Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Latin America & Caribbean >
Oct 19, 2006 12:45 AM

"Safe" Food in Chili

Looking forward to a 5 week trip to Chili in April. After reading the posts here, I am concerned about staying healthy. Love trying all food but from reading the posts here it seems that it is a given that you will become sick. I realize this is not going to be a gourmet food holiday but does anyone have opinions on what is really safe to eat? My husband and I are really comfortable and love any food experiences. Thanks for any advice.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Chile (spelled with an 'e') should be no problem in terms of keeping healthy. When you travel anywhere, it sometimes takes a while for your body to adjust to the local water, but aside from that, you should have no problems. Water in Chile is potable (unlike many parts of Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, etc), so though you might want to start with bottled water at first, you should be fine. When you order drinks, they will generally be made from tap water (or ice made from tap water). I wouldn't worry about this at all (except maybe in extreme northern chile/atacama area).

    Eating wise, Chile is just as safe as the United States. I ate everything there and I was always fine....but general things like avoiding non-fresh seafood, making sure fried food is freshly fried, etc are a good idea. Definitely don't be afraid to try street food though...depending on where you go, there are lots of specialties...but try sopaipillas and empanadas and mote con huesillos! In the south there are great fried potato pastries on the street too.

    Chile would not be my choice for the best food vacation, but it still has a lot to offer. Have fun!

    1. Dave MP. I returned to check my post and laughed when I read "Chili" Believe me, I am aware that Chili should be "Chile". (Should have edited my post). Thank-you for your information.

      1. Deborah,

        I havent perused many of the other posts here, but i find it surprising that the general concensus is you would get "sick" in Chile. Chile, for all intents and purposes, is a first world nation. Well developed, good health standards, it would be just like visiting Los Angeles or another American city like that.

        The food culture in Chile is actually very diverse: because Chile is so ... "long", and covers such a diverse number of climates, they actually produce a tremendous amount of agricultural products, meat products, and fish a lot from the sea.

        If your SO and yourself love food experiences, you'll have a great time there. They have some amazingly fresh fruit - i spent 4 days in Arrica just drinking fresh fruit juice. My favorite steak meal on the planet is probably in Santiago (Los Vacas Gordas.. serves Aregentinian beef, at amazing prices). Seafood can be very fresh, but buy only from reputable places - i even had sushi in Santiago, and it was pretty good! Conger eel was particularly fresh and abundant. Shellfish as well, though i got sick on some shellfish, so you must be careful as to the handling conditions.

        From seafood to empanadas, to sopaipilla, to a variety of sopa's, to churrasco's, the food is diverse. And the wine is divine! Be selective in your choices, try the street food, and enjoy the culture and the atmosphere. Surprisingly, 5 weeks won't seem like enough, but i know you'll have a great time!

        2 Replies
        1. re: yen

          Good suggestions. I had a birthday meal at La Vaca Gorda 4 years ago and it was great....I ate there at least 10 times during my time in Chile, and it ranged from fantastic to just pretty good. Steak was generally good there, but it was not the best steak I had in Chile. The prices are indeed cheap though, and assuming it's the same as it was four years ago, they serve awesome little cheese empanadas as a free appetizer. Definitely a fun environment, and a stroll around Barrio Brazil is nice too after a meal.

          Dave MP

          1. re: Dave MP

            I forgot about those empanadas - they are divine. Their Caipirinhias are awesome too (maybe a bit too good).

            Your assessment of the steak is spot on though. I was there 4 times in a 6 week span, and it really did range from great to decent. But at $3 US for 2 bacon wrapped Filets, you can't complain.

            Man, the memories :)