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Allow Pedro Pascal to Introduce You to Chilean Snacks

By Alberto Cox Délano | Miscellaneous | March 2, 2023 |

By Alberto Cox Délano | Miscellaneous | March 2, 2023 |


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One crucial difference between the whitewashing-friendly culture of the US and Latin American culture is that recipes of our cuisines are consumed across class and racial divides, adjusting to budgets. Tortilla Soup will be a comfort food in the house of Carlos Slim as much as it will be in an indigenous town in Zacatecas, Ají de Gallina will be a Sunday treat in any working-class neighborhood of Lima as it would be in Miraflores (Lima’s Upper East Side) and arepas will be a quick lunch both for busy lawyers and taxi drivers in Bogotá. More so in Chile, a country that, historically, was much poorer and had fewer ingredients to work with compared to its neighbors. Chilean cuisine has always been more about the comfort and the calorie-packing than the flavor and variety of Caribbean or Peruvian dishes.

While promoting The Mandalorian in the UK, Pedro Pascal and Jon Favreau went to LADbible TV’s studios, for a new installment in their Snack Wars Series, pitting US against Chilean snacks. Even without Pedro Pascal repping the motherland, the US didn’t stand a chance. We Chileans are … disorderly in our eating habits, which is bad for cholesterol and insulin resistance, but terrific when perfecting the art of the snack. I’ll break it down for you with gratuitous screenshots of Pedro eating.

The US won round one, Reese’s Pieces vs. Super-8, because it’s hard to compete against peanut butter and chocolate. The latter is similar to a Kit-Kat, but less densely packed and with less chocolate in the coating. The legacy of being a formerly poor country. Great during the winters, but completely inedible during the long Summer season.

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The blowout begins in round two, with a standard McDonald’s quarter-pounder against our version of the empanada. Unlike our neighbors, ours are bigger, a full meal on their own, and filled with our version of ropa vieja: caramelized onions mixed with a chopped beef, olives, a hard-boiled egg and… SIGH, canonically, a couple of raisins. But it’s all about the interaction between the dough and filling.

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To further punch processed food down with culture and heritage, round three was Chilean-recipe alfajores vs some Mars chocolate cookies. An alfajor is technically a sandwich cookie in WASP-parlance, but the size is bigger, the dough is supposed to be soft and crumbly rather than crunchy, and filled with the Chilean version of Dulce de Leche, which is thicker and looked down upon by those snooty Argentinians. It’s the perfect sweet for a country that ranges from actual desert to Mediterranean-dry to rainy forest all of a sudden. They also try milkshakes against condensed milk with banana, which being fair, is more of a thing among older generations.

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Finally, it’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches vs. mashed avocado and our version of the baguette, the marraqueta (which is actually superior), or as Brooklyn hipsters call it, avocado toast. Or as obnoxious Boomer financial advisors call it, the reason we can’t afford houses anymore. There’s no contest here; it’s fresher, it’s healthier, it’s good for breakfast, midday snacks or afternoon tea. But allow me to get sidetracked here: Avocado toast made a recent list of the best sandwiches in the World, but they were listed AS A US INVENTION. WHAT IN THE KARDASHIAN-JENNERS KIND OF APPROPRIATION IS THIS? NO ONE INVENTED AVOCADO TOAST, IT’S A SPONTANEOUS FOOD, BUT WHOEVER THOUGHT OF IT FIRST WAS CERTAINLY NOT FROM THE US.

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Pedro further concluded his service to his country by stressing the cultural glory of Chilean bread. I wouldn’t say we make the best bread in the world, but we are the best at making bread with the three basic ingredients of flour, yeast, and water. It is also the bane of our existence, and the main reason I have a pot belly: You can actually eat it without anything on it. Still, it was an inspired choice to finish the video with avocado and marraqueta, shout-out to LADbible for doing their research. Here’s a few further tips:

1) If you want to try Chilean food in the US, you’ll be great if it’s in California, Chicago, or the Northeast. But don’t try it if the reastaurant is in Florida, because they’ll probably be GOPers and Pinochet-supporters who take the onion out of the empanadas to make them less-spicy. Also, the weather is too hot and humid for our type of food. If you’re in Australia, you’ll be fine in any Chilean restaurant.

2) Missing from the list is the Sopaipilla, which is basically a fried tortilla, meant as a blank-canvas for you to top with ketchup, pickled stuff, avocado and mustard. They’re the ultimate street-snack, and mostly safe to eat from any cart.

3) If you’re visiting Chile and want to try a no-frills, everyday dinery or eating hole by the side of the highway, make sure you choose the ones with Coca-Cola-sponsored banners over the ones sponsored by Cristal, the most popular local beer. The latter are usually too worn-down and there are one too-many drunkards.

4) Never, ever trust a Chilean person that tells you that Chilean cuisine is better than Peruvian. We know our limits.

5) Do not try our… approach to Hot-Dogs (“Completo”). We have a problem, it’s too late for us, but not for you.

Alberto Cox would like to know… is this going to be his most-clicked article ever? SERIOUSLY? Not the film reviews? Or the essays on culture or politics? You’re too thirsty people. Too thirsty. Ok, yes, I’m shamlessly self-plugging myself h… Oh god, I’m phrasing myself. See what you are doing to my language?