One evening, Mabie had dinner with her friends, so I had a couple of hours to kill around Greenbelt. I hadn't had any supper myself, so I spent most of the time walking around in circles and attempting to get gloriously lost. Most of the places I first considered dining in were too expensive, and at that time I was more interested in stretching my money due to the numerous expenses I'd had.
I ended up trundling back to Toast Box. We've sampled some of their wares in a previous visit, but because of an upcoming Singapore trip, Mabie and I had an interest in the stuff the hawkers there would sell. Also, I'd already sampled instant laksa before - I wonder how the real thing would play on my palate?
|Nonya Laksa with hot barley - PhP245 as a set.|
So off I went, sat and ordered a bowl of Nonya Laksa with hot barley. The latter is new to my eyes as well; barley is better known to most as one of the four key ingredients of beer. I got it as a set for PhP245, with the drink discounted.
|The instant version just doesn't come with this many toppings|
The main difference between Koka's instant laksa and the real thing is the noodles. Nonya Laksa has what you could call rice-based spaghetti. Also, the genuine article comes with a host of toppings: fish balls, shrimp, tofu, ground meat and some herbs. Koka's instant laksa is a good imitation, but Toast Box's version is much more filling and delicious. It tastes more like its own dish and less of a distant relative to tom yum goong.
|Oh yes that's hot.|
What about the hot barley? It literally is hot, served in a vessel that's the love child of a mug and a jar. A long-handled teaspoon is provided for scooping the soggy barley grains with. I was surprised by how sweet this drink tasted. It's not the kind of sweetness brought on by sugar, but a more natural, more pleasurable taste. Once it sufficiently cooled down, I gulped it down with gusto and fished the barley grains out as Toast Box slowly closed another business day.
This was a sufficiently satisfying meal, although I did get food allergies in bed that night - no fault of the restaurant. Of course, the next step for me is to try authentic laksa in its place of origin...we'll see how it compares.
|The jelly-like barley grains waiting for you at the bottom!|