The eminently affordable Hung Sen rolls over to Saladang, and the menu's even more tempting
WHEN IT comes to the spicy burn of Thai food, Hung Sen, a popular restaurant newly relocated to Saladang Soi 1, hits just the right notes. Judging by the number of families and office workers from the neighbourhood stopping in for a quick lunch or dinner, the place is a gourmet magnet.
People who are very fond of noodles established Hung Sen, as the name suggests. “Hung” refers to cooking rice and “sen” means noodles, and in Chaozhou Chinese, “hungsen” also means noodles.
The relocated Hung Sen has a modern ambience to complement its creative approach to classic Thai dishes.
Hung Sen the restaurant is a known quantity in Bangkok, operating in its original location at CentralWorld for seven years. Though relocated, it offers the same dishes with the same winning qualities.
“The lease on the old place elapsed, so we decided to move here, and we hope our loyal customers keep coming,” say co-founder Alisa Sudasna. “We guarantee the taste is the same, and the menu has even been improved.”
The two-floor restaurant has a hip, modern style with high ceilings, their dark blue trim contrasting with the white furniture, lush green potted plants and orange brick wall decorated with tantalising photos of the dishes available. Hung Sen can accommodate up to 50 diners in cosy surroundings.
With a menu mainly about noodles, Alisa and her partner Saovaluk Siwapornchai have gone for a street style in creative recipes, high-quality ingredients and attention to detail.
Pork Tom Yum Noodles
“With noodles, the soup is very important,” says Alisa. “We cook seven to 10 kilograms of pork at a time, letting it simmer for many hours to flavour the stock. In spicy dishes like tom yum, we use palm sugar and get the sour taste from tamarind instead of vinegar.”
Sukhothai Rice Noodles with Kurobuta Pork (Bt120) is a recipe from Alisa’s grandmother, the dish delightfully sweet and (slightly) sour and scented with lime. It features the Kurobuta pork tenderloin, ground pork, pork crackling and a parboiled egg.
In Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice Noodles (Bt70), the noodles form a soft outer frame for the meat.
Chicken Khao Soi (Bt115) is yellow-curry noodle soup rich spiced and with large chunks of thigh meat.
Khao Soi Chicken
“This is one of our best-selling noodle dishes,” says Alisa. “It has an authentic northern Lanna taste. I’ve sampled chicken khao soi all over the North and this is the best recipe. We make our own chilli paste too, using fried Karen chillies and nuts, but that means you have to be careful because it’s very hot!”
For devotees of prawns, Tom Yum Kung Noodles (Bt185) and the Pad Tai (Bt125) both contain large river prawns and boast intense flavouring along with soft noodles.
Non-noodle dishes include Stir-fried Garlic Chives Spring Rolls (Bt80). The frying, as opposed to the usual steaming, makes them extra crispy and golden brown.
There are about 20 different kinds of spicy papaya salad on the menu. One highlight has to be Tum Luang Prabang (Bt80), whose unbeatable ingredients are pickled-fish sauce and shrimp paste. The papaya is also thin-sliced rather than chopped, so it has both a different look and different texture.
Garlic Chives Spring Rolls
On the rice menu is Khao Kra Prow Sam Mhoo (Bt100), featuring stir-fried basil, minced pork, bacon and pork crackling served with clear soup.
“We offer new and different dishes every month,” Alisa says. “Having grown up with my grandmother, I realise now that a lot of traditional
Thai dishes have been forgotten. But we serve them here.
“One of my favourites is mieng kham pla, with chopped lime, shallots, ginger, roasted coconut, dried shrimp and peanuts, all eaten with chaplu leaves and sweet and sour chilli sauce. I add a little twist by adding a single bite of deep-fried fish.
“Another favourite is tom som pla krapong, the sweet and sour soup with snapper fish. I use palm sugar, tamarind and spices to balance the aroma and flavour.”
The Mieng Kham Pla costs Bt180 and the Tom Som Pla Krapong Bt255.
Hung Sen also does catering and can deliver lunch boxes. Look it up on UberEats, Honest Bee or Line Man.
CLASSY SPOT FOR CLASSICS
>> Hung Sen is on Saladang Soi 1 near the U Chu Liang Building, where there’s free parking for up to 90 minutes.
>> It’s open weekdays from 11am to 9.30pm and weekends from 11.30.
>> Book a table at (02) 2337455 or Facebook.com/hungsen.noodle.