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Chile, Eel Stew

December20

Picture courtesy of http://gastronomichael.blogspot.co.uk/

Sometimes things just taste good. And sometimes they taste better than they should because of the context. So arriving off a cold overnight bus from Argentina into Chile’s bewildering capital bus terminal (one of many, I later found, running full pelt to a different station miles down the road with a full backpack) calls for some special food.

It was about 6am, and the city was completely deserted. Not spookily so, but in a calm and slightly surreal way. Like some enchanted mist had settled – and strangely chilly for a city boasting an average heat of 30C.

It took me about twenty minutes to walk to the central market, which was lively by comparison, but only with staff setting up. I didn’t really expect to be able to get anything to eat, but soon found a likely looking place with chairs battered enough to suit my penchant for grubby eateries. No-one spoke English, but the signs were clear enough. Caldillo, in big letters, was basically the only thing they served.

Caldillo, for the uninitiated, is a hugely hearty fish soup-stew, complete with potatoes, cream, coriander and big hunks of eel. When you’re cold, tired and a little lost there is absolutely nothing better to eat. It’s hot, rich, comforting and the eel adds a far richer flavour and texture than other white fish.

It’s the kind of dish where everyone’s mother does it best, but in my opinion there is no better place than a little stall stuffed at the back of Mercado Central in Santiago.

The stalls double up as fishmongers and purveyors of stew, so even at 6am you can get a warming bowl. I took up a little plastic stool outside one of the fish sellers and within seconds had a rich bowl of amazing stew. Thick, creamy, delicious, and costing around $3. The perfect breakfast.

posted under Chile
113 Comments to

“Chile, Eel Stew”

  1. On February 6th, 2015 at 11:52 am Nelson Says:

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  2. On February 6th, 2015 at 12:25 pm brett Says:

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  3. On February 6th, 2015 at 12:55 pm Danny Says:

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  4. On February 8th, 2015 at 8:03 am Robert Says:

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  5. On February 8th, 2015 at 1:44 pm roger Says:

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  6. On February 9th, 2015 at 4:28 am thomas Says:

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  7. On February 9th, 2015 at 11:30 am jonathan Says:

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  8. On February 10th, 2015 at 4:02 am isaac Says:

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    good!!…

  9. On February 10th, 2015 at 10:15 pm Mark Says:

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  10. On February 11th, 2015 at 5:09 pm terry Says:

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  11. On February 12th, 2015 at 11:53 pm wesley Says:

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  12. On February 13th, 2015 at 2:54 am David Says:

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  13. On February 13th, 2015 at 11:09 pm Theodore Says:

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