Nothing like seeing cultural norms shift. I remember, while working at a particular news agency that mixed gringos (mostly journalists) and Chileans (administration) all in one common eating area. While everyone got along as well as you can in an office and even better afterwards when the drinks started flowing, there was always a noted difference when it came to lunch.
First off most of the Chileans ate together in small groups. Never alone. One person would go ahead and even set up the table a bit. Nothing fancy, but you would have a fork and a knife and a napkin there from the start. They brought fresh vegetables and a main dish in a tupperware. The gringos, especially those that didn’t have someone cooking them food at home, always showed up with a sandwich, and more often than not solo. There always were glances of wonder. How could you eat only a sandwich for lunch? For many it wasn’t even considered a proper meal. Poor gringos, eating alone and nothing but a sandwich.
But times do change and now, about 4 years later, there’s a new found (or maybe it’s just been let out of the closet) fascination and respect for the sandwich. Sure it’s much different from a nice US deli sandwich with a pickle next to it. Heavy on the mayo, way too many ingredients to even think of lifting it to your face. More of a full on dish between bread. Even better, there are a whole bunch of restaurants now taking the concept and playing with different mixes and matches. There are those that have been around for a while, like Dominó (not to be confused with the pizza joint), places that have been around for a couple of years like Ciudad Vieja and newcomers like Taste IT. There is defintely some decent sandwich eating to be done in the capital.
The evolution continues, now with a four day event in the mall world of Parque Arauco called “Feria de Sanguche” that will bring 15 different sandwich shops to the forefront to offer their new blends of inspiration between bread. And in small formats we’re told. So if you want to get out eat and feel that Christmas stress, I mean bustle, go check it out. By the way how many ways can you think to spell sandwich?
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