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Chile, the sandwich paradise

Chile, the sandwich paradise

By: Chile Travel - 28 August, 2021

Legend has it that the term “Sandwich” comes from an English Count from Sandwich, John Montague, better known as an avid gambler, and after a very long day of cards, asked to be served a slice of meat with two slices of bread.  The idea was to be able to eat with one hand and continue to bet with the other.

It was a hit and the creation was baptized with the name of his home-town.  In fact, he even left a note in his last will and testament, declaring that the best thing he endowed to the country was this tasty treat.  Hundreds of years later, many are sure that the popular creation made its way across the high seas to Chile; now the Sandwich Paradise.

Today, Chile is the second greatest consumer of bread in the world, after Germany.  It is estimated that each Chilean eats 98 kilos of bread each year, and the bread-based innovations have become an ever more creative item in the Chilean diet.

There are dozens of varieties of bread in Chile, for example marraquetas, hallullas, amasado, tortillas and others.  Bread is a permanent staple in Chile, present at all meals, so making a delicious sandwich is logically just a step away.

Imagen de un potente churrasco con mayonesa, cebolla y pimentón

Have you ever eaten a Chilean sandwich? What follows is a list of some of the favorites and most popular in restaurants all over the country.

Hot dogs are called “Completos”

Fast and Good!  Although hot dogs didn’t originate in Chile, they top the list of Chilean favorites and here they are known as Completos.

German immigrants to the South of Chile introduced the concept using their famous sausages.  The hot dogs were soon adapted to the Chilean pallet by including some of the diverse and delicious ingredients available in our country.

So was born the “completo italiano” that, in spite of its name, is 100% Chilean. It’s made with a frank topped with avocado (a popular ingredient in local cuisine), tomato and mayonnaise.  Think about it…. the colors of the ingredients are the same as the Italian flag: green, red and white.

Imagen de una tabla de completos con diferentes aderezos, carnes y vegetales

The typical preparation results in something creamy thanks to the avocado and mayonnaise.  The tomato adds sweet freshness and the dog gives it substance.  The long bun can be crunchy or spongy depending on taste preference.

But that’s not the only choice.  There are as many varieties of hot dogs as there are restaurants in Chile.  The classic Completo has the frank and bread, sauerkraut, salsa “americana” (prepared with chopped pickles, onions and carrots), tomato, avocado, chopped onion and cilantro, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard.  Have it your way.

Completos can be eaten anywhere in the country and are served in restaurants, diners or even from street carts. They’re affordable and don’t cost more than $2.500 Chilean pesos (approx. US$3.00) and are served and eaten 24/7, making it an option that must be tried when you visit our country.

Another Must-Try in Chile

Many Chilean cooks think that if food is good, then it must be even better if served between two slices of bread. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Antofagasta, Santiago, or Puerto Varas, or wherever else in Chile, you’ll always be able to try a new and tasty variety.

Practical, filling and delicious, the magic of mixing ingredients between slices of bread has made Chile a Sandwich Paradise, and one of the most popular choices is the Lomito.

Many have proclaimed this sandwich as the best thing in Chilean popular food.  The Lomito is made of thinly sliced roasted pork which is left to soak in its own juices keeping it hot, soft and less fatty.

The roasted pork is served on a large roll called “frica”.  Typical toppings are cheese, avocado, tomato and mayonnaise.

Imagen de un sandwich de lomo de cerdo y queso derretido

Lomitos, like all the sandwiches on this list, can be found anywhere in Chile, and costs $5.000 Chilean pesos (approx. US$7.00), making it a delectable choice for lunch, mid-afternoon snack or even a light dinner, since it’s very filling.  A Must Try Chilean sandwich!  We suggest you add a bit of green chili to give it a little kick and color.

Next on the list of Must Try is the Chacarero, another typical Chilean delight. Again, served on a “frica” roll, piled high with sliced beef, green beans, tomatoes and green chili. The result is a very fresh taste with a spicy touch.  This characteristic sandwich has even become known in the United States.

That’s right!  In Boston, Mass., a Chilean cook named Juan Hurtado opened a sandwich shop and called it “Chacarero”, from where the traditional Chilean sandwich became famous internationally.  Impressive!

Imagen de una bandeja de sandwich chacareros, con porotos verdes

Sandwiches with history

Chile also has sandwiches named in honor of two important politicians from its history. One of them was Ramón Barros Luco, who was the President in Chile in 1910 and liked to eat out at the Club de la Unión in Santiago.

The politician use to ask that he be prepared a sandwich on toasted bread with sliced beef and melted cheese. Other guests at the Club began to imitate the President and asked for the same.  Soon the juicy sandwich took on the name of its creator and is known as “Barros Luco”.

Since it’s served hot, it makes an excellent choice for a filling breakfast that will hold you all the way to lunch. A warm and comforting choice that has become a favorite among our foreign visitors!

Meanwhile, Ernesto Barros Jarpa, who was Chile’s Vice President in 1932, also lunched at the Club de la Unión, and asked for his own, lighter version of the Barros Luco by replacing the beef with a slice of ham. Both versions are normally served on sliced bread instead of the more filling “frica” rolls.  Either popular choice is recommendable for breakfast.  Just order a  Barros Luco or a Barros Jarpa.

Sandwiches with a North or South identity in Chile

If you’re headed to the north of Chile, you Must See the port city of Coquimbo and Must Taste the famous fish sandwich that is served in almost all the northern coastal cities of our country.  Here the preference is for fish rather than meat.

Of course you’ll be able to buy a wide variety of fresh seafood at the market, but you Must Taste the Churrasco Marino.

The typical fish offered is either fried hake (merluza) or the Chilean sea bass (reineta) . Some places may also offer horse mackerel (jurel), served with a marraqueta bun and topped with tomatoes and onions. You can add or eliminate one or both toppings or ask for tartar sauce if you prefer.

Mujer recorriendo una caleta del litoral de Chile

This sandwich is so well liked in Chile that February 11th is the National Churrasco Marino Day. If you’re Chilean, you know this sandwich.  If you’re coming to Chile and want to eat something different and local, this sandwich from Chile’s north is just what you’re looking for.

Rescoldo tortilla with seafood from the South of Chile

A tradition directly from Laraquete located in Arauco in the south of Chile.  The preparation of Rescoldo Tortillas with seafood   has a long history steeped in a family-based culinary tradition where mothers, daughters, granddaughters and grandmothers are united in this everyday ancestral practice. Its preparation brings together the collective memory, and ancient know-how to be able to obtain the characteristic texture, color and flavors.

The outstanding aspect of this sandwich is that its preparation requires old bread-making techniques, using methods that predate the use of ovens. It begins with the liberation of energy from sand that has been heated over an open fire.

Imgen de un canasto con sopaipillas y pan amasado chileno

In effect,  ¨rescoldo ¨  is a mix of sand and ash over fire that is left to burn for several hours.  The tortilla is buried in the hot ash and sand until it is cooked.  The result is a delicious flat bread with a crispy crust; very different from any other Chilean bread.

A generous portion of seafood is served on top of the warm tortilla.  Yummy!  The mix makes a sandwich with a lot of personality, fresh and full of new flavors, very different from what one may expect.

There you have it! Chile is Sandwich Paradise where the choices are as diverse as our country.

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