If you are in Uruguay, you can’t pass up a chance to sample their national dish, the chivito. This local specialty is so large and filling, that you might find yourself tempted to take an afternoon nap like many of the locals do on a daily basis.

Chivitos can vary by location, but it is basically a sandwich, sometimes served open-faced. Each chivito begins with beef, or sometimes chicken, though that is less traditional. This meat is then topped with a few slices of ham and occasionally some bacon, just for good measure. And just in case you didn’t get enough protein from all that meat, the whole thing is topped off with a fried egg. Mixed in between the meat and  eggs you will usually find some tomatoes, lettuce, and Salsa Golf (mayo and ketchup mixture) as well. All of these things would make us a “basic” almost bare-bones style chivito.

More souped-up chivitos might also have roasted peppers, grilled onions, olives, mozzarella cheese, or pickles. Chivitos are generally served with a massive side of fries (often tossed directly on top) but many plates will include a random assortment of cold vegetables such as beets, potato salad, peas, or whatever else the chef feels like throwing in there.

This dish is a favorite of many Uruguayans, perhaps because it contains a little bit of everything. While one could hardly claim it is healthy, it’s certainly a great value, considering how full you are going to be if you manage to finish it.

You can find chivitos at basically any traditional restaurant in Uruguay. Many will claim they have the “best” but the trick is to take a look around the restaurant to scope out what the locals are eating. If you don’t see at least 2 people eating a chivito, that establishment most likely offers a sub-par version of the national dish. Once you find a chivito worthy of the national acclaim, make sure you come hungry, and ready for the challenge of this meaty super-sandwich!