Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ñam, ñam

This weekend, Santiago is hosting the Ñam food festival, a showcase of foods produced in Chile.

In front of me in this photo is a sandwich called chacarero. Mine was made on the Chilean bread staple, the marraqueta. It started with sliced beef, but not just any beef. This was wagyu.

I have all but given up eating beef here unless it's ground because I'm convinced that Chilean cows run up and down the Andes every day. Most beef here is tough, stringy, and dry. Eating it is like trying to chew shoe leather, but the wagyu was a different story. Tender, juicy, and flavorful.

So what's that other stuff on the sandwich? The red is obviously tomato, but what about those green things? That, folks, is green beans. A chacarero comes topped with sliced tomatoes and steamed green beans. This one was also slathered in a spicy sauce.

"Do you like picante?" asked the food truck lady.

"Picante, picante? Or Chilean picante?" I asked her because most things that Chileans consider spicy "hot" taste barely seasoned to me.

She mistook my question and replied, "Medio picante, entonces." You want slightly spicy.

"No, no. Full picante." I assured her.

My sandwich came dripping with hot sauce. As I balanced my plate to walk away, she handed me a pile of napkins. It was a good thing, too, because between the hot sauce, the juicy meat, and the green beans scattering like autumn leaves, it was a messy scene. Picante and, oh, so ñami.

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