Taste Your Way Across South America - 10 Dishes To Try

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I have always been fascinated with South America because of it's abundance of natural beauty and the unique combination of flora and fauna found there. It is a without a doubt one of the most unique places on earth, just waiting to be explored. No trip to South America would be complete without a first hand taste of the local fare, which can range from simple treats to more complex spicy dishes. Rest assured that whatever you try it will be bursting with flavor. Let's take a short culinary tour of South America!

Empanadas or Salteñas
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These are basically stuffed pastries or bread, that are baked or fried and filled with anything from meat to cheese to fruit. In South America, you can find these delicacies in Argentina, Bolivia (salteñas), Chile, Colombia and Venezuela.
Argentinian Empanadas are typically made from wheat flour and filled with chicken, beef, ham, fish or humita, which is a white sauce made with sweet corn.
Bolivian Empanadas are called salteñas, and typically contain beef or chicken with potatoes, peas and carrots along with olives, raisins or hard-boiled egg. They can also contain cheese and have sugar icing on top.
Chilean Empanadas can have a variety of fillings but the most popular types are either fried and filled with cheese or baked and filled with pino, which is a combination of beef, hot peppers, onions, black olives, raising and hard boiled egg.
Colombian Empanadas vary from region to region but are typically made of corn or potato flour, fried or baked, stuffed with beef, rice, potatoes, peanuts or chorizo and served with a spicy sauce known as Aji or Picante.
Last but not least, Venezuelan Empanadas are usually made from corn flour and fried. They are typically stuffed with chicken, beef or white salty cheese, black beans or fried ripe plantains and served with hot sauce or guasacaca (similar to guacamole).

This is a hearty potato soup consisting of  two or three types of potatoes, corn on the cob, and pieces of chicken with a hint of the aromatic herb, guasca. This soup is often served with heavy cream, avocado and capers. There are many variations of this recipe, but you can enjoy this hearty soup throughout Colombia.

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Small balls of cheese bread usually made from corn flour, tapioca flour or cornmeal. They are baked in mud ovens on banana leaves, but can also be baked in typical ovens. These small treats are a favorite snack food in Paraguay and Argentina.

Flat, round, unleavened, pancake-like bread made primarily from cornmeal, water and salt. They can be fried, baked or grilled and are typically topped or filled with meat, eggs, fish, cheese, or salad. Arepas are a favorite food in Venezuela, but they are also quite popular in Colombia.

Patacones (Tostones or Tachinos)
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These are twice-fried, thick slices of green or ripe plantains that are often accompanied with sauce or used to make sandwiches with chicken, beef and vegetables. Quite popular in certain parts of Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia.

Bami Goreng
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This is basically an Indonesian, dutch inspired dish consisting of fried egg noodles. It is quite popular in Suriname and is often served with vegetables and meat.

Crêpes Forestière
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This delicacy consists of a savory crepe made with mushrooms and cheese. Try them next time you visit French Guiana, they're really good!

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One of South America's best kept secrets for centuries, Ceviche consists of fresh seafood marinated in lemon juice and chili peppers. In Peru, Ceviche is considered to be the national dish and is often served with sweet potatoes (yucca) or corn on the cob. In Ecuador, it is served with popcorn or nuts and lots of onion.

The Parrillada
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The Parrillada is a platter of slowly grilled or roasted meat (mostly beef) that is very popular in Uruguay and Argentina. You can also get a Parrillada Mixta which would consist of various types of grilled meat like sausages, chicken, beef and more. Imagine having all the meat you can eat and you will agree that the Parrillada is virtually impossible to resist and absolutely delectable!

XinXim de Galinha
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This rich, spicy dish made of chicken, seafood, spices and coconut milk among other interesting ingredients is just bursting with exotic flavors. It is a delicacy in Northern Brazil and is believed to have West African origins.

Do you have a favorite South American dish not mentioned here? Tell me about it! Just drop me a line in the comments below.

South America Travel. Expert South American Adventures. Small Group Tours Departing Weekly.


judejam said...

Wow, it looks so good, it makes me Hungry!!
I will certainly try out some of the recipes.I know ajiaco and the empanadas. and the pao de quejo are so good!!

FoodTravelDiva said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jude. All these foods are good to try, empanadas are my favorite. Some Caribbean islands also make empanadas but they call them meat patties.