Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cheap Thai Food at Som's Noodle House

The last time I ate at the karindirya-turned-restaurant called Som's Noodle House I was in college, studying at the all-women's college in San Lorenzo Village. Som's was pretty easy to get to by taxi and provided a much needed change of never-ending cafeteria slop and Glorietta food court staples you get so tired of eating.

After supporting Jericho's and the folks at Zomato at a bazaar at Rockwell Tent, we decided to have dinner at Som's instead of our usual Rockwell haunts. It would be Jericho's first time there, so he was excited for that, and I wanted to see how much the food had changed. I had heard rumors that the Thai owner had fallen ill, and with Filipinos running the joint you just know they'll be adding a bit too much sugar or salt where they aren't supposed to.

Located along the same street Grilla is on, gone was the small little stall along Backwell with the neon sign of simple Thai fare was displayed and standing in it's place is an actual restaurant, bustling with people with a very smokey barbecue stand outside and plastic monobloc tables and chairs where the wooden tables once were. The neon sign that used to be the landmark for Som's is now inside, more of an ode to the restaurant's roots and a point of reference for those not familiar with Thai cuisine.

Sitting down, I ordered my favorite Catfish Salad (P250). This never fails - flaked deep fried catfish is tossed with strips of mangoes, shallots and chili, as well as a handful of peanuts for that sweet, sour, and nutty combination. I was disappointed at how small the serving was now. This used to be a lot bigger.

The place may have gotten an upgrade in looks department, but the vibe was pretty much the same. Families in for a good meal, co-workers ready to bond over curries, and the occasional expat trying to impress his date for the night with Thai food before taking her down to Burgos street for beers and a a good time. I was happy that my favorite sweet Thai Tea (P50) was still the same, albeit a tad more expensive.

Jericho wanted to try something new and ordered the Red Beef Curry (P200), which was a nice compromise between the yellow (read: bland) and green (supposedly super hot) curries.

When I'd order Som's red curry back in the day, I'd get the sweats - it was so spicy! This time around I was utterly disappointed since the heat had tamed down by a whole lot. They shouldn't even be calling this stuff curry anymore - it's more like a red sauce with eggplant and tough beef strips floating around. Remember what I said about Pinoys adding too much sugar? My curry was ruined. Jericho had most of it with an order of Plain Rice (P15) on the side.

I also got an order of Chicken Sate (P150). It was ok, but I was disappointed with the sate sauce that should have brought the whole dish together. What the heck was I putting in my mouth?

I miss the Som's of old, but with their original Thai chef gone, I really cannot expect the level of authenticity to be the same as what it once was. Nevertheless, Som's is still a pretty good bargain for Thai food price-wise and their Catfish Salad will always be a winner in my book.

So when you're mucking around Backwell in search of an affordable place to eat, check out the sosyal na karindirya, Som's Noodle House for a change. I'd recommend you stick to the chicken or pork dishes as I'm a bit dubious as to how fresh their seafood really is and their beef leaves you feeling like you've chewed on old carpet.

Just mucking around Manila,
Follow @_muckingaround on Twitter and Instagram.
Like the Mucking Around Manila fan page.

Images taken by Jericho San Miguel of The Pixel Project Manila

Som's Noodle House
+63 2 757 8079
5921 A. Alger St. Poblacion, Makati