As part of our experiential Christmas gift to the family, Carolina and I decided to give Chilean cooking a shot. Having heard that Mercado Central has some of the best fish in all of South America, we couldn’t resist the temptation to buy up our piece of the Pacific (despite the limited love for fish in the Clark family).

Mercado Central (Central Market) opened in 1872 and has been the go-to place for seafood in Santiago ever since. Built with imported iron from Scotland and a roof manufactured in London, the market has withstood plenty of seismic activity over the years. Though tourist-geared restaurants have over-run the central foyer of the market, wholesale fish, vegetable, and fruit venders still thrive, selling to natives and foreigners alike.

We settled on Chilean sea bass and shrimp, complimented by our favorite “Ensalada Mixta” (food from Spain is still Spanish, after all). We boiled the shrimp and served them with garlic butter and a tomato sauce for dipping (not our best performance – the shrimp were a bit overcooked). Luckily, the main entrée went a little better. We broiled the sea bass in olive oil, herbs, and a vegetable medley. We uncorked a bottle of Chilean carmenere and dug into our South American Christmas feast!