Corrugated City

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Thai Food in Chile: Do It Yourself


One of the complaints most foreigners have about Chile is the lack of decent-and spicy- Asian food. Chinese food here is beyond appalling and Thai and Indian cuisine is watered down and Chileanised so much that it resembles the original only in name.

Now to get around this, you have to cook your own. If you live in Santiasco, then you have easy access to the Chinese and Korean supermarkets in Patronato where you can buy all the sauces, frozen dim-sum, noodles and other imported goodies your little hearts desire. If you live on the coast, however, you're screwed. But not anymore...

Both Jumbo and Lider now stock a reasonable variety of imported Asian spices and sauces. The best find was the authentic Thai curry pastes in Lider in Vina (also sold in a little store on Arlegui). Red, green and yellow are available and mixed in with the Thai coconut milk from Lider you can make a fantastic Thai curry.

The Thai pastes from Jumbo (there's Tom Yum and a couple of others) are really good for making proper fried rice. Jumbo's coconut milk is an absurd rip off at 2400 pesos, however. Lider's Thai stuff is about 800 pesos. The curry pastes cost around 2500 pesos and last forever.

Now, let's hope that real Indian spices make it over here soon as well...

11 comments:

cavils in chile said...

I've been looking for coconut milk! The Jumbo in Vina was out of it (but STOCKED with blueberry syrup and other flavors, yum, but that's another topic). I will try Lider, thanks.

I am obsessed with all of the different Thai sauces in the Vina Jumbo. I just got a great sweet chile and ginger sauce (I forget what the brand is, but there are tons of different kinds), and it's the only supermarket I've found that has oyster sauce without corn syrup.

cavils in chile said...

Ah yeah, Thai Heritage! Same as in your pic.

Matt said...

Lider coconut milk is way cheaper than Jumbo's. At least here in Valpo...Jumbo Vina is 5-50% more expensive than Jumbo Valpo by the way. Nice bit of price gouging going on in Vina...

The sweet chilli and ginger sauce is really good. Tonight we had potato wedges dipped in that sauce and reineta in yellow curry with white wine, potatoes, broccoli and tomatoes...so nice...

wf said...

I think Lider is doing al lot these days on importing foreign foodstuff. When I was in the Super Lider in Concepcion last May, I remember a single lane with imported foodstuffs by cuisine (Thai,Japanese, Indian (Pataks) and Italian). As I was shopping with my gf for traditional Chilean ingredients, I did not bother looking at the prices......
Unfortuanly, back here in The Netherlands, it is impossible to find merquen...what a shame.

cavils in chile said...

I just went to the Jumbo in Valpo and found "Lady Coconut" coconut milk for 1.049 pesos! yay
Which of those curry boxes is the least spicy? The yellow?

Meredith said...

While reading this I am eating an excellently spicy and flavorful stirfry, in a sauce spun off of one from guam:

1:1 ratio soy sauce to lime juice (I cheated and added a lemon as well cuz I'd need like 15 of those tiny limes)
Chopped hot peppers, any variety, to taste.

Ideally leave it overnight in the fridge but it's still pretty fab as is.

Matt said...

Kacy-1049 pesos in Jumbo...that's better than the 2000-odd pesos i saw last week but not as good as the 800 in Lider in Bellavista...

The yellow one is the least spicy although you can de/increase the spiciness by adding more or less of the paste of any of the colours.

Meredith-Next stop: Pie.

Matt said...

WF-Yeah, Lider is a bit better than Jumbo with the foreign goods. The Safeway section is good as well. You can get Maple Syrup and organic ketchup. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Matt, where can I find tofu in Valpo/Vina. I live in Maitencillo and don't want to drive to Santiago.

Matt said...

Hmmm...I'm afraid you're asking the wrong person. I'm a committed carnivore and tofu is on my list of foods that should be banned :) Plus it tastes hideous...I'm a picky eater sometimes.

If you're ever in Valpo then you could try asking in Epif, the vegetarian restaurant here on Cerro Concepcion. I'm sure they'd know.

santa cruz thai restaurant capitola said...

Amazing Thai sauces...love the ginger sauce it excites my tastebuds and brought me energy !