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Foreign Grocery Friday: The Pastel de Choclo of Santiago, Chile

Where: Santiago, Chile
February 17, 2012 at 5:03 PM | by | Comment (1)

Hand shown for scale

When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!

It was our first evening in Santiago, Chile and we were super hungry. Though we walked through neighborhoods dotted with Chinese and sushi restaurants, what we really in the mood for was something proper Chilean—Pastel de Choclo.

Pastel de Choclo is essentially a corn and beef souffle. Sounds simple, right? Of course it never really is; Pastel de Choclo actually contians much more: corn, ground beef, basil, onions, hard-boiled egg, chicken, black olives, and raisins. Said our dining companion of the ingredients: "I've never had anything near this combination before!"

Fresh from the oven, Pastel de Choclo arrives at the table in a piping hot earthenware dish and is served as large spoonfuls, family-style.

The taste: It's sweet! But also a bit savory? What is going on here, exactly? Well, the corn itself is sweet and the basil and olives kind of throw in an unexpected extra that helps tone down what could otherwise be too sweet for the centerpiece of a meal.

The price: Around 3,000 Chilean pesos is a good price. That's around $6 USD.

Where to find it: We downed Pastel de Choclo at two places in Santiago; tourist-favorite b>Galindo at Dardignac 98 in the lively Bellavista area, and local-favorite Villorca at Calle Teatinos 798 in the older part of town.

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]

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Whoa, I just ate at Galindo today! Their Pastel de Choclo is really good and big enough for 2-3 people, though it's really too sweet. A little pricier at about 5000 Pesos. We got the Porotos Granados, a bit salty and spicy, to balance it out.

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