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Get Your Pad Thai Fix at Sen Lek Thai for Less than PHP 140

October 22, 2014

When I first visited Bangkok in 2005, it was the food that got me hooked. Discovering the freshness of herbs, the intensity of the chili, the balance between sweet and sour, and the harmony of ingredients in dishes like curry felt like my taste’s “coming of age.” Since then, I have been looking for a substitute or at least something close to the quality and affordability of Thai street food. When our food reporter told us about Sen Lek Thai Noodle, I looked forward to seeing how this stall would attempt Thai cuisine.

SenLekThai5

Sen Lek Thai’s stall is located in the basement floor of Makati Cinema Square. Although it appears to be a take out stall, there are a few tables beside the counter for you to sit down and enjoy a quick bite. Their menu items are mainly rice and noodle dishes. The Thai Noodle options are Wanton (PHP 70), Meatball (PHP 70), Beef Thai Noodle (PHP 80), and the Mix Special (PHP 90) which combines all three. There’s also Pad Thai at PHP 100, Khaw-Pad-Kai or Thai Fried Rice with Chicken at PHP 120, Khaw-Kruk-Kapi or Thai Bagoong Rice (PHP 120), and Khaw-Pad-Kung or Thai Fried Rice w/Shrimp (PHP 140). For our visit, we opted for two noodle dishes: the soup-based Mix Special Thai Noodle and the Pad Thai.

Both servings were prepared on the spot and thus guaranteed that both dishes would be served hot. Given the dishes’ cheap prices, I wasn’t surprised that the stall used frozen meatballs and wanton for the Mix Special Thai Noodle. The Pad Thai required a longer preparation process, as the noodles, tofu, herbs, bean sprouts, and herbs were fried and mixed with the peanut sauce and a little bagoong to complete the dish.

SenLekThai1

Mix Special Thai Noodle (PHP 90)

The Mix Special Noodle was a straightforward dish: the ingredients’ servings were generous despite the price, and the extra cilantro and green onions made up for the broth’s blandness. The meatballs were your standard frozen and processed protein, but the wanton tasted old and threw me off the rest of the dish. The beef however made up for the lack of flavor. I imagine that this noodle dish would have been better appreciated if I had a cold or was down with the flu.

SenLekThai2

Pad Thai (PHP 100)

The Pad Thai was the complete opposite: the dish had abundant servings of green onions, eggs, bean sprouts, cilantro, peanut sauce, and tofu. There was also a hint of bagoong that did not compete at all with the multitude of flavors. The result was a slightly sweeter Pad Thai that catered to the Filipino palate. The large amount of egg, tofu, and vegetables also assured a satisfying meal that went way beyond its actual price. The popular noodle dish wasn’t very spicy, but chili oil, chili flakes, and chili paste were on the table for customers to add according to their tolerance level.

When it comes to cheap eats, stalls either hold back the ingredients or choose quantity over the overall quality. Sen Lek Thai isn’t authentic Thai cuisine, but it delivers beyond what one usually expects from a PHP 70 to PHP 140 price range. The dishes also cater to its Filipino market and the servings are a godsend if you’re grabbing a quick meal after a long day.

Have you tried Sen Lek Thai Noodle? What do you think of their different dishes? Let us know in the comments section below.


Sen Lek Thai

Address: Basement 1, Makati Cinema Square, Don Chino Roces Ave, Legazpi Village, Makati City

Gela Velasco Gela Velasco

Gela is a young adult slowly settling into her late twenties. She likes to make a mess in the kitchen when no one’s looking, dance till dawn on long weekends, and dream about beef on lazy afternoons. On some days she learns how to write good in graduate school. Her life goals include sashaying somewhat like Beyonce and to write a cover story on Leonardo di Caprio.

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14 comments in this post SHOW

14 responses to “Get Your Pad Thai Fix at Sen Lek Thai for Less than PHP 140”

  1. They also have a stall (as of September 2014, IIRC) at Alphaland Southgate Mall – EDSA cor Pasong Tamo Ext. I think it’s on the 3rd floor 🙂

    • gela velasco says:

      Ooh nice! Slightly nearer, and seems new, can’t recall if it was around when I worked in that area years back :))

  2. alula says:

    They have a restaurant at BF Homes J Love their green chicken
    curry and thai bagoong rice.

  3. Volts Sanchez says:

    There’s a branch of Sen Lek in Lasapin (the little foodcourt on Emerald in Ortigas). To add to what alula mentioned, they also have a branch on President’s Avenue heading to BF (nice little dine-in resto, cleaner-looking than the typical stall configuration). If I’m not mistaken, the original BF branch was inside the village itself (and more than a little out-of-the-way, at a corner leading to the Southville gate).

    • gela velasco says:

      I want to try the one in BF, as technically it’s nearer but yeah. I passed it the other day, a bit out of the way. And parang they have another branch near Tahanan 🙂

  4. At the GF (or is it basement?) of Robinson’s Forum. It’s a little stall and I love watching the lady stir fry the pad thai ingredients – especially all those bean sprouts (Mmmm). I usually ask her to hold the sugar, and true to the Pinoy sugary love affair, the pad thai still remains sweet! 🙂

  5. Victoria says:

    Is the Glorietta 4 Food Choices stall still around? That’s where I last ate their pad thai and enjoyed it!

  6. Moo Moo Thai says:

    What I like about Sen Lek’s Pad Thai Forum Branch is that I can ask “ATE” to squeeze the calamansi for me (Co’z squeezing those can be too hassle for me haha)!!! Suggestion: Top it with Japanese Siomai 🙂 They also have a branch at Shopwise Sucat 😀

  7. Benjamin Canapi says:

    MCS has a couple of cheap foodie finds that are easy on the wallet and quite the experience. There’s a japanese stall that sella very flavorful (if plain) Sukiyakidon for P80. Emers, a Chinese resto that dates back to the 80s, has good decent food, but thier Cuapao packs a punch. Chiquitita’s is a literal hole-in-the-wall, but the carinderya-type food is the best in class. All that, and we haven’t talked about Little Tokyo yet.

  8. Foodie says:

    My go to for quick and cheap but good pad thai! I agree with the other comment below – also check out the japanese food stall (maybe two stalls away) run by a japanese and his wife. They also sell cheap tempura, sukiyaki and gyoza which are really good for the prices.

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