150 Iconic Dishes Slideshow: South America
June 2, 2015
150 of the world’s beloved dishes, from today’s most popular street foods to traditional classics
A parrillada mixta is a mixture of meat and poultry, grilled and served together, and it’s one of the country’s most popular dishes. It is served everywhere from fine dining establishments, like Buenos Aires’ Cabaña Las Lilas, to the cheap and much-loved Carritos food stands around town.
Feijoada was originally brought to Brazil by Portuguese colonizers, though Brazilians have since updated it and made it their own. It is a stew with beans, salted pork and beef, bacon, smoked sausage, and spices. Two iconic Rio de Janeiro restaurants serve renowned feijoada — the upscale Casa de Feijoada and the low-key Aconchego Carioca.
Cooked and served universally throughout Latin America, the empanada is the national dish of Chile. They are most often filled with shredded beef, beans with cheese, or fish. Two great jumping off points for Chilean empanadas are La Punta and Las Hermanas in Santiago.
Chile: Pastel de Choclo
Pastel de choclo is something you’ll see on a large majority of menus throughout Chile. It is essentially a meat pie made with puréed corn, ground beef or chicken, and a handful of other fillings, from onions and garlic to raisins. Santiago’s famed Galindo restaurant is home to one of the city’s tastiest versions.
Colombia: Bandeja Paisa
The story is that bandeja paisa originated with Andean people, but there is heavy debate over which town serves the best today: Medellín or Bogotá. Traditionally, it consists of beans, rice, chicharrónes (pork skin), meat or chorizo, plantains, avocado, and a fried egg. Stop into El Portal de la Antigua for one of Bogotá’s best.
Grenada: Oil Down
An oil down, which inherently sounds like a guilty pleasure, is a soup made of salted meat, chicken, coconut milk, turmeric, taro leaves, dumplings, curry powder, and breadfruit. It’s often cooked and eaten communally at parties and during afternoons with family and friends, but this long-loved island dish can also be sampled at Boots Cuisine in St. George.
Guyana: Guyana Pepperpot
The pepperpot is often a special-occasion dish in Guyana; it’s a very long-cooking, blood-red stew with meat, cinnamon, cassava juice, and peppers. One of the best places to try it, and thus turn your night into a special occasion, is at the Coal Pot Restaurant in Georgetown.
Paraguay: Sopa Paraguaya
Don’t let the name fool you. Though "sopa paraguaya" literally means Paraguayan soup, this traditional dish is more like a cornbread made with cheese. It’s served at an asado, which is a special feast where meats like beef, pork, and sausages are served. Try your first (or 20th) sopa paraguaya at Lido Bar in Asunción.
Ceviche is ubiquitous throughout Peru, even served at restaurants that aren’t traditionally Peruvian. It is raw fish that is "cooked" in an acidic citrus marinade of lime and lemon juice, with chile. It’s often served with Peruvian corn or avocado. Two of the best ceviches in Lima include those at the new, hot El Mercado and of course at the acclaimed La Mar.
Asado, which more or less translates to barbecue, inherently brings people together, whether for a holiday or for a family feast. Grilled alongside other meats, the beef can be seasoned and prepared a number of ways. Asado y Milonga in Punta del Este is the place to go to sample it for yourself.