Saturday in Santiago: Thai House

Following a delicious Saturday lunch at Ciudad Vieja, I had another restaurant recon mission to look forward to. Andrea, Kyle, Brenna and I met up at Thai House, my first time at the restaurant I’d heard such good things about.

Thai House

Santiago’s food scene has changed immensely since I first lived here in 2005. Back then, the general consensus was that Chilean food was bland and boring. As foreign exchange students who enjoyed both late nights out and saving money, my friends and I were happy with the many options for greasy sandwiches and completos (hot dogs with toppings like mayo and avocado) to be found cheaply until all hours of the morning, but we weren’t exactly enjoying any kind of developed restaurant scene.

When I moved here in 2007, “ethnic food” pretty much meant sushi. Santiago was and still is obsessed with the stuff - some very good, and some disturbingly bad – and it was one of the first non-Chilean foods that you could easily find.

Nowadays, there are so many more options as the city changes rapidly. Thai food used to be limited to only one or two restaurants, and now I can think of several and am sure there are more I don’t know about. Thai House is one of these places that’s popped up in the last few years, and I was anxious to finally try it.

The place settings set the mood for some authentic Thai food. Of course, I have no idea what authentic Thai food really is considering I’ve never been to Thailand, but whatever. The table looked nice, ok? And that green thing in the corner? Basil pisco sour. Good stuff.

Thai place setting

We started with an order of Ghiaw Grob Gai, also known as chicken wontons with sweet and sour sauce. Nothing amazing, but decent.

Chicken wontons

I went the boring route and ordered Phad Thai Goong Sod. I was tempted by one of the soups, but I figured if the meal turned out to be as good as I’d heard I would make a return visit, and I just was in the mood for noodles. The flavors were balanced, with nice big shrimps. And check out that carrot flower!

Pad thai

Andrea humored me by letting me photograph her Gaeng Keaw Wan, green curry with chicken. I also got to try a little bit – she specifically said “so you can blog about it,” so thanks to her for that contribution to this post – and it was very yummy. I’d go for this over the pad thai next time, not because my dish was bad but just because hers was that good.

Green Thai curry

As I said, I’m decidedly not a Thai food expert, so I feel a little unqualified to come to any conclusions about how good Thai House is in terms of Thai food. But I do consider myself qualified to talk about food in general, and from that standpoint I can say that there are good meals to be had here.

Now I just have to figure out how to convince Rodolfo to order that green curry so I can try the soup I had my eye on and still get some curry goodness. The perks of marriage.

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Saturday in Santiago

26 Responses to “Saturday in Santiago: Thai House”

  1. Marmo says:

    I knew you had to have a foody side, and I like it a lot. Keep it going, you do it great; if you can describe a little more the tastes, would be even better. Lovin´ food bloggin´!

    • Emily says:

      I’m glad you like it! And I’m working on better descriptions…things always seem to just blur together into “yummy” for me, but I agree that it would be nice if I could be a bit more specific than that.

  2. Vincent says:

    To be honest I get a bit wary when I see gratuitous decorations on a plate but that looks nice.

    The only difference in general with South East Asian food is that it comes divided, not piled up like we do. Unless it’s wet enough to come in a bowl then you bring the bowl near the mouth having mixed whatever wet stuff with rice.

    • Emily says:

      I did notice that, actually. When I’ve previously had pad thai in California, it’s come all mixed together, but this as you can see from the photo had the shrimp, spring onion, bean sprouts and peanut separate from the noodles. One point for authenticity!

  3. OMG yum! I wish I could get my hubby to eat Thai.

  4. Jamie says:

    YUM YUM YUM!!!Here Thai food has also become more popular. Some restaurants are awful but there are a few, like my local, which is spectacularly good and genuine in every way, from the staff to the decoration to the food. Went to my local 2 nights ago and everytime we’re there my husband and I come home so thrilled because the food is so delish :) Amazingly my Chilean hubby had never had curries before moving here to Ireland so I LOVE introducing him to new things!!!

    • Emily says:

      I’m not surprised your husband had never had a curry before – Rodolfo hadn’t until relatively recently either because there just weren’t many options, and the majority of Chileans weren’t very adventurous with their food anyway. Now as people are slowly starting to try new things and new restaurants are opening, I think there are a lot more Chileans who’ve tried different types of cuisines.

  5. Eileen says:

    Thai house is definitely the best bet for Thai food in Santiago, but if anyone wants to dispute, I’ll hear it. Try Sawasdee on de la Ollería (near huelén), for cheap eats (not as elaborate) at lunchtime. Same owners.

    Glad you liked it!

    • Emily says:

      Oooh, I will have to put Sawasdee on my list of restaurants to try. Yes, there really is a physical list.

  6. Kyle says:

    Mmmm, I’m hungry. Want to go back. Though for this to get five stars from me, they’d need to add champagne to the drink menu :)

  7. christina says:

    Wow! it actually looks like reall thai food that you get in Thailand too! not like here in my hometown where its all americanized.

    • Emily says:

      Nice to have further confirmation of authenticity. I’m hoping to get the chance to check this out for myself someday – if only Thailand weren’t quite so far from Santiago!

  8. I love Thai food. We have always gone to another Thai place just down the road from this one (also on Manuel Montt). I think it’s called Pad Thai (same as the dish). It’s not easily seen from the street since it only has a door for an entrance and you don’t realise it’s a restaurant until you are already inside.
    We might go to this Thai restaurant you mention, and hopefully soon :)
    (the munches have already settled in)

    • Emily says:

      I went to Pad Thai a couple years ago and really didn’t like it. They were out of everything, and I didn’t think the things they did have were anything special. It’s always possible of course that they’ve improved since then though.

  9. Colin says:

    Looks good. Nice to have so many Thai places to choose from. Will have to head over there. So far my favorites are Lai Tai in Barrio Franklin and Gus Tai in Viña.

  10. Interesting how the food of the city has changed only in the last few years as Santiago itself changes. What’s behind the shift you think?

    • Emily says:

      I’m sure it’s a combination of lots of things, but some of the main factors I think are an increase in prosperity (more money to spend on going out to eat), a new generation coming of age (people in their 20s and 30s are developing a culture of going out that their parents for the most part don’t share) and of course immigration, both of people from different countries who’re bringing their own foods and of gringos who like different foods and therefore helped create initial demand.

  11. Ceri says:

    All of that food looks delicious. I absolutely love Thai food. There’s a fabulous Thai restaurant in the city but I’m really reluctant to go there these days because for years it just remains empty. When I took an ex-boyfriend there for his birthday it was us and another couple in this huge empty restaurant. That’s never a good sign. :P Now I just make it at home. Much easier, cheaper … and risk-free. ;-)

    • Emily says:

      I agree that usually an empty restaurant is a bad sign, so I might be hesitant to try it. But if you already tried it and enjoyed it, I say you should go back regardless. Maybe other people just haven’t discovered it yet.

  12. Andrea says:

    Now I’m hungry too.
    Let’s go again and get the *red* curry (not green.) Though for sure the green is just as yummy.

  13. Margaret says:

    Love this place! And also agree with Eileen about Sawasdee. Re pad thai- my favorite thai place at home also serves the ingredients separately so you can add each to taste as you go along and everything maintains its texture.

    • Emily in Chile says:

      I still haven’t been there! I’m going there for my next Thai meal though, now that you’ve reminded me.

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