More experiences with Chilean food...

Santiago Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 12 › view all entries
Well, we leave Chile in left than a week... que lastima! I must say I've never wanted to stay in one place more than I want to stay here. In fact, one of the guys in our class (the American from South Dakota) actually did change his travel plans to stay for the rest of the semester-- talk about really loving a place! I've decided that Santiago, Chile is most definitely one of the places I WILL go back to, no matter what. City life seems to be the lfe for me, apparently!

Nothing on the trip so far has really thrown me for a loop: where ever we have gone, we're not treated as the stereotypical, arrogant Americans, but rather as just another group of foreigners. Sure, the people we come in day to day contact with talk really fast and have the tendency to drop their "s"'s, but we've more or less gotten used to it. We definitely understand them better!

One of the only "problems" on the trip has, I suppose, our vegetarianism. It really helps that Emily, my best friend and fellow vegetarian, is traveling with me. That way, when we go to restaurants, there's two of us they have to accomodate rather than only one obstinate person. However, no one in Santiago really seems to understand the concept of vegetarianism. For example, our host mom here at the house constantly tells us that we must be weak, or chronically sick, because we don't eat meat. She also told us she doesn't feel it's a meal unless there is meat involved (meat in your cereal, anyone?) Luckily, we just ignore her whenever she talks like that, and she feeds us great food (without meat), so it's not that big of a deal.

The second funny incident that occured was on Emily's mom's birthday, when we went to this restaurant that looks like a jungle from the outside-- it's right in the middle of a busy intersection, rather like a food oasis. If you can brave crossing the street, you're invited into a lush tropical scene that completely blocks the view of the surrounding cars. When we arrived, the place was basically empty, and our pan (bread) was brought quickly. Most of the menu was meat based, so Emily asked our waiter (an older man of about 60; maybe this was why he didn't understand the concept of vegetarianism) what he recommended that didn't have meat.

He pointed to "Aves" (bird. Usually in Chile, ave is either chicken or sometimes turkey). Emily explained we don't eat any meat, including birds. He said, "But pollo (chicken) is very good." Again, no. So he said, in Spanish of course, "Well our fish is very good as well. Try the salmon." At this point, Emily and I both decided he definitely did NOT understand us, so we said it was fine, but he proceeded to get pretty frustrated and said, "I don't know, then!" and stormed off. Luckily for us, the conniption appeared to be brief, and when he returned we ordered again (veggie salad with rice for a side).

Luckily for us, we have found three (yes, three!) only-vegetarian places in Chile. Out of the three, two are really really good. One is El Huerto, which is located in the heart of Providencia (the neighborhood in which we live), and the other is El Naturista, which is in downtown Santiago (close to La Moneda, cerca to Calle Huerfanos). El Huerto is a little more expensive than El Naturista, and for this I like El Naturista more, but the food is amazing at both places. Actually, if it weren't for these two restaurants, I may be a little more disappointed about Santiago. Yay that it's not the case!
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3,759 km (2,336 miles) traveled
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photo by: Bluetraveler