The Temuco market attracts the best foods that the surrounding communities can produce. Temuco for the most part is just a transit point. However, it is also one of the best places in the IX region to sample the market food. Many will wonder why the Temuco market is so special, when many of the same things can be found across all of Chile. The answer is that the market is one of the largest in the region, with more than 6 blocks of covered stalls and several additional blocks of shops and street vendors. The Temuco market is well organized, clean, and very safe without losing the adventure of a real Latin American market by being scrubbed into some sort of dull supermarket. Did we mention it was safe? We counted more than 10 police officers in a 2 block area. So, regardless if you are living in Temuco or just passing through for the day, we would like to give you our 5 favorite southern Chile products to find at the Temuco market.
First on our list is the cheese. Depending on the time and day, you should be able to find about a dozen cheese sellers. For those of us that have not fallen in love with â€śqueso frescoâ€ť (as appealing as fresh wine), this is your chance to eat some real cheese at a decent price. Our recommendation is to ask for the older cheese, and then work your way back to the younger cheeses. Chileans tend to be a bit turned off by the strong flavors of the older cheese, but it will more likely have typical European cheese flavor. In general, expect to pay around $600 pesos ($1 US) for half a Kilo of great cheese. Our favorite stall was run by Yoly HenrĂquez. She has a great selection of older cheeses and a beautifully maintained stand. She also sells honey and spices.
The Temuco market is loaded with the smell of spices. The Temuco Market has all the standard spices you would find in any kitchen such as oregano, cumin, and pepper. However, Southern Chile, and the IX region, have their own special spice rack. One of the most eye catching spices is the dark red Merken (or Merquen). The key element is the ajĂ cacho de cabra combined with coriander and garlic, then smoked or toasted, dried, and ground to a powder. Let us just call it an overwhelming mix. Very hot.
3. AjĂ Cacho de Cabra
The AjĂ Cacho de Cabra deserves a serious mention as a very serious chile. They are sufficiently hot to justify the name Chile for this country. The most common way of preparing this hot pepper in Southern Chile is smoked and cured.
Humitas are corn, ground, cooked, and mixed with fried onion and spices. They are then rapped in the corn husk and boiled. Humitas are commonly eaten with tomatoes, or with sprinkles of sugar on top.
Our final thing to see, not so much taste, at the Temuco market is the Mote (special wheat), of the famous â€śMote con Huesillos" that has been produced in the traditional way. Mote can be bought in a canned form, but for the better â€śMote con Huesillosâ€ť drink it is processed by hand using ashes to separate the wheat kernel. The other ingredient is dried peaches or apricots. For the best â€śMote con Huesillosâ€ť in Temuco, prepared with traditional ingredients, we must refer you to â€śEl Rey del Mote con Huesillosâ€ť (The King) in the Temuco main plaza. A glass runs about $350 for the best of this very special taste.
Getting There: Next to the rural bus station in Temuco Chile.
Open Hours from:08:00
Open Hours to:08:00