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A Foodie Tour of South American Food

South American Food

Guest post from Meg Rulli of Landing Standing.

Shortly into our trip around the world, Tony and I discovered that trying local cuisines is our favorite part of traveling. There is so much you can learn about a culture and the history of a location through its food.

Plus, in almost every country we have visited, the food has been spectacular.

Our RTW trip began in South America, which was a perfect place to whet our appetites for all the great cuisines we would be tasting across the globe.

Here were some of our most memorable eats from this magnificent continent:

Chilean Food

Our first stop on our RTW adventure began in Santiago, Chile in January. It was here where we used some of our recent Christmas money to splurge on elegant meals,

South American Food

Chilean Food in Santiago, Chile

learned how to properly cook fresh fish in our hostel after visiting the Mercado Central fish market,

South American Food

Fish - Chilean Food in Santiago, Chile

and discovered our love for Lomito sandwiches and croquettes.

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Lomito Sandwiches - Chilean Food in Santiago, Chile

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Croquettes – Chilean Food in Santiago, Chile

For part of our trip in Santiago, we had the privilege to stay with friends that lived in the city and got to enjoy authentic family meals of mouthwatering Machas a la Parmesana and baked Chilaquiles.

South American Food

Machas a la Parmesana - Chilean Food in Santiago, Chile

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Baked Chilaquiles - Chilean Food in Santiago, Chile

During our hiking adventures down in Patagonia, we also were surprised to learn that the best empanadas in the country came from tiny roadside stands, where they were freshly baked or fried on the spot. YUM!

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Empanadas - Chilean Food from Patagonia, Chile

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Empanadas de Horno - Chilean Food from Patagonia, Chile

Argentina Food

It’s a shock I didn’t gain weight in Argentina, considering how much food I ate. I guess a huge part of this was because I was subconsciously following the Atkins Diet while I was there. Argentina is known for its delicious meats and steaks and it did not disappoint.

South American Food

Asado – Argentina Food

The steak and meat came in all shapes and sizes.

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Lomo – Argentina Food

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Meat – Argentina Food

And whether we went to the local butcher and grilled them up ourselves, or had them dining out, steaks were delicious and cheap. I was in heaven.

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Pork – Argentina Food

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Meat – Argentina Food

South American Food

Meat – Argentina Food

Despite the popularity of meat in Argentina, veggies are also accessible and plentiful (ignore rumors to the contrary).

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Vegetable Plate – Argentina Food

Argentina also has wonderful dishes, such as pickled and fried eggplant, Spanish tortillas, fired chard, stuffed mushrooms, homemade potato crisps, and empanadas galore!

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Pickled Eggplant - Argentina Food

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Fried Eggplant – Argentina Food

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Fried Chard - Argentina Food

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Stuffed Mushrooms - Argentina Food

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Homemade Potato Crisps - Argentina Food

We found that Buenos Aires was also a melting pot of cultures. There are many Italian immigrants in the city, which means Buenos Aires has some exquisite Italian food.

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Pizza – Argentina Food

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Cured Meats on Bread – Argentina Food

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Proscuitto Sandwich – Argentina Food

Buenos Aires is also known for their vibrant Closed Door Dining scene, where you can visit underground restaurants that serve up fantastic Asian fusion cuisine at a chefs home.

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Asian Fusion Cuisine – Argentina Food

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Asian Fusion Cuisine – Argentina Food

South American Food

Asian Fusion Cuisine – Argentina Food

But apart from the amazing red meat and variety of cuisines scattered throughout Buenos Aires, Argentina knows how to excel in ice cream and desserts.

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Ice Cream – Argentina Food

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Ice Cream – Argentina Food

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Dessert – Argentina Food

I never went a day in Argentina without a daily dose of ice cream or chocolate.

Bolivian Food

We did not spend too much time in Bolivia and did not get a chance to try many of the local dishes (although, we heard from many backpackers that Bolivia lacked in the food scene). However, Lake Titicaca was the perfect place to get fresh trout straight from the lake. With fish this fresh, the simplest preparations are best.

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Fresh Trout (trucha) – Bolivian Food

Peruvian Food

We travelled to Peru to hike stunning Machu Picchu, but we got the added bonus of eating like kings during our three weeks in the country. Peru was where we were able to get adventurous with our pallets and try the local favorites in Cusco, such as Yuquitas Rellenas and Cuy (a.k.a. Guinea Pig).

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Yuquitas Rellenas - Peruvian Food

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Cuy (Guinea Pig) - Peruvian Food

One of my favorite days in Cusco was spent at the Choco Museo learning the history of cacao production in Peru all while making our very own chocolate treats.

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Chocolate Treats – Peruvian Food

After hiking cold Machu Picchu for four days, we were boiling in the summer heat when we arrived in Lima, but loved cooling off with refreshing and citrusy plates of Lima’s famous fresh ceviche.

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Ceviche - Peruvian Food

We also made sure to hit up happy hour for some thirst quenching Pisco Sours with Cancha Salada.

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Pisco Sour - Peruvian Food

Judging aside, by the time we arrived in Peru, we were missing some of our home favorites and had to indulge in some American classics.

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American Food in Peru

Before you roll your eyes in disgust, Peruvian McDonald’s make some mean McFlurries!

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McDonald’s Available Everywhere

South America treated our bellies very well. We will always remember the meals that we had and everything we learned about the culture in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru through their remarkable dishes.

Have you ever travelled to South America? What were some of your favorite local dishes?

Her name is Meg and his name is Tony. They left their jobs to go RTW and try out this location independent thing. They are aspiring entrepreneurs & digital nomads that blog about travel, food, and all things ridiculous. Follow the journey at Landing Standing.

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Lindsay says:

Everything looks amazing. I’m ready to give up Asian for for South American food right now!

MMM! South American food. Now I’m hungry all over again. Great round up, Meg. I’m glad to see that Argentinian ice cream made the list :) Oh, the number of 1/4 kilo orders I shamelessly placed… Still kicking myself that we don’t have photos from our San Telmo dinner party. So many good memories xx

Those 1/4 kilo orders were a nightly thing for me… And the takeaway? A 1/4 kilo of weight gained in BA haha. Totally worth it… That ice cream was so delish!

I wish we took photos of our dinner party at your place. What was that crazy appetizer you made again? Was it with figs? Whatever it was, I was in love! Ohhh and the cake from that amazing bakery… I did see that it was featured on your blog awhile back. Way to go!

Catherine Rulli says:

These are some of the best food photos I have ever seen. Good job. The guinea pig is one of my favorites and on your blog I believe there is one of Tony eating it? Priceless.
Anthony Bourdain better be careful, I think you could take his spot.

Thanks Cath! We are honored to be compared to the amazing Bourdain!

Rease says:

I could never eat that guinea pig. It’s horrifying! I can’t even eat chicken off the bone.

We ate one in Latacunga, Ecuador. I have a great picture of all them on the grill. Very creepy.

Even if it’s fried??!! Everything is good fried! haha j/k I understand your hesitations… It is pretty weird. I never had a pet guinea pig though, so I didn’t feel any emotional attachment with the critter

Michael says:

La Cabrera — how I miss you…. Those bife de chorizo’s…. And coming out feeling sick every time. So delicious..
And where’s the picture of the steak *I* cooked? Heh

mmmm with the bleu cheese on top… Amazing!

Wow you and Steph are just calling me out for lack of EPIC photos… I actually don’t think I took any photos of our meat feast at your place – Just photos of all the wine we consumed that night. Fooooor shame!

Oh and Tony broke another chair this week. This time it was “one too many Thai shakes”

Tony says:

Mike… I hate to tell you this but I banned Meg from mentioning anything of that night… I wanted no proof of my “One too many sausages” evening. I’m glad Meg is keeping you up to date on my chair-breaking though….

Great article. Good to see you included a lot of pics from Chile’s dishes. That country does not get a lot of culinary attention.

Thanks Ruth! Glad you enjoyed it. We loved all the Chilean food. We also stayed with a couple locals in Santiago, so they knew of all the great places to take us. And I know Chile and Argentina battle over which country has the best empanadas, but I think Chile wins it for me. The empanadas we ate in Pucon were unbelievable!

Steph says:

As soon as I saw Meg wrote this I knew I’d be drooling. I wish she could travel around with me and be my personal foodie guide- she has a sixth sense for these things.

Although I can’t believe she left out the fried cheese wrapped in proscuitto from BA! For shame.

haha I know! I was quite ashamed of myself. I didn’t have a picture of the fried cheese wrapped in Prosciutto… I always ate it so fast that Tony never had the time to get the camera out! I am drooling just thinking about it now.

And thanks for the kind word on my foodie sixth sense – We need to plan a trip with the boys someday for a foodie weekend somewhere spectacular!

Dean says:

This all looks delicious!..well…except for the guinea pig. I don’t think I could do it…

Yeah seeing the full Guinea Pig displayed on our plate was somewhat jarring but it tasted pretty good… Kind of like duck or a mixture between pork and chicken. Plus, it was fried and anything is good fried!

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