We all love a list of foods not to miss when travelling! South America is one of our favourite continents to travel to. One of the reasons why we loved it so much is because of the incredible food and meals to be eaten along the way. Here are our top 5 foods in South America, and let us tell you that it was very hard to only pick five. And our tip when searching for the best foods in South America; street food is often the best choice, tasty and very affordable!

Best foods to try in Oaxaca tamales

Ok, let’s do this! Our Top 5 foods in South America are listed below.

1. Tamales in Ecuador

Tamales are found in a few countries of South and Central America but are abundant in Ecuador. Tamale is a traditional dish made of starch and filling, wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf. Do not eat the wrapper; it simply keeps the filling together while being steamed.

There are various fillings. When the Aztecs and Mayans created tamales, the filling was quite simple; it consisted of squash or beans. As they are very portable, it was the food for people on the move.

Europeans brought more ingredients and these days the filling is a mixture of cornmeal (masa), meat, vegetables, and spices. They are quite cheap and make an excellent snack in between meals.

foods in south america Tamales in Ecuador

Tamales in Ecuador are so delicious. These have to be on your list of best foods in South America

2. Salteñas in Bolivia

Salteñas are delicious savoury pastries filled with beef, chicken potatoes, peas, carrots, spices and even olives mixed together in a juicy broth. They come in a half-moon shape, baked at 500 degrees.

Most locals eat salteñas in the morning, and the best places can sell out by lunch. The city of Sucre is supposed to have the best salteñas in the country or so they say? Either way, salteñas are truly pockets of flavours not to be missed.

foods in south america Saltenas bolivia

These fried parcels of goodness are fantastic.

3. Ceviche in Peru

What is ceviche and how do you pronounce it? Ceviche (pronounced seh-vee-chay) is a seafood dish made from fresh raw fish cured in lemon or lime juice with a touch of chilli, onions, and coriander.

Some say it’s the answer to Peruvian sushi! As the fish is raw and cooked by the acidity of the juice, it must be prepared fresh, and it doesn’t require any cooking.

The town of Trujillo in Peru is known for its unique shark ceviche.

foods in south america ceviche

Ceviche is such a delicious dish. So fresh!

4. Cazuela in Chile

A delicious stew made with potatoes, quinoa, capsicum, chilli, corn, and your choice of protein. Chicken is the most popular meat to use in this dish, however other meats such as turkey, beef or pork will work too.

It’s common for these stews to be served with noodles or rice to bulk it out and serve more people. The key factor in preparing Chilean cazuela is to cook all ingredients separately, and then combine them when ready to eat. Did you know that this dish gets its name from the cazuela pot. Traditionally, this is what a cazuela is cooked in.

There is a particular way in which Chilean people eat this dish. It is usually eaten by consuming the liquid broth first, then the meat and afterwards, the larger vegetables.

foods in south america Cazuela

Cazuela. Photo credit to wikipedia.org

5. Pastel in Brazil

Pastel is Brazil’s famous and favourite snack! It is a deep-fried stuffed thin-crust pastry, sweet or savoury, eaten throughout the day, as a mooring snack, lunch or afternoon treats.

The origins of Pastel are linked with the Japanese immigrants who opened the first Chinese restaurants in Brazil. Every restaurant served spring rolls, and the locals deiced to create a Brazilian version.

My favourite pastel is one filled with bananas and served with Caldo de Cana (freshly pressed sugar cane juice).

foods in south america Pastel in Brazil

I love these delicious treats! The best foods in South America are ones that are cooked with love..just like pastels.

Want to read a more comprehensive list of foods in South America? Read 15 dishes worth travelling to South America for by Traveller.com.au

Best Food Tours in South America

We hope you enjoyed reading about our recommendation about the 5 most popular foods in South America. What is your favourite South American dish? Let us know in the comments below.

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