The Astromaid Chronicles

Slow Travel, Creative Living, and Speculation

The Food is Bland

The title says it all, folks.

The food here is bland.

Maybe it’s the city I’m in. Maybe it’s a “Chilean thing”. Or maybe I’m just an over-salted, over-spiced American used to an assortment of cuisine from all corners of the globe, whether it’s in the aisles of the grocery store or from a variety of worldly restaurants.

But I have purchased far too many sandwiches and soups that left me thinking, “Wow, I could have done that better.”

Sandwiches are big here. Every restaurant, every menu features a variety of sandwiches. But they are mostly beef hamburgers or chicken, and not actually a variety at all. The differences tend to range from “Chicken on bread” to “Chicken on bread with avocado” to “Chicken on bread with avocado and tomato”.

I’m not kidding.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t had tasty things here; it’s just that it’s all dessert items. The brownies are to die for; tres leches cake is plentiful.

But that asparagus soup I had the other night? Yeah, mine is like two thousand times better. I salted the shit out of it, just for a semblance of flavor, and I never “salt things”.

I’m not sure what the local cuisine is yet. People eat a lot of meat, and maybe that’s just it. Grilling meat is the thing, and I’m not a meat eater. I eat it occasionally, whether out of pursuit of “trying new menu items” or because there’s no vegetarian-friendly option.

I was also shocked to learn that tortillas are not common here. The only ones I can find are in the “Mexico” section at the local Wal-Mart-esque store “Lider”, and they are flour tortillas and so crappy and not-food-like that I refuse to buy them ever again.

I guess the moral of the story is, I’m not in Mexico or Guatemala, and Central America is Central America and Chile is Chile. There are no corn tortillas here, no gordita stands lining the streets, and try as I might, I just cannot find a spice similar to the picante that I so love in Mexico.

I miss Mexican food. Even Luz commented the other day that what I cook tends to be very “mexicano”. Yeah, seriously. I’m going to buy corn flour soon so I can make my own corn tortillas. It’s come to that.

Luckily, I cook the majority of what goes in my mouth so I’m not suffering a lack of food or flavor. The local regular menus just leave a little to be desired…

Except the brownies. Those are perfectly fine.

2 Comments

  1. I felt a similar feeling when I traveled to Spain. I also was not expecting such a drastic difference from the Mexicano food I was used to. They eat a lot of bocadillos in Spain, too. Some were boring. Some were the greatest I've ever eaten. (This could also have to do with the fact that when you're traveling and have been living on granola that ANY sandwich hits the spot). The school children run around at recess with their bocadillos in hand! Also, a huge fad for kids is wear bright red shoes. This creates a funny image in my head… anywho, I did find some marvelous food in Spain not in bocadillo form. Por ejemplo, some to-die-for paella and mouthwatering tres leches. How is the seafood? And the Chilean wine? I don't know if you're a big wine fan but if you do happen to travel to some of the great wineries, perhaps all the way to Mendoza, do tell them that I will be there at some point in this lifetime. And that I plan on drinking their wine by the gallon. Ohhh, la la….

  2. Mmm, Spanish cuisine was delightful. I do remember running into some bland tapas, but, overall, the food was buenisima! The mariscos y vino aca son increibles; truly, even the cheapest wine at the supermarket (roughly equivalent to $3) is “not bad”. But the fine wines are effin awesome, and the seafood I've tried here thusfar has been on par with good seafood in America (but so far, not better). Again, it might have to do with seasoning standards. When I complete my Wino Tour 2012-2013 in Argentina, I will definitely leave your card with every winery in the country…and I'll let you know well in advance what to expect, sip by sip 🙂

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: