Saying goodbye to Chilean food
Chile is a lovely and unique mix of Latin and more Northern European traits that's quite distinct from the rest of Latin America. What contributed to this has been the successive waves of European immigration, quite distinct from other Latin American countries, the tiny black community and a nearly wiped out indigenous American community. Where Buenos Aires feels like a copy of a major Spanish city, much of Chile feels like it was supposed to be in Europe, somewhere in the south, but it's unclear where exactly, and got misplaced along the way.
But, one thing I do not understand is Chile's love for the hotdog. Hotdogs have a strangely loyal following in much of Latin America, but Chileans actually have a painful surplus of hot dog restaurants. This includes a McDonalds-like chain centered around hotdogs and draft beer.
By far the favorite is the Italiano. So called not because it has any tangible connection with Italy, but because of the extensive splattering of sauces, ketchup, mayo and guacamole, together forming the colors of the Italian flag.
Chilean food, in general, gets a bad rap, but, mostly, I've eaten very good anywhere I went. Granted, this is not in the least because of the strong Peruvian influence, but lots of 'native' Chilean food is also very good, particularly as hangover food, a lot of the dishes being relatively greasy and heavy on the carbs.
But, besides the strange love for hot dogs, there are also a few other idiosyncrasies. One is a cheap coaster-size piece of fried bread called sopapilla, basically functioning as a vehicle for sauces.
And there's the weird love for drinking coffee with a straw, which I suspect is due to the popularity of mate, sort of a herbal tea, in other parts of the continent, which is always consumed with a straw.
Another thing Peruvians have established as a staple is the extensive consumption of a wide array of sandwiches. Nom nom nom nom.