Since Chile is a coastal country, fish and seafood play just as big a role on the Chilean menu as meat. Whether it’s mussels gratinated with parmesan cheese, crab casserole or fish soup, there are many seafood dishes that Chileans love. The famous poet and Nobel Prize winner for literature Pablo Neruda even wrote an ode to one of his favorite dishes, the Caldillo de Congrio sea eel soup.
We present you 5 of these typical dishes.
Locos con mayonesa
Chilean abalone (locos) with mayonnaise are one of Chileans’ favorite appetizers thanks to their mild flavor, as simple in their presentation as they are exclusive in their availability. This type of sea snail is found exclusively on the Pacific coast of South America and is undoubtedly a world-class delicacy to try when visiting the country.
Caldillo de Congrio
Caldillo de Congrio is a soup made with conger eel and fresh vegetables such as onions, potatoes, tomatoes and carrots.
“… y a la mesa lleguen recién casados los sabores del mar y de la tierra para que en ese plato tú conozcas el cielo.” – Pablo Neruda (and the flavors of the sea and the land come to the newlyweds’ table so you can experience heaven on that plate).
Machas a la parmesana
Machas a la parmesana is a dish prepared with the macha mussel. It is particularly popular on the Chilean coast, where the machas are native and abundant. The macha meat in the middle of the shell is prepared with butter and Parmesan cheese and a few drops of lemon juice or white wine. After only a few minutes of baking, the machas are enjoyed fresh and usually as an appetizer.
Merluza and Reineta
They are the two most popular types of fish in Chile and are usually found on every menu. When you order “fried fish” in Chile, you usually get Merluza with its typical mild flavor. If it is not fried, Chileans usually serve it baked.
The second most popular fish in Chile, Reineta, is usually served roasted or grilled.
Pastel de jaiba
Pastel de jaiba is a traditional Chilean crab casserole. The dish is made with crab meat, crustless bread, garlic, onions, milk, chilies, white wine, butter, fish stock, cream and spices such as cumin, oregano and paprika.