When you’re travelling, food can be the greatest joy or your largest frustration. When travelling on a budget, eating something filling and tasty while trying not to have to orego other essentials like where to sleep and transportation, is essential.
In Santiago, cheap eats means basically three things: a sandwich, a completo (hotdog with a bevy of nontraditional toppings), or a visit to the Central Market’s grittier neighbor, the Vega Central.
Here’s a quick roundup of your three options and how to make the most of them.
Sandwiches. For sheer calories per peso, you’re oging to want to eat a churrasco, which is grilled thin slices of beef with string beans and (if you like) a giant amount of avocado on top. A good option is to try it at the Mardoqueo down in Barrio Yungay, with its many, many sauces to choose from. Or if you want to go a little less traditional, try an excellent Peruvian sandwich at Cheverissimo in the República neighborhood. For more information on where to get sandwiches in Chile, see this blog post on sandwiches in Chile.
Compeletos. Completos are Chile’s main street-eaten junk food, with a hot dog lying below a blanket of avocado, mayonnaise and tomatoes, often served in a little boat, and with as many napkins as possible. They are available all over the place, in Bellavista (until the wee hours), in Plaza de Armas or in general anywhere in the city, but the king of the completo is the sandwich chain Dominó (no relation to the North American pizza chain).
La Vega. At the Vega, you can eat a fried fish plate with french fries for just this side of two dollars, or get more adventurous (and even cheaper) with porotos con riendas (literally, beans with reins, or beans with spaghetti). If the surroundings look a little too suspect, you can head over to the (significantly more expensive) Central Market to eat heartier, and a bit more upper-crust, still without breaking the bank.
Photo by Paul Lowry on Flickr.