Fuente de Soda: Schop, Cortado, Completo, Cueca Brava & Buddy Richard…

Fuente de Soda La CascadaQuick: where was this picture taken?

It’s a pretty safe bet that there’s only one country on Earth that this picture could have been taken. Do you know?

There are plenty of clues here… Keywords like Fuente de Soda, Schop, Completo, and Buddy Richard are a dead giveaway to the country…
Cueca Brava even provides clues to the city.

Is it clear yet?

Chile of course… that was a no-brainer. But congrats if you named the city as Valparaíso—and quadruple points if you knew the street! (O’Higgins!)

So, for those of you still in the dark… What were the clues? Let’s go through them one by one:

Valparaíso Fuente de Soda La Cascada (c) M Snook 2010

Fuente de soda: a literal translation of the North American “soda fountain,” although in practice, they tend to be more of a type of sandwich shop, rather than the typical ice cream and soda shop that was so popular in the US in the 50s and 60s. For example, I have never seen them serve an ice cream soda (or a banana split or even a sundae), but they do serve beer (schop).

Escudo: One of Chile’s favorite national beers.

Schop: Draft beer. Places that sell schops are often called “schoperías.” As far as I know this is pretty standard Chilensis for a frosty (or not) mug.

Café (express / cortado): Most Chileans tend to drink instant coffee at home (Nescafé, sometimes referred to by purists as “no-es-café” (it is not coffee), has a definite corner on this large market) When they go out, they drink “café café” (coffee-coffee) and say “vale la redundancia” (it bears repeating) to explain that this is no regular coffee (which would be Nescafé) but rather REAL coffee.  And it will probably come in a very small (demitasse) cup and often includes a small glass of soda water and a couple of little butter cookies on the side.
The whole coffee vs Nescafé thing warrants an entry of its own… it’ll happen one of these days.

In the meantime know that if you go to a coffee shop they’ll ask if you want “express” (espresso), cortado (café con leche), or capucchino (don’t be fooled by the name—this version comes with a ton of whipped cream).

Completo: Chilean hot dog topped with an abundance of mayonnaise, (see A Hotdog is Not a Completo).

Menú: You might think that a menu is a list of everything a restaurant has to offer. But you’d be wrong. If you ask for the menu, the waiter will be happy to recite the list of daily specials. If you want to see the full list, you’d better ask for the carta.

Colación: When it comes to lunch, Chileans seem to make a very clear distinction between almuerzo, which is the word we all learned in Spanish class for the midday meal, and colación. The term colación is used in relation to the quick-ish lunch that is eaten at school or work, while almuerzo is the leisurely meal eaten at home.

Cueca Brava: Also called cueca chora or cueca urbana, this is the more bohemian side of the traditional Chilean cueca (the national dance, by the way). Valparaíso vies for the title of king of the cueca. (See Choro el Piernal de la Cueca Chora, and while you’re at it, go ahead and take a look at September-style cuecas at Chile’s Fiestas Patrias: Fondas for September).

Buddy Richard: Chilean singer-song-writer and early pop star Ricardo Roberto Toro Lavín created his stage name by from Buddy Holly and the “Englishification” of his given name Ricardo. Born in 1943, his heyday was in the 1960s and early 1970s, but as this sign shows, still performs on a pretty regular basis.

So how’d you do? Did you know the inside tips to Chile?


21 responses to “Fuente de Soda: Schop, Cortado, Completo, Cueca Brava & Buddy Richard…

  1. Man, I wish I were there, Chile, that is. I will admit to eating a completo or two and maybe I’d eat one now I’m so homesick for the dirty air of Santiago. Absence make the heart grow fonder. Yeah, I’d eat a complete again, no problem!

  2. Hi John- Ah yes, those big gooey, messy, mayonnaise-oozing completos… and don’t forget the little paper squares (hardly napkins) used to scrape up the mess… and then all washed down with a schop (or maybe Bilz?)
    Can you make do-it-yourself completos in Japan?

  3. Japanese completo? Maybe I could, all the ingredients are here. The Japanese completo or the equivalent is too prim and proper; nothing oozing or flowing from the bun. As far as the supremely inadequate napkins go the Japanese hand out a steaming hot face towels with their tame, wimpy hot dogs! Great blog, always a good read. Thanks Margaret

  4. Ha-ha… I’d taking a steaming Japanese face towel with a Chilean completo any time! That would be the perfect combination!
    And I could just imagine what your Japanese friends would think if you served them a proper completo italiano complete with avocado and tomato!
    Thank YOU John!

  5. Margaret…. Fuente de Soda La Casacada
    located in Bellavista 400 Tel: (56-32) 225-4668 with O’Higgins street. Steps away from the local goverment building (Intendencia regional), Valparaíso

    Saludos from Viña del Mar

  6. I’m the winner!!!!

  7. Yes Soledad! You win! (of course you’re a local, so you DID have an advantage!)

  8. Mr Monpetit
    If you read this, could you please calculate (aprox) how much would cost a Chilean style completo in Japan? I´ve heard food is expensive there, and I´m curious 😛

  9. Sorry, It was Montpetit.

  10. Great Photo! After years without a hot dog I had my first completo in Valparaiso… and then lost it… a funny story my husband loves to share; I am sure you’ll hear it.

  11. …and then “lost it”? uh-oh… that doesn’t sound good! so… did you ever try a 2nd completo?

  12. Has the completo ever been found?

  13. Yes, 2nd, 3rd, etc. They actually grow on you. We make them sometimes here with paltita.

    Marmo: I hope no one found it–don’t go looking for it either 😉

  14. hahaha!
    Glad the first didn’t put you off the rest… although personally I prefer “incompletos.” Pair a good dog–hopefully grilled–with good mustard and I’m good to go! Yes, yes, I know… not very Chilean of me at all!

  15. @Annje ohh too bad xD
    I´m still curious, how can someone lose a completo?

  16. This post made me chuckle, thanks 😉

  17. Hi Marmo,
    I imagine that a completo in Japan would be somewhere around 4-5 U.S. dollars. I’ve seen pretty poor looking chirimoyas for U.S. 11.00 t0 14.00. A whole cauliflower for U.S. 6.00. Chile doesn’t seem so bad now, does it!

  18. John- sorry, just saw this now… as you can imagine, things kind of fell apart (literally) around here in the earthquake that hit shortly after you left this comment!
    I can’t believe those prices!! And yes, there are plenty of things that are expensive in Chile, but fruits, vegetables, and wine are not among them!

  19. Pingback: Ode to the Completo Chileno « Cachando Chile: Reflections on Chilean Culture

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s