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10 Authentic Dishes in South America You Need to Try

A lot of people think that Mexican dishes are the best food you can buy, but have you ever thought about trying South American cuisine? In Chile, you can try some of the finest chorrillana. Then travel to Uruguay and eat at the best parrilla, as Anthony Bourdain has done. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, you can eat empanadas from a street vendor pushing his bicycle with a laundry basket full of pastries. In San Pedro Market in Cusco, Peru, sample chicken soup. Order cuy in Ecuador’s Andes. Let’s tuck in! Here are the best 10 dishes in South America you need to rey

Dishes in South America You Need to Try

Lomo Saltado

When you ask a Peruvian, “What dish should everyone visiting Peru try?” one of the most likely answers will be lomo saltado. There are many places where you can enjoy this dish, including Puno, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Lares, Cuncani, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Nazca, Pisco, and the Ballestas Islands. Lomo saltado is served in posh restaurants in Miraflores, as well as in simple huts at 12,000 feet above sea level. One night at the campsite, the cook may serve lomo saltado during an Andes drive/journey.

Related Read: Best Cruise Destinations in South America

Dry Aged Beef 

Steaks from Argentina are world-famous. The T-bone steaks served in Argentina are a must-try if you like beef. Why is dry-aged beef so popular? When beef is aged, it tastes better, just like aged cheese or wine. It improves the tenderness and flavor of the meat. Argentine dry-aged beef is much cheaper than normal beef, but at home, it costs much more. We recommend trying the Elena Restaurant’s dry-aged t-bone steak in the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires.

Caldo de Gallina

In Peru, chicken soup is known as Caldo de gallina. In the soup, noodles accompany chicken bits and hard-boiled eggs. This dish is usually accompanied by an ahi (sauce) bowl. There was only a charge of six soles (about $1.80) for a bowl of Caldo de Gallina.

Churrascarias 

For the best churrascaria experience, you need to go to Rio de Janeiro. Churrascarias are all-you-can-eat restaurants that serve skewered meats. The waitstaff patrols the dining room with large skewers of BBQ meat and a knife, making rounds from table to table. The picanha, or top sirloin steak, is the best cut at any churrascaria. Most of these restaurants also have bars serving all-you-can-drink-and-eat sushi, pasta, and salad. In addition, you’ll find fried bananas, farina (toasted cassava flour), and onions on your table when you sit down.

woman cooking popular guatmalan street food

Empanadas

In South America, empanadas are found in various flavors and forms, including fried or baked, vegetarian, seafood, chicken, beef, cheese, or a combination of ingredients. The phrase “wrapped in bread” refers to empanadas. Empanadas are filled pastries that are wrapped in flour dough. Empanadas are a popular dish in South America that can be found in many different places, from high-end restaurants to food stands at street fairs.

Parrilla 

In Spanish, the word “parrilla” refers to both grilled meat and steakhouses. This term is also referred to as “Asado” (barbecue). You can find parrillas or asados anywhere in Argentina and Uruguay. The parrilla platter usually contains morcilla (blood sausage), chorizo (sausage), asado de tira (short ribs), mollejas (sweetbreads), matambre de cerdo (pork flank steak), bife de chorizo (sirloin strip steak), and chinchulines (intestines). It’s on a metal tray with a flame burner at the bottom and is brought to your table. In his “No Reservations” segment about food in Uruguay, Anthony Bourdain noted Mercado del Puerto in Montevideo as highly recommended.

Salchipapas

The salchipapas are fried hot dogs topped with ketchup and local sauces and served with French fries. Ecuador and Peru have a wide variety of street food to choose from. Ecuadorian salchipapas differ from Peruvian ones in how they are presented. The common method for many Ecuadorian street food chefs is to cut the hotdogs crosswise before frying them up to add an appealing look.

Chorrillana 

Chileans eat chorrillana all day long. Chorrillana is usually served in big bowls, large enough for two, made of beef steak strips, fried eggs, a lot of onions, and French fries. In Chile, the Casino Social J Cruz was the best location to get chorrillana. This traditional Chilean dish is found throughout the country. It’s available as far south as Punta Arenas. For chorrillana, try The Galindo Restaurant in Bellavista, Santiago.

woman standing next to a street food stand in mexico city

Cuy 

Identifying cuy (grilled guinea pig) as one of those South American foods that travelers often hesitate to attempt is understandable. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, it’s definitely worth trying. Even just to say you’ve tried it.

Feijoada

Brazilians get together with friends and family every Saturday to have their favorite feijoada stew. This dish is made out of black beans, smoked pork, and pork spare ribs. While they eat, some people watch football (soccer) or listen to samba or bossa nova music. Pigs’ feet, tails, and ears are all examples of traditional dishes. It’s best to enjoy feijoada with a cold beer. You can get feijoada in Brazil from Sao Paulo to Florianopolis to Iguazu Falls, depending on the region.

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