If there’s one season I hate more than all the others, it has to be summer. I detest the scorching heat, the endless sunshine. I can’t stand the beach and seriously wonder why people are so crazy about going there . I deplore getting sunburnt and I seriously hate the fact that summer is only period in the year when I actually get sick.
And, of all the dumb luck, it’s just the onset of summer and I have the exquisite misfortune of coming down with a cold.
But, not to worry: I guess I’m still lucky that there are ways – delicious ways, even – to get over this current bout of the sniffles. There’s always a pitcher of iced tea in the fridge (increased fluid intake is key to recovery), and it gets spruced up with, say, a dash of fruit juice or berry-infused vodka. There are tons of fruits in season (this year’s mangoes are particularly rich and flavorful). And, to tempt cold-addled palates, one need but troop over to a little place called Sen Lek to add some zing into one’s system.
Sen Lek Thai Noodles serves what is known in Thailand as kuitiaw naam: flat rice noodles – somewhat broader than Vietnamese pho – cooked in chicken broth. Now, before anyone raises hell by demanding what sets this apart from conventional chicken noodle soup, the answer is fairly simple. The broth is made headily fragrant and tangy by the addition of tamarind puree, cilantro (both leaf and root), lemongrass, and Thai basil. The bowls come topped with one’s choice of protein: beef, succulent pork meatballs, meltingly good chicken and pork wontons, or all three. Once garnished with toasted garlic, chives, roasted peanuts, mung bean sprouts, chili flakes, and a drop or so of nam pla, you’re good to go.
It’s amazingly good, this soup: the broth is tangy and spicy without making one pucker or blowing one’s head off. The savory toppings are balanced by the fresh veg and herbs. The bland noodles absorb the broth without going soggy and are toothsome.
I came to lunch with my head stuffed up; I left feeling absolutely relieved. 🙂
Sen Lek Thai Noodles: 4th Floor – Festival Supermall (Cinemas area), Alabang, Muntinlupa