Cuchuflis to Ripped Knickers: A Guide to Chilean Street Sweets

Chilean street sweets are available at your favorite picada (snack shop) or can be traded for loose pocket change around nearly every corner. They´ve been around for donkey´s years and there's a very good reason why: you just can´t say no.

Santiago Chile
Photo by Sofia Carvajal

When it comes to Chilean pastry fillings, there only seems to be one and its name is manjar. The sweet, golden brown, dry caramel mixture is thick as peanut butter and used as filling in practically every pastry.

Every treat is cheap, cheerful and unapologetically carbalicious when you're out and about, hunting for a snack. Revolver guides you through the sticky and sweet Chilean street pastry heaven:

Cuchuflis

With a name cute enough for a cartoon superhero, the cuchufli is a tubular, wafer-thin pastry filled with manjar. You can get four in a packet from a callejero (street vendor), or in larger white or dark chocolate-covered versions in pastry and chocolate shops. And, if you're a good boy or girl, they're available in ¨super¨ cuchufli size.

Churros

Churros are long, thin, fried doughy pastries that look like they've been piped through a Play-Doh Fun Factory. They come plain or filled with chocolate or manjar and are sold by the handful. They're found at small carts parked outside malls, fondas, large parks and craft markets, and despite questionable hygiene conditions, they always smell and taste great when served piping hot.

Alfajores

Santiago Chile Street Sweets
Photo by Sofia Carvajal

The alfajor is one of the simplest and most popular traditional Chilean pastries around, and you can get it anywhere, even on buses. Topped with coconut shavings or chocolate, and the "chilenito" style covered with icing, it's a soft, round pastry dough sandwich filled with--you guessed it--manjar. A couple of lucas (thousand pesos) get you enough of these pastries to start up your own shop. Tip: invest in a bib--they get messy.

Cachitos (Lil' horns)

Notable for its absence of manjar, the cachito is a deliciously crusty, mid-afternoon sugar rush in the shape of a cacho (horn) and filled with custard. They range from the simple cacho at the local deli to the all-out, double-handed, sandwich-sized manifestation of cream and Filo (a type of thin pastry) at serious pastry shops.

Calzones Rotos (Ripped knickers)

You can get your ripped knickers anywhere, but especially when shopping down Patronato in Santiago. The flat pastry is fried and contorted into a strange, torn abstract shape, then topped with icing.

Santiago Chile Street Sweets
Photo by Sofia Carvajal

Mil Hojas (Thousand layers)

If none of the above treats had quite enough sugar for your sweet tooth, mil hojas is rich and indulgent with a capital ¨I.¨ The torta (a round cake) has enough layers of manjar to send you straight to the tooth sleuth--but on the up-side, it practically guarantees you Chilean citizenship.

Happy snacking, and don´t forget to brush your teeth!

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