Long and lean, Chile is blessed with an expansive coastline that is teeming with marine life of every shape and size. The country’s close relationship with the sea has enriched local cuisine, with the likes of Pacific oysters, pink Patagonian scallops, conger eel, hake, giant sea urchins, abalone and razor clams gracing the menus of both top restaurants and more humble marisquerias (fish houses).
Stalls of plenty
Markets are the traditional place to appreciate Chile’s top-notch seafood. You’ll find a Mercado Central in most cities, although the one in Santiago is inevitably the best. Here, simple lunches, such as paila marina (shellfish stew), ceviche (fish or seafood marinated in citrus), are dished up at inexpensive makeshift restaurants. La Vega, a bustling produce market on the other side of Santiago’s Mapocho River, is the place to go for Chilean street food, including shrimp empanadas and chupe (a thick casserole usually made with crab).
For a more sophisticated spin on Chile’s seafood, book a table at Sukalde in Santiago where chef-owner Matías Palomo elevates indigenous ingredients to another level. His creative take on conger eel soup is rightly famed. Outside the capital, a string of coastal towns, such as Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, have well regarded restaurants where you can feast on fish as you watch fishing boats bring in the catch.
Outside the capital, a string of coastal towns, such as Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, have well regarded restaurants where you can feast on fish as you watch fishing boats bring in the catch.
Try it for your self
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