The central market in Santiago tops a lot of ‘not to be missed spots’ lists for aspiring Chilean travellers like myself. Mercado Central is covered by an amazing art nouveau canopy dating back to 1872! It is a hustling and bustling fish market, where you can find the freshest seafood, some apparently “untranslatable” into English or unknown outside Chile! The restaurants in the market centre are packed with tourists. However, if you stick to the tiny, low-key stalls around the outside you w experience traditional Chilean seafood lunches, such as paila marina (Chilean bouillabaisse) or the “hangover-curing” fish stews like caldillo de congrio. Delicioso!
I found this video entertaining! It is great to see what the market is like from within.
Right next door is La Vega market, the perfect place to watch the Santiago locals go by. It is huge and very easy to get lost in (which I would probably enjoy)! Traditionally known as a fruit and veggies market, La Vega also sells lots of other local produce and dry goods, as well as extraordinary food items like chicken feet and pigs’ heads!
You can escape the hustle of the downstairs market by heading upstairs, where you can find clothes and restaurants.
Mercado Central and La Vega are very important in preserving the traditional food and culture of Santiago. They continue the tradition of heading to the markets, becoming friendly with your merchants and cooking for your family, which are important Chilean values.
Estoy muy emocionado de ir a Mercado Central y La Vega en Santiago! Los mercados parecen muy divertido y me encanta comer comida tradicional cuando viajo. El pescado no es mi comida favorita, pero estoy seguro de que el pescado en el Mercado Central es delicioso!