When people first arrive in Chile they are amazed by the amazing variety of seafood and fish. But often the are confused with menus and have no idea what they are ordering. This handy chart will help you order like a pro!
The fish on menus depends on the area you are in. In Santiago, Chile, you’ll likely see Jaibas (crab) and various types of fish: Reneita (Pomfret), Merluza (hake), Salmon, and Corvina (similar to sea bass ). On the coast, you’ll see those along with Machas (a delicious type of clams) and more fish like Congrio (actually an eel but tastes like fish) and Locos (like abalones but smaller).
Below is a full chart of fish and seafood in chile, what they are like, how they taste!
|Merluza (Hake fish)||Flaky, soft, white fish with a similar texture and flavor to cod. Mild tasting. If you order fried fish, it’s usually Merluza. In the market, you can buy a smaller type of merluza called Pescada. Delicious!|
|Almejas (Clams)||Pretty much the same as you’d expect.|
|Reneita (Pomfret fish)||One of the few fish that doesn’t taste fishy!. A savory flavor that does not have the strong odor. Tastes great when grilled!|
|Choritos (mussel, small)||Taste the same and prepared similarly to the black mussels from where you are from. But they are small ones.|
|Jurel (Mackerel Fish)||Tastes like tuna. Oily, strongly flavored flesh. You buy it in a can just like tuna. It’s super cheap and healthy in a salad. Just takes a bit to get used to the distinct taste.|
|Salmon (Salmon Fist)||Salmon you get in Chile is farm raised so there are some contaminates and antibiotic usage. Nevertheless, it tastes great cooked or smoked or raw in sushi (most sushi has salmon in it). You can find smoked/cooked salmon in many restaurants.|
|Machas (Razor clams)||These things are unlike anything you’ve tried. These pink razor clams taste great with cheese or simply olive oil and garlic. They are small and flat so you end up eating a bunch.|
|Congrio (White eel)||Tasty fish, firm, mild white meat with a taste and texture similar to monkfish (but not as strong). Often served fried in beach towns. Also comes in stews and baked.|
|Cholgas (Large mussels)||You’ll find these in Valdivia and Chiloe. Tastes similar to the smaller mussels.|
|Corvina (like Sea bass)||White fleshy, medium fish. Comparable to Bass you’d get from the US. Great in ceviche. It’s not the same as the endangered Chilean sea bass so go ahead and try it!|
|Jaibas (Crabs)||Crabs! Served alone or in stews and soups. Order chupe de jaibas (with cheese and bread mixed) or pastel de Jaibas (similar with the cheese without the bread) for a creamy, chowder. A classic dish in Chile!|
|Cochayuyo (Kelp, Seaweed)||A brown seaweed with lots of health benefits: fat free, low in calories and high in protein, and has over 100% of the US daily allowance for fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, iodine, etc. Very smelly when raw but tasty and not strong at all when cooked, just a bit chewy.|
|Langostinos (prawns)||Shrimp more or less.|
|Lenguado (sole)||Fleshy, delicious, white, mild fish. Tastes good poached, grilled, or fried.|
|Locos (like abalones)||Chilean abalones have a delicate taste, similar to squid or scallops but with a different flavor. On the chewy side.|
|Erizos (sea urchins)||Kinda like foie gras, egg yolks, and pork belly, they are an acquired taste.|
|Ostras (oysters)||Chilean oysters are small and delicious. You can get them in some fishing and beach towns but may be a bit pricey to find in Santiago.|
|Ostiones (scallops)||Chileans leave the orange bit on with their scallops and sometimes even serve them with the shells. They are quite tasty, similar to shrimp but a bit firmer.|
|Pulpo (octopus)||Chewy, a bit chewier than Calamares (squid) you may have tried before. great in Peruvian restaurants served with olive or lemon sauce.|
|Picorocos (barnacles)||AWESOME! Taste somewhere between crab and lobster. Tons of flavor without adding anything.|
|Atun (tuna)||Standard Tuna. Great seared, in sushi, or in salads.|