‘Suki Yaki Gai!’ ‘Po-Pla Je!’ ‘Tom Yum Goong Pla-Muk!’ ‘Ba-Mee Pad Sie-Eiuy Goong Pla-Muk!’
I have a plosive fetish, I’ve discovered. That being (for the uninitiated) a burning desire to expound at length (often at inopportune moments) using a series of plosive-loaded words such as those mentioned above.
It’s very satisfying, believe me.
Now, it’s hard to find places where this sort of behaviour is considered socially acceptable… and so it is that I find myself, time and time again, indulging my strange syllabic urges by visiting Simply Asia and reading the menu out loud, one exotic-sounding dish at a time…
‘Taud-Man Khao-Phod!’ ‘Goong Choub Paeng-Taud!’ ‘Ba-Mee Pad Sie-Eiuy Gai!’ – these are not words that can be whispered. They must have exclamation marks – and lots of ’em.
Simply Asia is the one place where I can freely indulge in my peculiar penchant for plosives… and not look silly doing it (okay, so perhaps I do look a little ridiculous – if the expressions of the bemused waitrons are anything to go by – but I care not!).
Besides, it’s not just the Asian syllables that are so succulent and addictive – their food is damn good too.
Simply Asia is a chain of restaurants and noodle bars with a number of branches situated mainly in the Western Cape. Now, I’m not normally a fan of franchised restaurants, but these guys do seem to be getting the formula right.
Each branch has distinctive black and red decor, which is quite pleasing to the eye (in my opinion) and I am fast becoming addicted to their selection of Asian noodles, curries and rice dishes.
The branch which has had to deal with my exclamations most often is the one in Gardens – right alongside 5 Park Road – but the one where I’ve had the tastiest dishes so far is the Cavendish branch.
Gardens definitely has a better ambience, with outdoor seating that’s lovely in summer, whilst the Cavendish branch’s position amongst the fast-food joints in the Cavendish Square foodcourt makes it rather noisy and slap bang in the middle of the madding crowd (and their screeching children).
My favourite dish: Sen-Yai Goong Pla-Muk Prik-Phao, roughly translated as ‘large rice noodles with prawns, calamari and cashew nuts stirfried with roasted chilli paste’ (or 606 for the un-adventurous or plosive-impaired). Their stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts and rice (302) is excellent too.
My one caveat: if you intensely dislike green peppers or green beans, choose carefully – a large number of their dishes come with these veggies.
The best thing about Simply Asia (besides the crazy names): the fact that all their dishes are so fresh, tasty and filling and aren’t coated in MSG (so prevalent among Asian eateries).
Simply Asia has several branches in the Western Cape, including Gardens, Heritage Square, Cavendish Square, Lakeside and the Waterfront. Tel: 021 422-3364 (Gardens Branch). Main meals cost between R42 and R55.