Chile: Mercado Central – 1st visit


While the Mass was being conducted we were lunching in a restaurant in the  Mercado Central de Santiago.  

I decided on calamari  – mostly because I could identify it on the menu –  calamares.   I asked if it was “frito”  in one of the 4 sauce options listedThe waiter said a lot and I heard “frito”  a few times so what I imagined I was going to get was crumbed/battered, deep fried calamari drizzled with a tasty tomato-based sauce.   What I apparently asked for was plain grey-blanched calamari sans crumbs or batter and not a skerrick of sauce!  

Not only was it not attractive, it did not taste good.  At all!  So I did what any loving wife does;  I offered to swap meals with the manservant!  He had ordered Ceviche which he was *really* looking forward to and which he declared to be “delicious”  after his first mouthful. But as most husbands know a happy wife is a happy life …….

I must say he chose very well –  the Ceviche was really very good!   You might start to notice that often, when I’m not the photographer, I’m photographed holding something alcoholic!   When traveling in Chile one really must sample their great wines and also Pisco Sours.  I think we had alcohol at every meal except breakfast and that was probably only because we weren’t offered any…..


IMG_1728The building is gorgeous –  it’s constructed of cast-iron parts which were fabricated in Britain and shipped to Chile where it was assembled for the National Exposition of 1872.

It’s primarily a fish market with restaurants.

but it also has stalls of bits & pieces

We enjoyed the market so much we went back later in the week.   If we’d lingered this day we would’ve missed the Lord of Miracles procession that we didn’t know was about to happen…….



22 responses

  1. Your manservant is very well behaved. 😉 I love how bursting with color the photos are in this post (when I was expecting to see grey calamari). And oh my gosh I *love* your glasses!

  2. Love the market pictures! I rarely get to nice markets (when travelling) like you think of as exoticl–I’m not impressed by normal, boring markets: dead rabbits hanging as killed many with my bare hands myself, as you know. Ha!

    I’m 100% for boozy MJ! It’s holiday, right?

    • LOL @ the dead rabbits. Even though I ate many rabbit & hare casseroles growing up I still found the European markets interesting – perhaps because I don’t see rabbits in markets here (you don’t really in Australia either though some butcher shops will occasionally them).

      It was pretty boozy! 🙂 Chile produces some really good wines and they’re pretty cheap. We also sampled variations on the traditional Pisco Sour.

  3. You could have sent the calamari back and told the waiter it was “no es bueno.” I know, nobody wants to be the rude tourist, but I would have done it at an American restaurant. A friend who was a restaurant critic said that as a customer one has the right to expect a good meal, and if what you get is awful, send it back and tell them so!

    That said, your manservant is a gem. 🙂

    • My problem was that I really had no idea of knowing whether what I got was supposed to be like that or not. Further questions or complaining would’ve been difficult given the language barrier between us so it was much easier to swap with the manservant. He was not very impressed with the dish but he was hungry 🙂

    • Hi John! Yes, it was a wonderful trip and I’m looking forward to going back as soon as possible. We ate local dishes (or Peruvian) except for one night when we had hamburgers from room service (and which were very nice – loaded with avocado).

  4. i love your hair *and* the glasses! that market looks wonderful, I’d have gone back too. At least you didn’t get ‘un-frito’ (raw) calamari! I had some kind of like that in Italy my first night. It was delicious but it was too much, especially after an enormous plate of pesto risotto. The one South American dish I do know is ceviche. I’ve never had it (well we shared a plate of it on Saturday but it was just a taste and to be honest I don’t even remember it except everything was delicious) but I have wanted to try it ever since the Spanish speaker on my language CDs (I think he was from Peru) described it as his favorite dish..

    • Thank you re the hair and glasses. I’m really happy with the glasses – feel like I’ve finally found a pair that suit me after some expensive mistakes. You definitely should try ceviche – this was really nice but I had an even better one, one night in a Peruvian restaurant (in Santiago). There’s an ongoing rivalry between Chileans and Peruvians as to who makes the best pisco sour and that probably extends to food dishes too.

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