German Chilean food history is a study in harmony. Our world is so rife with conflict and confrontation that it can be easy to forget the things that all humans can bond over no matter where they are from. These bonding points include music, sport and of course food.
Whenever I think about the history of Chilean food, I am immediately warmed by the thought that the simple things in life are what truly make us human and of the same ilk.
Germany is located essentially on the other side of the planet from Chile but that did not matter when the first German settlers immigrated to Chile in the late 19th and early 20th century. These Germans brought with them the recipes of the father land and embraced the culinary practices of their adopted country.
A Bit of History of German Chilean Food
The history of Chilean food is inexorably tied to German culture. As I have already stated, the first German immigrants arrived on the shores of Chile between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. These European settlers made their communities in the Southern and as of yet un-established area of Chile.
The Germans thrived here and among their number were all kinds of tradesman, scientists, beer-brewers and of course chefs. Soon, the German community began to mingle and assimilate to the native Chileans and this is where the love affair between German and Chilean cuisine took place.
Today, a visit to Chile will undoubtedly include delving into the cooking practices of both Germany and Chile. You can sit down at a shcoperia (essentially a beer house) in Santiago and be treated to popular Chilean beer that was crafted by German brewmasters. You will also be treated to a menu that you may not expect to find in South America- menus that include German brats, hotdogs and sandwiches.
After all the influence the Germans had on Chilean dishes however, what can be easily eaten throughout Chile has a definite retention of Latin flare. In the end, German Chilean food is a perfect melding of the two styles and an altogether unique branch of cuisine that is a must for any exploratory diner.
Thankfully, pairing of German and Chilean foods has been refined over the centuries to a masterpiece medley of tasty entrees. For example, you will commonly find sauerkraut paired as a side to more traditional Chilean dishes like Pernil which is essentially a pork hock veiled in a fatty skin that hides a succulent and tender meat underneath.
Resembling something that Americans would recognize as meatloaf is German Roast or Asado Aleman. In Chilean restaurants, you will find this dish in menus that may be otherwise devoid of German-influenced dishes but it is well-worth a taste. It usually includes hardboiled egg and sometimes included within the actual loaf which is made of ground beef, you will find cooked carrots.
If you thought you had to travel to Germany for a unique Oktoberfest celebration think again. Many Chilean cities due to the large German community therein celebrate this German festival. Should you happen to be in Chile during Oktoberfest, you can enjoy a Chilean dish that has been very Germanly dubbed Escalopa Kaiser. This dish is a breaded and fried sandwich with sliced beef, cheddar, ham and topped with another slice of beef.
Over the years, German-influenced dishes have been popularized in many South American countries including Brazil, adding to the extended palette of flavors that can be found throughout the Latin world. Chile and all of Latin America offer some of the most sought after dishes in the world and if you would like to learn more about them check out the article Latin Food.