As Americans, we already see food in the name itself. Chili - yes please! To some surprise, the cuisine has actually reminded much of plates in the states, and tends to actually taste more bland than other typical latin american dishes, but they sure have their favorites and popular must tries!
Empanadas have become my go-to. On any street, restaurant, café or street corner, you have the chance to taste at every turn of the city. With a variety of fillings, these little meat pies come with various meats and veggies and cheese, but their typical empanada is an empanada de pino. Not piño like pineapple, this pino consists of beef and onion and sometimes olives. An easy and delicious selection when in doubt.
Sopaipillas are fried little pastries often paired with pebre, a pepper sauce that looks like a salsa. My host family has served them at dinners on multiple occasions, and I've tried them as a little appetizer at a restaurant once before. The pebre is a great little touch, and I found out my host brother loves to eat it with ketchup if you're risky to give that one a try! Chileans are also known for some of their signature beverages. Pisco is the infamous drink of Chile, often paired with Coca-Cola to make a piscola, or the classic pisco sour. Being in one of the wine regions of the world, Chile also has many vineyards and is home to Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Carménère, Merlot, and many more. Mote con huesillo is a staple beverage in Chile as well, composed of peaches and wheat, which is what mote con huesillo directly translates to.
In general, bread is a huge fan favorite. I think my host family would not have a complete meal without incorporating pancito somehow. And I think I've managed to try a different type of bread with each sitting. Avocados, or paltas as they are called here, are very popular as well and easily added to many dishes. Palta is actually a specific term to Chile and a few other Latin American countries, as in Spanish it is generally referenced as aguacate. Chicken and rice is a popular go-to meal, and with each dinner, my host mom typically has celery, tomatoes, avocado, or lettuce on the side which they call ensalada or a salad. I can't say I've tried something I haven't liked so far!