in Viña del Mar before going to the beach. We went to Entremasas, the same place I ate with Valentina the week before.
Nick and I ate a light meal with a view at Cafe Turri in the Valparaiso hills. Not pictured is the orange juice I drank in a serious effort to rid my body of a lingering cold.
Empanadas are one of my favorite foods in Chile. We ate empanadas almost daily because they are a fast, filling, inexpensive and easily available food. Usually I ordered a pino empanada which has a beef filling, an olive, and a piece of hard boiled egg. To identify the different varieties of empanadas, the baker will use different patterns to seal the bread.
Our make your own happy hour included excellent wine and we enjoyed eating on our hostel patio.
After our do it yourself happy hour, Justin and I went out for late night drinks. We struggled to find an open bar on a Sunday night. We drank pisco sours, a traditional Chilean drink, beer and sangria. The club in the far right photo is called Huevo and it was a popular dance club when I studied abroad in this city. It is now closed.
Sushi is popular in South America and generally associated with special occasions. When I visited with Ricardo and Solange they quickly decided that a meal of sushi would be perfect for our gathering. It was a great spread.
After tea at a cafe in Valparaiso’s hills, my former Professor Rodrigo and I went out for dinner. We ate at a new hipster bistro called La Clinica. The bistro decorations, servers’ attire, and menu are full of innuendo and witty political banter. The food and prices at this restaurant reminded me of eating out in the Twin Cities.
My Air B&B host Paula ate a homemade lunch with her mom the day I arrived and they cooked extra food for me. Our lunch meal was tuna patties with avocado and rice. In the evening, Felipe made homemade pizza for us to share. Other meals I ate at their house were a Chilean breakfast including avocado and bread plus a special treat, an alfajor, a cookie covered with chocolate.
In Viña I walked the beach boardwalk and stopped for coffee and sweets at the ice cream parlor by the ocean called Bravissimo. This cake is a traditional chilean dessert and it is another favorite food of mine. It is called mil hojas which means one thousand leaves. The cake has cookie layers soaked in liquor and manjar caramel between each layer.
Yogurt, almonds and apples were my go-to breakfast at Paula and Felipe’s house. I enjoyed having the ability to buy food at a grocery store and eat healthy foods. Not healthy foods that are favorites of mine include churros and manjar. I ate bread with manjar and wine for my last meal in Chile.