8 junio, 2024

Typical foods of Chile: northern zone, central zone and southern zone

We make a compilation of the most typical foods of Chile

The typical Chilean food They are a mixture of ingredients and techniques from Spanish cooking, the gastronomy of the Chilean indigenous cultures of the Andean highlands and later influences from other European countries.

The Spanish, who arrived in Chile in 1541, brought grapes, olives, nuts, chestnuts, rice, wheat, citrus fruits, sugar, garlic, and spices. They also brought chicken, beef, sheep, pigs, rabbits, milk, cheeses, and sausages.

Upon their arrival, they found that the natives used corn in many of their dishes. The combination of the foods of the Spanish and Amerindians produced popular dishes that are still part of the typical diet of the present century.

Beginning in 1848, many German immigrants arrived in the nation, bringing breads and a variety of pastries, among others. For their part, the Italians brought gelatos that they combined with different Chilean fruits.

Also, the Arabs contributed to the development of typical Chilean foods by incorporating the use of certain herbs and spices.

Typical food from the north zone

The northern zone of Chile is the designation given to the portion of the country made up of Parinacota, Arica, Antofagasta, Tarapacá, Coquimbo, Atacama and northern Valparaíso.

Due to the action of the Atacama desert, this area is mostly desert and arid or semi-arid. However, the locals have developed cultivation techniques taking advantage of groundwater.

In this area, typical Chilean meals are mainly based on the use of alpaca or llama meat. Connoisseurs claim that the taste of this type of meat is similar to that of beef or lamb.

Likewise, they use corn, potatoes, locoto (or rocoto, a chili pepper with very hot black seeds) and pumpkin (in other countries it is known as squash or auyama) as vegetable accompaniment, among others.

The custom of using these vegetables goes back to the agricultural tradition of the Aymara people who also cultivated quinoa, peas and garlic. Also, they planted fruit trees such as oranges, avocados and guavas.


Due to the limited availability of other meat sources and geographic isolation, communities in the Andean plateaus consume camelid meat (llama, guanaco and alpaca).

This is the case of the barbecue in the northern zone. This typical meal is prepared with alpaca meat cooked over firewood. This cooking technique is also called barbecue, or barbecue.

Potato pork rinds

In the preparation of this dish, pieces of llama or lamb meat are used. These pieces are boiled with chunks of fat, and then fried. The accompaniment to this dish are boiled potatoes and a salad.


The name of this typical Chilean food comes from the Aymara and Quechua words ch’uñu What does processed potato mean? It is a dehydrated potato prepared so that it can be stored and consumed later.


The name of this dish comes from Quechua phatasqa. It is a stew made of meat, corn, potatoes and carrots. The meat used can be llama or river trout.

Guatia (or wuatia)

Its name comes from Quechua watya, watiya» O well wetya. It is a stew that is steamed. Its ingredients are meat with chicken, potatoes with skin and ground corn.


This is another of the typical foods of Chile in its northern zone. It is an alpaca or llama meat soup accompanied with chuño, onion, carrot, green beans and mote wheat (boiled and peeled wheat grain).


Like many other typical Chilean food names, this one comes from Quechua (ch’arki). It consists of alpaca or llama meat that is dried in the sun until dehydrated. Then he left. It is also known as jerky.

Parmesan clams

The macha (mesodesma donacium) is a saltwater clam native to Chile. It is prepared in the oven with pieces of Parmesan cheese and spices. In this dish you can notice the Italian and Arabic influences in the local cuisine.

Calapurka (or kalapurca)

There are divided opinions as to the origin of this term. Some say it comes from Quechua kalapurca. Others, on the contrary, affirm that its origin is found in the word of the Aymara language gala phurk’a.

In either case, it is a thick, spicy soup that is prepared over hot stones or embers. In the preparation of this soup, combinations of beef, llama, lamb and chicken are used.

In addition, it includes other ingredients that accompany these meats: corn, potatoes, carrots and ground chili. It is customary to serve this soup after big celebrations as a restorative dish.

spicy guatitas

This typical dish consists of a stew prepared with pieces of the stomach (wadding) of cattle. In other versions of this recipe, this meat is replaced by chicken or tuna. Add, in addition, onion, carrots and potatoes

The seasonings are cut very fine and are completed with a chili paste (rocoto) which is what gives the mixture its spicy touch. This soup is served with rice.


Fruits are very common in the desserts of Chilean dishes. In the case of chumbeque, it is a dessert similar to nougat that is made with flour, butter and layers of orange, mango and passion fruit jam.

Typical foods of the downtown area

The central zone of Chile is made up of its main urban areas. Here are the Great Santiago, Great Concepción and Great Valparaíso. Other important cities are Quillota, Los Andes, San Antonio and Rancagua.

Beans with porridge

Beans are legumes known as beans, beans, habichuelas or alubias in other regions. In this case, they are prepared with a corn mazamorra (a mixture of corn and milk). Onion, pumpkin and garlic are also added.

It is a typical hot dish from the rural areas of Chile that is made and enjoyed a lot, especially during winter days.


The name of this typical dish is derived from the Quechua language voice Humint’a. It is an ancestral heritage of pre-Columbian Amerindian cultures and has different versions throughout the American zone.

In Venezuela a similar version is known as hallaquita or bollo. Other variants of the dish are huminta (Bolivia) and tamale (Central and North America).

Even in the same area it can have different names. South of the equator, for example, it is called a chumal.

Chilean humitas are made from a dough made with crushed and seasoned sweet corn grains according to the custom of each area. They are then wrapped in corn husks and cooked in boiling water.


The tomaticán is one of the typical foods of Chile that have their origin in the times of the colony. It is a stew that combines the ingredients brought by the Spanish in the 16th century with those of the cuisine of the Mapuche people.

In itself, it is a stew or thick tomato sauce prepared with meat, onion and other vegetables. It is also a typical dish from the Cuyo region (Argentina). This area was part of the Chilean territory during the colony.

roasted milk

Leche asada is a classic high-consumption dessert in Chile. It is believed to have European origins (the flan, the creme brulee or Catalan cream).

Its preparation is based on two basic ingredients: milk and egg. All the mixture, previously seasoned to taste, is baked in a bain-marie. This type of preparation guarantees its smooth texture.

Peach and barley drink

This typical drink is prepared with boiled and peeled grains of wheat or corn. The Quechuas call boiled corn a nickname. It also has to do with the name that the Mapuches gave it, (muthi either muti).

Thus, the grains are boiled with lye until they release the skin. They are then rinsed with water to reduce their bitter taste. Finally, dried peaches and spices (cinnamon and cloves) are added.


The name charquicán is made up of the Quechua word ch’arki and from the Mapuche derivation dog. The Mapuche term denotes the repair of charqui stews (meat preserved by drying).

In pre-Hispanic times, the charquicán was made with guanaco, but it has a pungent flavor that does not please everyone. Currently, it is prepared with fresh beef.

On the other hand, its preparation is complex and laborious. The jerky is ground in a mortar, then roasted and sometimes fried with onion and garlic. Finally, it is boiled with potatoes, squash and other vegetables that depend on each area.

crazy with mayonnaise

Locos are a kind of edible sea snail. It is also known as the murex snail or rock snail. Generally, they are served accompanied by lettuce and potato salad with its portion of mayonnaise.

Potato cake

The origin of this typical dish is the cottage pie either shepard’s pie of English origin. The concept is simple: mashed potatoes with minced meat and onions au gratin. You can also use bell pepper, green onion or tomato.

Typical foods of the southern zone

The southern zone is also known as the region of lakes and volcanoes. Among its populated centers, Temuco, Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas and Valdivia stand out. There is also the extensive Chilean Patagonia with a rich gastronomic tradition.


This dish takes its name from the method used to prepare it. The curanto is an ancient method of cooking food underground, in a hole full of stones that is heated with firewood and then covered with leaves.

In the Mapuche language it is known as kurantu, which translates as «stony». It is a traditional dish from the Chiloé archipelago area (southern Chile), basically made up of red meat, shellfish and potatoes.


It is another typical dish of the gastronomy of Chiloé. It consists of a boiled dough made of potatoes and wheat flour. In other versions, they are prepared fried, baked or in the traditional curanto.

In the same way, the chapaleles can be enjoyed as sweet accompaniments. For example, the sweet chilote chapalele is accompanied with honey, sugar or homemade jam.

Roast on the stick

This dish belongs to the gastronomy of the Aysén region (Chilean Patagonia). Their method of cooking consists of taking pieces of meat and piercing them with a stake. This stake is then placed on hot coals.

Asado al palo is a meal of field tasks. However, it has become customary in country parties held on the occasion of marriages, birthdays and, in general, in celebrations with many guests.

As for meat, lamb and beef are preferred. During the cooking process, it is customary to moisten it with chimichurri (a mixture of vinegar, salt and garlic) so that it does not dry out and to give it more flavor.

marina pan

Among the typical foods of Chile is the paila marina. This is prepared in the southern part of the country, and it is a thick soup (stew) of various shellfish and pieces of fish, seasoned with spices.

Milcao or bread made from potatoes

This typical dish from the southern zone is defined as a stew of mashed potatoes mixed with butter. Its preparation can have variations, according to the tastes of the different regions.

In some areas, pork rinds are added. Sometimes, it is boiled in water or pan-fried like a pancake. In addition, in other areas it is cooked in…

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