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Are there any gluten-free options in Chilean street food?

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Introduction: Chilean Street Food

Chilean street food is a vibrant and flavorful cuisine that reflects the country’s culture and history. From empanadas to completo hot dogs, Chilean street food offers an array of dishes that locals and tourists alike enjoy. The food stalls, or “carritos”, are found in different places around the country, and they offer a unique experience to taste the diverse flavors of Chile.

What is Gluten and Why do People Avoid it?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, among other grains. Many people avoid gluten due to celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestion of gluten. Others may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity or choose to avoid gluten for dietary or health reasons. Gluten can be hidden in many foods, including street food, which can pose a challenge for those who need to follow a gluten-free diet.

Gluten-Free Options in Chilean Street Food?

While many Chilean street foods contain wheat or bread, there are still gluten-free options available. For example, ceviche, a popular seafood dish, is typically gluten-free. Additionally, many vendors offer grilled meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes, which are naturally gluten-free. Some stalls also serve fried yuca, a root vegetable similar to a potato, which is gluten-free.

Traditional Chilean Dishes that are Gluten-Free

There are also traditional Chilean dishes that are naturally gluten-free. One popular dish is the Chilean stew called cazuela, which is made with beef, chicken, or pork, vegetables, and potatoes. Another traditional dish is pastel de choclo, a savory pie made with ground beef, onion, raisins, black olives, and topped with mashed corn. Chilean humitas, a type of tamale made with corn, are also gluten-free.

Places to Find Gluten-Free Food in Chilean Streets

Finding gluten-free food in Chilean streets may require some research, but it is possible. Some vendors may offer gluten-free options upon request, while others may have a separate menu for gluten-free alternatives. In Santiago, Mercado Central and the Vega Central are two popular food markets that offer a variety of fresh produce and seafood that are naturally gluten-free. There are also several cafes and restaurants in Santiago that cater to gluten-free diets.

Conclusion: Is it Possible to Enjoy Gluten-Free Chilean Street Food?

Chilean street food offers a unique and delicious culinary experience, but for those who need to follow a gluten-free diet, it can be challenging. However, there are still many gluten-free options available, including traditional dishes that are naturally gluten-free. With some research and communication with vendors, it is possible to enjoy gluten-free Chilean street food.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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