Ruta de las Picadas: Diners Sabores de México
Before going to Diners Sabores de México, I lost hope in finding good Mexican food during my first move to Chile when I lived in Viña del Mar which made me hesitant to try anything else. My first encounter was at a locally known place called Margarita that I would describe as mediocre Tex-Mex with a Chilean touch. The food is OK, but it wouldn’t fulfill any of my Mexican food cravings.
As I walked around el Mercado Tirso de Molina looking for a good place to have lunch, there were a couple signs at first sight that pushed me in the right direction to try this picada:
- They had aguas frescas de tamaridno, fresa y albahaca, and limon y menta.
- Lengua (beef tongue) and mole (chili based sauce with chocolate) are on the menu. Lengua isn’t just on any Mexican menu abroad, especially in Chile where lengua is most popular among older generations and likely produces squeamish reactions among the rest of the population. Mole can also be an acquired taste, but most importantly it’s difficult to master and required a skilled hand since the sauce is very complex.
- They have tortillas de maiz; pretty basic, right? You’ll have no problem finding flour tortillas in Chile, however corn tortillas will take you on a mission. Later, the chef he told me that the tortillas are flown in from a Santa Cruz. After going through a couple different tortilla distributors, he found the perfect consistency and taste that complements his food. To make your life easier, another good Mexican restaurant, Los Cuates, makes and sells them in house.
- I had a peek of the huge fajita dishes other customers had at their tables, and their tasty image and aroma were calling my name.
- The chef, Juan Carlos Villarroel, is Mexican with over 30 years of experience bringing authentic recipes to Chile. As soon as I heard his booming accent as I surveyed the adjacent dives, it was a deal breaker. I had to give it a shot!
More often than not, you encounter foreign food restaurants that adapt their food to the local palate. Even large franchises like McDonald’s does this around the globe. I feel that Diners Sabores de Mexico is a pioneering non-conformist with minor recipe adjustments serving authentic food to a Chilean public challenging their habitually change-resistant taste buds.
Crisp-fried, rolled tortilla filled with chicken on a bed of lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and sour cream.
Beef tongue covered in a walnut based cream sauce.
Anything suiza/suizo means that it’s smothered in sour cream, a bechamel type sauce, and/or cheese like Swiss cheese.
Tacos with tender, slow cooked meat that is either barbecued or steamed. In more traditional settings, the meat is wrapped in maguey leaves and cooked underground for hours.
Since it’s chilly in Santiago, I can’t wait to try a big bowl of posole the next time I visit! I’m sure it will hit the spot and be just as tasty as the rest of their dishes.
Donde Guido – Peruvian Sandwiches
El Portal Fernández Concha y el Origen del Completo
La Vega Central and Ceviche Mixto
Luck Thai en el Mercado Tirso de Molina
Oakland Taco Truck – Tacos Sinaloa
Schopería Munich, el Origen del Completo y la Picá de los Futbolistas
Porto Viejo en Valpo
Comidas Con Onda
Mundos Entre Chile