The Molotov: a special “snack” in Santiago, ¿cachay?

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”  – Orson Welles

In Chile I got to visit Santiago, Valparaíso (where the above photo was taken), Viña del Mar, Santo Domingo and Isla Negra – where I had a chance to see one of Pablo Neruda’s houses. It’s located by the sea, with an incredible view to the Pacific. I don’t know how his other houses actually are, but probably they’re similar to this one, in a way that there’s hardly a single object in there which isn’t a collector’s item! A table, a fork, the glass bottle collection, the chair, the horse model, etc., everything was made somewhere special, by someone special, or offered to / bought by Neruda to decorate his home. So if you’re going to Chile, I’d say you should check at least one of the poet’s homes (there are something like seven houses, I think),  ¿cachay?

Oh, right – in Chile, when someone usually tells you something and ends up with “cachay?”, it means “see?“, “know what I mean?“, “get it?”,savvy?” and so on. Cachay?

Changing the topic a little, from poetry & linguistics to drinks & snacks (we’re still in Chile, though!), I met a group of Chileans when I was in Cartagena de Indias, and they kindly introduced me to the traditional Chilean “Piscola“… so that one was already checked on my to-do list when I got to Neruda’s country. However, Santiago was holding a special treat for me, which I was naturally far from guessing what it was.

Usually, a travel guide gives you (and everybody else) a load of activities which (more or less) the majority can follow if they choose to do so. For the time being, let’s call that “black and white traveling” – which is not necessarily “bad”; I’ve had it, you’ve had it and everybody has it. That is, if I go to Paris, I’m expected to go see the Eiffel Tower. However, our metaphorical “Technicolor” arrives when you’re lucky enough to get to know locals. Therefore, and thanks to my friend Simón (from Santiago, whom I had previously met in Lima, Perú) I got to participate in one of the capital’s urban rituals and try the MOLOTOV. No, it’s no cocktail or anything of the sort. It’s a different breed of hot dog.

First off, let me tell you that in Chile a hot dog is called an “italiano” – and the “hot dog for champions” version is called a “completo italiano“. It’s much more than an ordinary hot dog! Check this article at “Cachando Chile” and confirm the main ingredients of a “completo“:  besides the bread, there’s the frankfurter (“vienesa“), ketchup, mustard, relish, chopped tomato, sauerkraut, pickled green chili pepper, tons of avocado (“palta“) and mayonnaise. That already looks like a lot of things… so what on Earth might the Molotov have?!

The place where you can try the Molotov is actually far from being Chilean. Colombian references bloom all over as soon as you get in, and the staff is also Colombian. However, this is a Chilean treat, made the Chilean way – so prepare your stomachs, girls and boys. There is one minor detail: there’s no vienesa. That’s right, say goodbye to the meaty part of the sandwich! Now what, you wonder. Here’s a definition with the help from Simón. The ingredients are the same as the “completo”: they put the avocado and the tomato as usual, a mayonnaise with special condiments, a bit of pepper and garlic. Then comes the egg. Yes, egg. And when the egg meets the griddle and it’s almost done, they add cheese to it. Yes, egg and cheese. The cheese will wrap the egg, and this treat is what goes inside the bread, replacing the frankfurter. The rest of the ingredients is added in the end, and you get – voilà – the Molotov.

That said, how do you get there? Using the previously mentioned metaphore, if you don’t want to be “black-and-white-traveling“, just walk around in Santiago and ask around in the street, cafes (by the way, go check the “cafés con piernas“), etc.; until someone tells you where the Molotov can be found. If you find a local who doesn’t know the Molotov, you’ve got something to teach, then! For those who just want to go straight there, the place is on Calle Pio Nono.

We the Portuguese (as plenty of others, I’m sure) are used to heavy foods… so I tell you, the Molotov can achieve “heavyweight” status indeed (even for locals, which I’ve witnessed!), and not only because of the quantity of ingredients, but also for the mix within the confinements of its nasty bread-walls. I dare say you can get to eat it at regular speed… it’s the after-eating that might be tricky. One recommendation: don’t go on long bus rides after you’ve eaten such “snack”.

So, I write again: it is a different breed of hot dog. If there ever was a scale to classify hot dogs, this one can turn out to be a mean, old, scarred, aggressive-pitbull-on-the-loose kind of hot dog. If you’re curious enough, go there and try one (usually it’s a nocturnal ritual). But keep the consequences to yourself!




  1. A Molotov sounds delicious… although it would be 10 times better with some bacon in it!

  2. Now that is brave, suihanki…!

  3. That sounds like my kind of food! wish I was there right now. Hey, I’m curious are these photos and stories from your past travels like long ago or recent travels? I was reading about u saying u don’t post when your actually traveling but do u post right after u get home?

    • Hehe! You can always try to prepare that “bomb” at home, but I take no responsibility! Most pictures are more or less recent (some 2008, the majority 2009); and yes, I write a journal while traveling, just paper and pen. I keep the online posting for later, not necessarily “right after”. And since I don’t make a living out of traveling (unfortunately!) it’s the solution that works best for me. Cheers, and thanks for the visit!

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