Take a hot dog. Smother it in mashed avocados and a fistful of chopped tomatoes. Add geologic layers of sauerkraut, sliced green chilies, chopped onions with parsley, and a viscous, vinegary mix of finely minced pickled cucumbers and carrots. Then dress with ketchup, mustard and a pillow of puffy artisanal mayonnaise. This otherworldly behemoth is known as the completo (as in: “complete”) and it is a staple in Chile, where cafés, bistros, fast food outlets, mall food courts and home cooks all produce some version of it, adding signature flourishes such as scrambled eggs, sautéed onions, melted cheese, crumbled bacon and various sauces, hot and otherwise.
In a country renowned for its low-key, downright conservative demeanor, the completo proves that there is a well of insanity lying just beneath the surface — a decadent subconscious poking holes in all that well-mannered Catholic morality. Put this hot dog into your mouth for the very first time, and you may feel as if you’ve been deflowered. It is a sublime combination of grease and citric tartness, squishy avocado and crunchy onions, snappy meat and hearty bun. Once you’ve had it, there is no going back to the pedestrian combination of ketchup and mustard.