Pataska, Local Flavor in Atacama

Posted on Jan 31, 2014 in Hiroko's Blog

pataskapataska 2I have to taste local flavors wherever I travel. So, I always ask the same question to the locals and guides whom I meet. “Give me the name of local dishes which I should try”. When I was in Atacama ‘Patasca’ was the only, must try dish, and everyone was recommending the restaurant called Las Delicias de Carmen. Pataska is a stewed dish, in which chewy large corn (known as Hominy corn in America), potato, pork and red pepper are cooked together. Because of its simple description I expected that it is a heavy country dish. Against my expectation Pataska at Las Delicias de Carmen was light, refined and delicious. As I ate the dish I tried to figure out how it was cooked. The delicious, juicy pork had a look and texture, which was not cooked in the broth with potato and corn for hours. Red pepper in the stew added not only the pleasant spiciness but juzzed up the color of the stew. We also tried empanada. The baked crust, which encased caramelized onion and beef inside, was super crusty, and again it was light to the stomach than it appeared. So, Las Delicias de Carmen is highly recommended.

Here are two warnings on your visit. Please make sure in advance that Pataska is on the menu on the night of your visit. Pataska is prepared only twice a week at the restaurant. The meat dishes on the menu all come in huge sizes. I recommend you share it with your dining partner(s). Enjoy Chilean beer, Austral.