Food is a wonderful reason to travel. In fact, for many people, it’s why they travel! Think about tt: we can spend entire trips around what new foods we want to try, what chefs we want to meet, and what restaurants we just can’t wait to snag a table at. In South America, it’s no different! Perfect for those craving unique family vacations, make your next trip South of the equator a culinary one.
Read below for our top four culinary destinations in South America, and of course, what to eat while you’re there.
In Brazil, like most of South America, a meal isn’t just about eating. It’s about community. As big as the country is, every region has its own dish; but no matter where you go, it’s always enjoyed over hours-long gatherings centered around sharing, conversation, and spending quality time with family and friends. With a culinary side influenced by different parts of Europe and Asia, go to Brazil to feast on moqueca: a seafood stew with diced tomatoes, peppers, onions and rice in a steaming clay pot. For a snack, acarajé—a deep-fried patty made of crushed black-eyed peas, palm oil, puréed onions, dried shrimp and vatapá—should curb your craving. But above all, in Brazil, it’s all about the meat. In fact, if you go to Brazil and don’t try its wood-fired churrasco… have you even gone to Brazil?
Drawing influences from the Incas, Japan, China, Italy and even Spain, the food in Peru is as diverse as it is delicious. Wander through the food markets of Lima or Cusco, and you’ll find bins overflowing with colorful local fruits, purple potatoes, bright green vegetables, homemade tamales, and huge bags of rice, quinoa, cacao and other foodstuffs grown right there in its rolling landscapes. A good ceviche (which is basically just fresh fish cured in citrus juice) is a staple starter here, as is “causa,” a dish that layers mashed potatoes and seafood. Your kids will love lomo saltado—a mix of stir-fried sirloin with vegetables, French fries and rice—and if you want to be a little daring, pair Peru’s ever-popular pisco sour with deep-fried guinea pig. It’s a delicacy there!
Beautiful Argentina is a food-lovers paradise. It’s known for its wine, it’s a major exporter of beef and grains, and asado—a feast of grilled meats and vegetables—is one of its most important culinary traditions. Eat here, and your kids will fall in love with empanadas, or fried dough pockets stuffed with everything from chorizo to beef. When planning unique family vacations to this part of the world, make time for asado (which is really more of a celebration than a meal), and when you’re there, pair your meats with the garlic-fueled Chimichurri sauce, a specialty in Argentina. For a sweet ending to your day, treat yourself to a sugary “dulce de leche,” a sweet caramel sauce that flavors many desserts in Argentina, like cake, flan, ice cream and more.