Top 10 Street Foods to Try in South America

Updated May 29th, 2017.

1) Manzana acaramelada:

Pure and simple: toffee apples. You may be thousands of miles away from home but in Argentina they’re easy to find, tasty, cheap and a great way to find a cheap burst of sugar.

2) Ceviche:

Simply put, a South American version of sushi. Originally from Peru, the mixture of raw fish seasoned with lemon or lime juice is best (unsurprisingly) along the pacific coast of South America where you can be eating fresh fish straight from the sea.

3) Empanada:

Literally meaning ‘encases in bread’, they are cheap pastry-style snacks with meat and vegetable fillings. Originally from Portugal they have been adopted by a few other South American countries, especially in Argentina where nearly every province has its own flavour. There even is a national empanada festival in Tucumán province on 23rd June every year!


4) Dulce de Leche:

Sweet tooth? This is for you. Best desribed as a chocolatey, caramel, milky liquid that can be put on anything from doughnuts to muffins to toast. It’s not unheard of for some travellers to buy it in bulk and ship some back home as it’s extremely hard to find outside Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil as well as Colombia and Venezuela.

5) Brigadeiros:

Basically a chocolate bonbon that is found in Brazil, another extremely sweet snack but if you don’t have too many it’ll go down a treat on a long bus journey up the coast.

6) Sopapillas:

They are fried pastries/bread found all over South America that can have anything from pumpkin to cinnamon in the dough. The qunticenssal streetfood, they are perfect for a top up when at a random bus stop/restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Once you find out which flavour suits you best you’ll be addicted for the rest of your trip!

7) Acarajé:

Another Brazilian favourite that originated from Nigeria but was brough to Brazil by West African slaves. It is basically a deep fried snack made of crushed peas stuffed with salad and seafood. Definitely worth a try!

8) Tamales:

Often thought as a dish from Mexico, tamales are also popular in the Andean countries, sometimes under different names like ‘hallacas’ or ‘humitas’. Essentially they are all meat and vegetables wrapped in a thin wrap of corn dough or plantain leaves. Easily recognisable for their rectangular shape there are many different combinations, sweet and savoury. Just ask the vendedor ‘¿qué se rellena?’

9) Arepas:

Flatbread sandwiches found in the Northern Countries of South America. Found almost anywhere in Venezuela and Argentina they are suitable for almost any meal of the day or a snack and can be filled with anything from cream cheese to meat.

Colombia! (Sorcha's) 072

10) Chipas (Pão de queijo in Brazil):

Literally ‘cheese bread’, is a snack that can best be described as a chewy cheesy doughnuts that are just a few centimetres in size. They are made with a certain type of gluten-free flour in Brazil (Tapioca) which means that often (but not always) they are a perfect snack for travellers with celiac’s disease that may finding it difficult in South America.

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  • One thought on “Top 10 Street Foods to Try in South America

    1. Chiara says:

      ¡Arepas are not found in Argentina! Maybe in a Venezuelan restaurante. It’s tipically from Central America.
      Oh and ask the vendor “¿De qué es el relleno?” 😉
      Very excited with South America Backpacker 🙂
      See you soon!

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