Experiences with Food in Chile- Cameron Weiner

Alzar School | 19.03.14

My first introduction to Chilean food was a warm fresh out of the firer empanada in Los Queñes.  In soiled clothes fresh off of a five hour drive, we walked through the tiny town of Los Queñes.  The fist thing we saw as we rounded a corner on to the main street was Sean biting into a golden empanada.  Immediately we all had to try one.  Refusing to tell us what was his favorite empanada was, Sean let us scramble with broken spanish to try and ask what was in a ‘pino’ or ‘mariscos’ empanada.  I finally decided to order a pino empanada which has (according to the empanada lady): beef, onions, a hard boiled egg, and olives.  After the woman in the back slowly but surely built my empanada and fried it, I chowed down.  Half way through the tasty empanada, I suddenly bit down on something very hard.  Looking inside the empanada I realized that the olive that was in the empanada still had a pit in it, which was  weird surprise.  That was our first experience with Chilean food.

My next experience with Chilean food was sopapillas on our Rio Nuble expedition trip a few days later.  A older couple was camping a few camp sites away from us and they invited us over to their tent area.  Our huge gringo group ran over to their site to be welcomed with huge smiles and piping sopapillas.  A sopapilla is basically a big delicious beignet.  It was the first time for most of us to have sopapillas.  We went around and asked the man and wife questions and tried to speak in spanish.

The great thing about our food experiences in Chile was that they always offered us a new experience in speaking spanish and trying new foods.  Food is such an important part of every culture, and it offered us an amazing gateway to the way Chileans interact.  Food also offers us a great opportunity to try to speak spanish specially because we have all learned food vocabulary so everyone can use what spanish they know.  I am so excited that I have been able to eat delicious food and connect with Chileans over something that we can both talk about