Short story: Go to Lai Thai in BioBio, spend 4 lukas, come out with your tastebuds happy. Thank me later. Franklin 602, near San Isidro.
We citizens of the world, we people who have lived here and there, or even just here, or only just there, have some maxims about food. They goes like this:
Paying a small amount of money for just “meh” food doesn’t bug me.
Paying a lot of money for food that’s really great is ok, for special occasions.
Paying a lot of money for food that is just “meh” is unacceptable.
Paying a small amount of money for really great food is… practically impossible.
Well hold on Maxim D lovers, because if you haven’t been to Lai Thai yet in Bio Bio (or either of their other locations on Luis Thayer Ojeda or Irrarazaval near Salvador), you have not yet begun to explore Maxim D in Santiago.
The first time I went, I was waiting for the rest of my group to arrive, when I spied a Brit chowing down and asked him what he thought. “Just like in Bangkok,” he said. I’ve never been to Bangkok, but I usd to live in San Francisco, and like to think I know a thing or two about what good Thai food tastes like. So far I’ve tried a shrimp in coconut milk and peanut sauce that they say is spicy, but it is not (thought it is too salty), and a pad thai that rivaled Raku’s kway teow in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC. It’s that good. I got it without the chicken, no problem.
This snack bar style restaurant is in a totally unlikely place, in the warren of galpones (hangars) and street stands of hundreds of different sellers with everythign from books to seashells to even the hose you use to connect your stove to the gas jet (yes, I bought this once here, no, it did not blow up). The place itself is just a food stall/stand in a long line of traditional Chilean eateries with giant chunks of meat sizzling on the grill. It’s very informal, you pay as you ask for your food (but after getting a table), and clear your plates at the end of the meal. Don’t blink because it’s that easy to lose your table, as there are often ten or so people waiting to sit. And why? It’s all about maxim D. They have seven dishes, none more than 4,500 pesos (less than 10 bucks at today’s rates), and all of them pleasers.
Like I said, thank me later! And thanks, Lai Thai, for making great Thai food affordable in Santiago! Fwiw, I also like Thai House in Manuel Montt, and Ky, and for a quick, cheap central lunch, Sawasdee, but Lai Thai for cheap, filling, tasty eats with a more limited menu. Soups and pickled papaya salad, it’s Thai House all the way.
Where have you eaten lately?
Lai Thai: Tues to Fri 12-4, Sat and Sun 10 to 6, closed Mondays
Address: Franklin 602
Closest Metro: Franklin (thanks Sally!) (yellow line)
I’ve heard about this place and haven’t gone because I’m never really over that way. Now you tell me there is a Luis Thayer Ojeda location? I’m putting it on my list!
I know, it’s not really close to anything, though it’s only an hour on foot from my house. Try the one uptown or in Ñuñoa, and report back. I wouldn’t be surprised if the prices were higher, but for the lack of hassle (to go down to Bio Bio when you don’t need anything there), it’s probably worth it! Got any other places we should check out? I was looking at some of your recent reccs and the empanada one looked particularly good!
So there…and there’s also one even nearer on the ‘val?!
I am drooling already…pad thai, papaya salad…what were the tofu offerings like?
papaya salad at Thai house, not at this place. The main tofu offering would be just the pad Thai. They gave it to me withouth chicken, but I eat shrimp, so it had that in. At Thai house I think you’d get more variety, but it’s priecier. It’s also open for dinner though. I wonder if the place on the ‘val (took me a minute) can be a little more flexible with teh preparations. I asked for my dish yesterday with less salt and they couldn’t do it, because the sauce was already mixed.
You made my day with this post. Definitevely will look for the Thayer Ojeda one and try it out. I love Thai food!
By the way, the BEST empanada – ever – is Holtz (I’m saving you some browsing hours and lot of dissapointments). They recently opened at Manquehue / Colon but the original one is at Camino a Melipilla. Here’s their web page: http://www.pasteleriaholz.cl/inicio.html
do they have empanadas de horno with cheese and mushrooms and the like? I don’t eat meat, and don’t care for hojaldre or fried empanadas. I will check them out! Thanks for the tip!
oooh, I hear an empanada throwdown happening! I’ll check it out, thanks for the tip!
My dad and I have been planning to go to this place for ages. Maybe we need to get our butts in gear.
I think you’ll like it, and who knows what treasures you might find while in Bio Bio! I bought a couple of older National Geographic magazines, 2 for 1,000 pesos. What a steal!
I’m not a huge fan of the persa, to be honest; I never find anything, but I guess it’s a good thing.
yeah, I suppose it depends what you’re looking for. You’re all about textiles and shiny, and there’s not alot of that there. I could see other kinds of markets where you’d be more inclined to buy!
I couldn’t hit the link to this post fast enough! Thai food in Santiago?? I’m putting my shoes on right now…
Lani! awesome! how’d it go? did you try it? We have to talk other non-Chilean food sometime. Did I tell you about how I ate a whole jar of lime pickle in record speed (that I bought from the Indian mini mart in Manuel Montt?) This girl craves flavor. Just ate pickled daikon with lunch! (from patronato)
We went, we saw, we ate. http://freezecheese.blogspot.com/2011/10/lai-thai-and-bio-bio-markets.html
Delicioso! Thanks so much for fereting that place out! Btw… apparently they have a restaurant in Providencia too – Luis Thayer Ojeda 0108, Local 203.
yeah, I knew about the other place, but I like the hubub of biobio, plus it’s closer to where I live, and life always takes me to provi, I like to mix it up a bit! Glad you liked it. Like you said, maybe not the most fab, but certainly better than alternatives! Thai House in Provi (Manuel Montt) is very good, but much more expensive. But they have green papaya salad, and many more things to choose from.
I’ve heard about this place time ago but now I really want to go….I’ve never ate thai in my life!! so I want to try.
go! try! Chileans like it!
Whoa! Have been craving Asian food for the past 6 months in South America. Will try to make it here when we get to Santiago. Thx for the tip!
there is no try, there is only do! Kidding, but you will not be disappointed. Santiago is also overrun by sushi restos, I posted a while back about the ones I think are good downtown, but there’s tons to choose from (though not as cheap as the Thai place). There’s also asian food marts if you want to buy some supplies and wow everyone at the hostel. Thanks for dropping in, sounds like we’ll be meeting up, soon!