It has been raining on and off for more than two weeks now. I miss the sun. I would hate being Bella Swan if Edward Cullen would rather be in places that often rain, ugh! So when the effervescent sun graced the sky that day and my son was in ABA therapy, I opted to enjoy my "me" time in the glowing heat of the mid afternoon sun specifically in a hole-in-the-wall open air Thai noodle house called Sen Lek Thai Noodle.
I’ve always liked Sen Lek’s Pad Thai. It tastes authentic. Funny I can say that, I haven’t even been to Thailand. But I think I’ve watched enough cooking shows in the travel network that featured this dish and cooking attempts at home to have an idea about its ingredients and flavor profile.
Besides, the stand is owned by a Thai so I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. And the Pad Thai here is way better than the one I tasted in a mediocre restaurant, one that had chorizo bilbao in it. I remember my disappointment or was it disgust when I saw the Spanish sausage hanging on my fork. The gall they call it Pad Thai. This was not Pad Thai, I thought, okay so they created their own version but it’s like desecrating another country’s national dish. So began my quest for a good and of course, affordable Pad Thai, one that led me to Sen Lek.
I first tried Sen Lek’s Pad Thai one rainy evening, had it to go. The wife’s owner was there, very pleasant. The styro container was almost brimming and I was ecstatic with the flavors that hit me. Sourness, crunchiness, sweetness. Yum! Which was why I found myself there again one sunny afternoon. So what if the din of cars was a little distracting and a few flies suddenly appeared. I didn’t mind as long as I had my Pad Thai fix.
Delectably arranged, I can hardly wait. The sour, sweet, salty combination of flavor was still there with the flavors of the tamarind paste intertwining with the light saltiness of soy sauce and a hint of fish sauce, all melding with the absorbent tofu, crunchy bean sprouts, scrambled egg and al dente flat noodles. Chopped peanuts also grazed it with texture, giving it a quirky and tasty earthiness while the kintsay stalks infused it with a faint sharpness, making it more complex than it looks, I love it.
But something doesn’t have to be complex to be good. Take the Thai Iced tea, a good foil to the complicated flavors of the Pad Thai. Some cold tea with a generous pouring of milk. Sweet and decadent. I just love how the milk swirls around the brown tea creating a visual whirlpool, showcasing a mini spectacle.
Sometimes, I forget that I’m eating in a small stand on the side of the road with cars and tricycles speeding with no care while a karaoke is blasting on the other stand. I guess, you can’t have it all. But so what, at least I have my sunlight and my Pad Thai. Simple pleasures that really make my day .