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Top 8 Must-Try Street Foods in South America for Foodies

Top 8 Must-Try Street Foods in South America for Foodies

If you are a food lover, you will not want to miss the amazing street foods that South America has to offer. From crispy pastries to fresh seafood, from sweet desserts to spicy snacks, there is something for every taste and budget. Here are some of the most iconic and delicious street foods that you can find in different countries of this diverse continent.

1. Empanadas - Argentina

Street Foods in South America

Empanadas are one of the most popular and versatile street foods in Argentina. They are pastry pockets filled with various ingredients, such as meat, cheese, vegetables, or fruits. They can be baked or fried, and they come in different shapes and sizes. You can find them in bakeries, cafes, and street stalls all over the country. Some of the most common flavors are beef, ham and cheese, chicken, corn, and dulce de leche.

2. Ceviche - Peru and Ecuador

Street Foods in South America

Ceviche is a refreshing and healthy dish made with raw fish marinated in citrus juice, usually lime or lemon. The acid from the juice cooks the fish and gives it a tender and tangy texture. Ceviche is usually seasoned with salt, pepper, onion, cilantro, and chili peppers. It is often served with corn, sweet potato, or plantain chips. Ceviche is considered the national dish of Peru, but it is also very popular in Ecuador and other coastal countries.

3. Coxinha - Brazil

Street Foods in South America

Coxinha is a Brazilian snack that resembles a chicken drumstick. It is made with shredded chicken and cream cheese wrapped in a dough, then breaded and deep-fried. Coxinha is crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, and it is usually served with a spicy sauce. Coxinha originated in São Paulo in the 19th century, and it is now one of the most beloved salgados (savory appetizers) in Brazil.

4. Arepas - Colombia and Venezuela

Street Foods in South America

Arepas are corn cakes that are a staple food in Colombia and Venezuela. They are made with cornmeal, water, salt, and sometimes cheese or butter. They can be grilled, baked, or fried, and they can be eaten plain or stuffed with various fillings, such as cheese, meat, eggs, beans, or avocado. Arepas are a versatile and satisfying street food that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

5. Choripan - Argentina and Uruguay

Street Foods in South America

Choripan is a simple but delicious sandwich made with grilled chorizo (sausage) and crusty bread. It is usually topped with chimichurri, a sauce made with parsley, garlic, vinegar, and oil. Choripan is a typical street food in Argentina and Uruguay, and it was created by the gauchos (cowboys) in the region in the 19th century. It is a great snack for meat lovers and a must-try for barbecue fans.

6. Tamales - Bolivia, Chile, and Peru

Street Foods in South America

Tamales are steamed corn dough parcels filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, or fruits. They are wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks, and they can be sweet or savory. Tamales are a traditional and ancient food in South America, dating back to the pre-Columbian times. They are especially popular in Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, where they are eaten for breakfast or as a snack.

7. Alfajores - Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay

Street Foods in South America

Alfajores are sweet sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche, a caramel-like spread made from milk and sugar. They can be coated with chocolate, powdered sugar, or coconut flakes, and they can have different flavors, such as vanilla, lemon, or coffee. Alfajores are a popular dessert and snack in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, and they are often sold in bakeries, supermarkets, and street vendors.

8. Patacones - Colombia and Ecuador

Street Foods in South America

Patacones are fried plantain slices that are smashed and fried again until crispy. They are seasoned with salt and sometimes garlic, and they can be eaten as a side dish or as a base for toppings, such as cheese, meat, salsa, or guacamole. Patacones are a common street food in Colombia and Ecuador, and they are also known as tostones in other parts of Latin America.

These are just some of the amazing street foods that you can find in South America. Whether you are looking for a quick bite, a hearty meal, or a sweet treat, you will not be disappointed by the variety and quality of the food that this continent has to offer. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your fork and start exploring!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are street foods?

Street foods are ready-to-eat foods or drinks that are sold by vendors or hawkers in public places, such as markets, streets, or fairs. They are usually cheap, convenient, and tasty, and they reflect the local culture and cuisine of the region.

Why should I try street foods in South America?

South America is a continent with a rich and diverse culinary heritage, influenced by indigenous, European, African, and Asian cultures. Street foods are a great way to experience the authentic flavors, ingredients, and techniques of each country, as well as to interact with the locals and learn about their traditions and customs.

What are some of the most popular street foods in South America?

Some of the most popular and iconic street foods in South America are:

  • Empanadas: pastry pockets filled with various ingredients, such as meat, cheese, vegetables, or fruits.
  • Ceviche: raw fish marinated in citrus juice, usually lime or lemon, and seasoned with salt, pepper, onion, cilantro, and chili peppers.
  • Coxinha: crispy croquettes filled with chicken meat and cream cheese, shaped into a chicken drumstick.
  • Arepas: corn cakes that can be grilled, baked, or fried, and eaten plain or stuffed with various fillings, such as cheese, meat, eggs, beans, or avocado.
  • Choripan: a sandwich made with grilled chorizo (sausage) and crusty bread, topped with chimichurri, a sauce made with parsley, garlic, vinegar, and oil.
  • Tamales: steamed corn dough parcels filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, or fruits, wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks.
  • Alfajores: sweet sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche, a caramel-like spread made from milk and sugar, and coated with chocolate, powdered sugar, or coconut flakes.
  • Patacones: fried plantain slices that are smashed and fried again until crispy, seasoned with salt and sometimes garlic, and eaten as a side dish or as a base for toppings, such as cheese, meat, salsa, or guacamole.

How can I find street foods in South America?

Street foods are widely available in South America, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations. You can find them in street stalls, carts, trucks, markets, fairs, or festivals. You can also ask the locals for recommendations, or use online platforms, such as TasteAtlas, to discover the best street foods and where to find them in each country.

How can I enjoy street foods safely in South America?

Street foods are generally safe to eat in South America, as long as you follow some basic precautions, such as:

  • Choose busy and reputable vendors, who have good hygiene practices and use fresh ingredients.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked foods, especially meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy products.
  • Opt for hot and cooked foods, which are less likely to be contaminated by bacteria or parasites.
  • Wash your hands before and after eating, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Drink bottled water or boiled drinks, and avoid ice cubes, tap water, or unpasteurized juices.
  • Be aware of any food allergies or intolerances you may have, and ask the vendors about the ingredients and preparation methods of the foods.

If you experience any symptoms of food poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or abdominal pain, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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