It’s no secret that I didn’t enjoy the food so much in Argentina. I found the over indulgence in meat, to the exclusion of most other things, annoying. There was too much salt for my taste in most of the food, too much sugar in foods that didn’t need sugar and too much pizza, generally, everywhere.
Chile is suiting me a little better. There is a lot more fish and seafood around, plenty of fruit and vegetables and more variety in the markets and supermarkets (still plenty of pizza though).
Avocado is popular, and turns up on most menus multiple times. Except they call it palta here, as opposed to all other Spanish-speaking countries where it is aguacate. Peruvian food is also popular, as is sushi. Ice cream, too, is popular and there are numerous heladerías selling great varieties of ice creams.
I am mostly trying to ignore the popular dish of chorillana; this consists of a huge plate of french-fries with a huge portion of beef on top of it, all topped off with two fried eggs. This is not a meal, this is a hangover cure.
I have been enjoying shopping in the food markets.
There are many nice restaurants inside the market, although the place is a little touristy and the waiters do tend to hassle you as you walk by, trying to entice you to eat in their place. The locals tend to eat at the places dotted around the side, where you can get a meal for 3-4,000 pesos (£3-4/US$4-6).
As you leave the central market, you are just a few steps from La Vega, a massive fruit and veg market that also has cheap eateries dotted around. The first time I went there I was completely overwhelmed; it is a huge place and gets very busy.
Following my first visit I searched for market tours, as I thought it would be nice to go there with somebody to point out things I missed in the general melee of people. I searched online and came up with this cooking class run by Uncorked, where they take you to the market, talk about local foods and you then get to prepare a couple of dishes and sample some local wine.
They got great reviews on Trip Advisor. At first I thought it was a little expensive ($95) but actually it wasn’t when you found out what you got for it. There were just the three of us on the day I joined (I think it’s 5 max) and first we walked round all the markets, learning about all the unfamiliar stuff for sale.
Then we got a cab back to the house, where we helped prepare food and drink.
Here we have a menu of pebre (a tomato based salsa that often turns up on your restaurant table whilst you wait for your meal) Ceviche (a raw Peruvian dish very popular in Chile too. We made ours with prawns but you could make vegetarian/vegan versions just by leaving out the prawns) empanadas (like in Argentina. The skills I leaned as a child making Cornish Pasties with my mother came in handy for making neat little empanadas) and a pudding that was so time-consuming and fiddly that nobody in the right mind would bother making it at home. Delicious though.