A wave of British immigration to Chile in the 19th century is responsible for the English influence on the language. Chilean Spanish is also littered with Italian and German inflections thanks to mass influxes from those countries, as well. Foreigners have not only influenced the language, but also the food of Chile—you might find machas a la parmesana (Parmesan-slathered baked razor clams) next to maize, pumpkin and potato dishes on a traditional menu, with kuchen or strudel for dessert. This past fall, while packing for my third visit to the country, I looked forward to tasting the fresh seafood, tangy Patagonian lamb, stacked churrasco-style meat sandwiches, a plethora of empanadas, and plenty of pristine avocado. I wasn't as excited about the fine-dining scene. Perhaps because of the strange convergence of foreign influences, and because the country's most iconic traditional dishes are rustic comfort foods likechariquican, a homey Mapuche dish made with dried beef, fancy restaurants in Chile have relied on an innocuous style of cooking that can only be described as "international." But on this trip, I was pleased and surprised to find the latest crop of young Chilean chefs embracing indigenous ingredients such as quinoa, merken (the traditional smoked-chili spice of the Mapuche tribe) and other ancient native foodstuffs, as the new building blocks of the country's modern gastronomy.