People travel to South America for many reasons, top among them adventure, history, and culture. Increasingly, South America is also becoming a travel destination because of its food. With distinctive cuisines and innovative flavors, several cities in the Latin American south have much to offer discerning palates.
Argentina – The capital city of Buenos Aires is the epicenter of Argentina’s gastronomic delights. In this cosmopolitan city it is possible to sample a variety of international cuisines, but the specialty is a national one, and that is grilled meat. Think succulent steaks of beef, fine cuts of lamb, and juicy, flavorful pork. A parrilla is a restaurant that specialized in grilled meat. Outside of Buenos Aires, cities like Bariloche and Mendoza hold their own in cuisine, and it is possible to find meats such as rabbit, boar, and deer.
Peru – In a country that has seen its star rising in the culinary universe, Lima is where food travelers can go to sample national standards (lomosaltado, aji de gallina, causarellena) as well as regional specialties (from the coast, the Andes, and the Amazon). As well, Peru’s cuisine is known for international influences, both from immigrant groups (Chinese, Middle Eastern) and from global trends. On a trip to Machu Picchu, Cusco also presents its fair share of top restaurants. Travel to Peru with an empty stomach because you’re sure to find a plethora of options to fill it.
Brazil – This country’s 2 largest cities, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are also gastronomic delights. Both cities concentrate an endless number and dizzying variety of restaurants, from ones that focus on Brazilian dishes to others that innovate and combine flavors. Sao Paulo has notable Japanese, Lebanese, and other immigrant influences, and as the south hemisphere’s main city for business in South America, also attracts food and restaurant trade fairs at an international level.
Chile – Santiago is probably the last place most travelers think about when brainstorming foodie destinations, but the city of Santiago (and the country as a whole) has experienced great economic growth and foreign investment in the recent past, coinciding with the appearance of top restaurants that bear definite global influences. Do a bit of research and you’ll find that some of these have justly gained renown at an international level.
Whether you travel to South America for food, adventure, business, culture, language-learning, or any combination of these, the country is an amazing city for exploration.