I’ve had a few queries about where to buy food and other groceries in Santiago. While I’ve touched on the subject before, I thought a proper round up which I’ll try to update regularly would come in handy. Here goes:
Fruit, vegetables and flowers – I try to avoid the supermarkets and visit my local market. Markets are cheaper, the shopping experience is much easier (tip the sellers nicely and they’ll carry your bags from stall to stall and load up your car) and the produce is much, much better. I go to a small market in Vitacura, on Av San Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer. It’s on the left hand side just after the turning with Luis Carrera on your right, not far from the polo club.
Nuts and seeds – I prefer to go to small retailers called tostadurias for my chia seeds, quinoa, almonds, dried fruit and nuts. There are several across Santiago, so just have a Google for your nearest. Some supermarket arcades include similar shops, but I find the variety a little lacking at times.
Water – I still buy my water in large bottles (bidones) from the supermarket, but I’m considering a switch to a filter. Read more here.
Chicken, lamb, honey and eggs – I’m a near vegan so to be honest I don’t really what came first – the chicken or the egg. But for my carnivorous family I buy from a farm whose animals are treated the most humanely in the country I reckon. The brand is called Tinajacura and I’d highly recommend them. I buy through their online store, but their chicken is also now available in Jumbo supermarkets. A word of warning – rules and regulations are very different here in Chile, with so called ‘free range’ eggs and ethical meat by other retailers often being far from cruelty free.
Health foods, supplements and buying for an allergy – my son suffers from a cow’s milk protein allergy and I can find most produce in Jumbo supermarkets. Calcium fortified oat milk, dairy free cake and other goodies can be found here. Beware that allergens are not listed in bold as in other countries so you’ll need a beady eye / a magnifying glass to check through ingredients lists, and be sure you’re clued up with allergen pseudonyms (casein is off limits for my kid for example, but lactic acid is fine…)
For the produce I can’t find, I love a health food store called Aldea Nativa. It isn’t the cheapest, but staff are wonderful, they stock almost everything and the quality is excellent. I buy cakes, nutritional yeast, peanut butter and some kids snacks from here.
Convenience food and ready meals – ‘Fork‘ is a fabulous mini market packed full of goodies for lazy gluttons like me. With local specialities such as pastel de choclo, as well as comfort food favourites like spag bol and lasagne, it’s a great place when you don’t have the time or energy to think about cooking. They deliver too. There are three branches across Santiago (Providencia, Lo Barnechea and Vitacura), stocking top brand groceries including local olive oils, cured hams, cheese and more.
Bread – for cheap go to bread for the kids, I buy white rolls (‘marraqueta’) from any supermarket. For the good stuff, I prefer Metissage in Vitacura. They sell really good artisenal French baguettes and hearty nut loaves.
Cured ham – A Cordon Blue superstar chef friend let me into a lot of grocery secrets and La Vinoteca is one of them. There are a few stores across Santiago, and the Vitacura branch includes a lovely little wine bar. My Spanish hubby reckons it sells the best ham in the country (but it’s still not a patch on Spain, obvio…)
Fresh fish and sashimi – Fish that I’m going to cook, I buy from my vegetable market (see above) but for sashimi or ceviche grade fish I was recommended a store called La Pesca, again in Vitacura. The sashimi is frozen according to food safety regulations to ensure the nasty stuff gets killed… and you won’t.
Also check out Facebook group ‘Food Finds in Chile’. It’s a community of foodies, mostly based in Santiago with all sorts of recommendations.
Do you live in Santiago? Got any tips? Please share in the comments below so I can share the foodie love!