I already mentioned how much Chileans seem to like hot dogs, but the more I walk around in Santiago, the more true my initial observation is. Chile’s fast food choice is the perrito caliente with a mound of different condiments. The most popular take on this “delicacy” usually found at ball games in North America is the completo, a wiener (known in Chile as “Vienesa”) on a toasted roll with sauerkraut then buried under a thick layer of mashed avocado, chopped tomatoes, and two cups worth of mayo.
Then come the A lo pobre (eggs, fried onions and cheese), the Alemán (tomatoes, sauerkraut and mayo), the Italiano (diced tomatoes, avocado and mayo), the Rodeo (cheese, BBQ sauce and bacon), the Simple (diced tomatoes and mayo), the Suizo (tomatoes, cheese and mayo)… Yes, mayo is the condiment of choice.
In Santiago, the Portal Fernández Concha on Plaza Las Armas is “hot dog central” with fancier restaurants (your hot dog will be brought by a waiter) and simpler places where you sit at the counter. Otherwise, you can get your fix at fast-food chains like Juan Maestro, Schopdog, Doggies or Tarragona. Don’t feel like “going out to eat”? Eh, let’s go crazy honey, let’s make hot dogs tonight! Head to the supermarket, there is an entire aisle dedicated to hot dog condiments, pickles and onions sold in plastic bags. And of course, every bakery has tons of hot dog buns.
Feng had hot dogs a couple of times but he wasn’t too impressed, especially by the amount of cold sauce on the wiener. As for Mark, he likes his hot dog plain and he eats the meat, then the bun.
I… don’t like hot dogs. It’s psychological. I don’t mind a good burger but a hot dog seems like the laziest fast food item ever. I mean, step one, slice bread open, step two, fit the wiener in it. Come on! Opening a pack of chips takes more efforts!
On our last day in Santiago, we also took Mark to his first bar ever. Relax, it was the middle of the afternoon, I had a Coke and we were sitting at the terrace. He was really proud to sit with us and have his own Sprite that came in a glass bottle.
The mystery remains: why are Chileans so into hot dogs?