Empañadas are bound to become your round-the-clock, go-to chow in Santiago. That’s because every empañada – no matter what the filling - starts with a rich, melt-in-your-mouth, flakey crust that’s almost impossible to tire of. The name comes from the Spanish verb, empanar which means, wrapped or coated in bread. In Chile, the dough is made with lard, which explains its irresistible flavor, and then filled with a mixture called pino consisting of ground beef, olives, hard-boiled eggs, and onion. The dough is folded over the filling, pinched closed, then either baked or deep-fried, and eaten by hand.
Mote con huesillos falls on the stranger end of world beverages, but it’s definitely worth a try in Santiago. This syrupy beverage is the result of peach nectar and dried peaches (huesillos) sweetened with sugar, spiced with cinnamon and mixed with husked wheat (mote). The small white mote pearls sit at the bottom of the tea-colored liquid and are eaten with a spoon once the liquid is drunk. Chileans are often heard saying, “Más chileno que el mote con huesillo,” more Chilean than a mote con huesillo.
Few visit Santiago without a trip up Cerro San Cristobal because the view from the top is just too darned remarkable to miss! Santiago’s second-highest point is almost 3,000 feet above sea level that you can reach either by cable car or funicular. Once a top, the expanse is breathtaking, with the majestic Andes looming in the distance. Standing at the highest point of Cerro San Cristobal is a statue of Virgin Mary and chapel where you can rest or reflect on your magical journey to the Southern Hemisphere.