Quest for the One Kilo Empanada in Pomaire

Although our spirits were with our friends and family celebrating Canada Day back home, we decided to take our bodies to Pomaire, a small artisanal town just outside Santiago, famous for its clay cookware and its one kilo empanada. No surprise, we left that night with both of these items.

With buses running almost every 20 minutes, it was easy to get to Pomaire. The lady at the ticket booth was really nice and gave us student price tickets, so it only costed us $900 CLP per person. That’s less than $2USD a ticket! For that price, we basically expected an unheated yellow school bus. However, we were pleasantly surprised when we saw a comfortable coach waiting for us.

We missed all the direct buses to Pomaire, which run from 9:30am to 12pm noon, so we had to take a bus to Melipilla. The driver dropped us off on the side of the highway and pointed towards a small side road just beyond the barrier, before peeling off.

K and I just gave each other the “Sooo, what now?!” looks. Was he serious? Are we supposed to hitchhike to the town? Just for fun, I made K show some leg and see if anyone would stop for us. Of course, no one did – he wasn’t showing enough skin. Some locals found our posing amusing. They were heading to Pomaire as well, so we decided to follow. In reality, all you have to do is stand at the corner of the road and flag down a local bus, pay $300 CLP and hop on. The bus takes you right into town.

The town of Pomaire wasn’t particulary pretty but it did have its charms. For a foodies like K and I, this was an amazing place to be. Everywhere you walked, you could smell wood fire earthen ovens, horno de barros, and coal-fire barbeques, parrilladas, cooking up delicious foods. Think of the smell of heated butter, fresh-baked bread, camp fire and barbeque meats - that’s what the air smelt like.

We ended up having a late lunch of barbequed meats at La Greda Restaurant. Believe it or not, we ordered the Two-Person Parrilladas Special, and the portions they served us could have fed a family of four! No, really – The family of four sitting next to us ordered the same thing to share between all of them. The food was amazing.

After lunch, K and I started hunting for the clay cookware I had been wanting for so long. There were so many stores and so much to choose from. I wanted it all! Everything was really well priced. Small bowls and sauce trays started at $250 CLP ($0.50 USD) each. Pots/casserole dishes were on average $5.000 CLP ($10 USD) each. If cookware isn’t you thing, they had a variety of other clay items you could buy, including chanchitos - lucky 3-legged pigs. For a small fee, one of the local artists will make something for you right on the spot!

Many traditional Chilean dishes are cooked in unglazed clay pots and bowls. Cooking in these clay vessels give food a distinctive flavor. In the end, I walked away happy with a set of four clay bowls, for making pastel de choclo, and a clay pot for making cazuela.

Eventhough we already had a massive lunch, K wasn’t satisfied with leaving without his one kilo empanada. What could I say, the man was on a mission. We ended up taking it to go. It torturously smelt up the entire bus on our way back. We had it for lunch the next day. Totally worth it.