Traditional South American Foods

Like many favourite foods of the world, South American cuisine has unique flavours and traditions that anyone serious about eating must taste at some point. South American food encompasses many countries, including the delights of Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. All these countries have some wonderful traditional foods, and here we can only touch on the surface of these centuries old dishes and recipes. Alongside the right music and glass of well-chosen wine, these foods can transport you away from European flavours and formalities!

Brazilian Delights

Brazil has much to offer the world with many wonderful fruits and food produce. One of the dishes that many foodiez would suggest you try is the delightfully filling Fijoada! This is a dish often referred to as the national dish of Brazil, and the name comes from the Portugese word for beans – ‘Feijao’. This feast of a meal is a combination of pork and beans that is slowly cooked as a stew. On the side, it is usually served with rice, shredded kale and finished with ‘Farofa’, a toasted cassava flour.

The main element of pork is cooked together with black beans, which are native to Brazil. It is a must, so a trip to Brazil would not be complete without trying this hearty and heavy dish.

Exploring Seafood in Chile

In Chile, it is worth trying the fantastic ‘Reineta’ fish. The country is the world’s longest and is geographically defined by the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Because the coastline stretches from the tropics to the frozen southern tip, there is a huge seafood supply. The Reineta makes for a brilliant grilled dish. It is quite a firm meaty fish, meaning it can be served in many different ways. This wonderfully mild and flaky fish is one not to be missed.

Argentinian and Uruguayan Beef

In Argentina and parts of Uruguay, beef is some of the most celebrated in the world. The essential bites in the region are not surprisingly meaty! The most standard orders in Argentina are ‘Lomo’ – a fillet of beef, ‘Bife de Chorizo’ which is the rump steak or even ‘Ojo de Bife’ if you fancy the short ribs. In Uruguay, try some delicious ‘Pulpon’ which is their take on a rump steak. These high protein cuts are most often served in the fantastic Grill and Steak Houses that should be on all good gastronauts’ checklist!

Pies are always lovely and Argentina is famous for its scrumptious Empanadas. This is one of those popular classic bites loved by all and served up from street stalls throughout the country. Although Empanadas are available throughout South America, they are outstanding in Argentina. These are doughy pies that are deep-fried or baked. The typical fillings can be beef, potato, green onions and eggs. One great side to look out for is the red spicy salsa dish of the Salta Province. 

Eating Rice in Peru

The Amazon jungle is represented by the exquisite Peruvian dish of ‘Juane’. This is a piquant rice dish of chicken, spices, boiled eggs and black olives. The tasty ingredients are served by wrapping everything in ‘Bijao’ leaves, from the jungle, which are then boiled in clay pots. As Peru has such a vast amount of Amazon jungle this is a great way to experience this very special regional flavour.

Another classic dish from Peru is the mouth-watering ‘Ceviche’. It is made of five key ingredients of ‘Aji’, Peru’s native chilli pepper, salt, red onions, lime juice and fish or seafood. The marinade is so acidic that it transforms the fish making it opaque and firm to the bite. The marinade itself is known as ‘Leche de Tigre’ – the tiger’s milk!

One final traditional classic has to be Llama meat which is usually slow-cooked in a stew with carrots and ‘papas andinas’ the native potato of Peru. The llama dishes go by various names but one of the most common is the ‘Cazuela de Llama’. It is high in protein and low in fat. This is certainly a regional dish really worth trying!