On game days in Santiago, many fútbol fans can be seen biting into a sánguche de potito. The popular street food is a rich, chewy sandwich served inside a marraqueta bun and filled with fried onions and meat from the rectum, or sometimes intestine, of a cow.
Also known as just potito (which references the meat’s origins), the sandwich is most commonly found outside the famous Estadio Nacional. There, sellers vie for the coveted honor of serving the most delicious and authentic renditions, and the best-known vendors enjoy regulars who come back game after game.
After cooking the meat until it’s juicy and soft, vendors mix it with fried onions, then slide both into a marraqueta and top it with condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, chilis, or pebre (Chilean pico de gallo). Sometimes, stomach meat from cows or pigs, as well as chorizo sausage, is added to the meaty mix.
The potito first came into being in the mid-19th century, following the development of the railroad in Chile. Street vendors needed to make fast and filling food that could be bought quickly during breaks at stations and was easy to eat “on the go.” Today, that take-away appeal continues, as the sandwich can also be found as a quick snack at events such as horse races, fairs, or festivals.
For those unfamiliar with the dish, the origins of the meat and the strong smell it produces while being cooked might be a deterrent. But those who’ve eaten the sandwich often come back for seconds, or thirds. Once any initial unfamiliarity has worn off, many eaters can easily get “behind” this prime example of typical Chilean street food.
Need to Know
Prices vary, but the average cost for a potito around the Estadio Nacional is 1.300 Chilean pesos (roughly $2).