Where: Satay in Wallingford, Seattle
In the bowl: Shrimp, yellow noodles, and tofu puffs in spicy coconut soup, along with bean sprouts and a lime wedge.
Supporting cast: That’s it–at your table, that is.
What to do: Squeeze the lime to add acidity and a citrus note to the soup. Then taste it. If you’d like more spice, there’s Srirachi at the back station of the restaurant.
Noodling around: Although I’m always one to add more spice to anything, I actually enjoyed the laksa’s heat level just as it was. The broth was delicious, with a wonderfully silky, velvety texture. The shrimp were unremarkable, but I really liked the tofu puffs, which sponged up the soup nicely.
My big “huh?” moment was with the noodles. While there are certainly variations of laksa, most recipes make it with fresh rice flour noodles or dried rice vermicelli. Satay, though, makes it with yakisoba noodles. A bit bewildering, but not bad, I suppose.
If still hungry: While the creamy broth is filling, the bowl is small, so you’ll likely want something more. The menu is limited, but offers a choice of two types of roti canai. If you know you’ll be hungry, pre-order the regular roti canai ($3.50). It’s flaky flat bread that you’ll dip in red curry sauce. Or, if you want to wait things out, you can instead opt for the dessert roti canai ($3.75), which is topped with condensed milk, cinnamon, and sugar.
Be aware/beware: This is a hip, casual place, with the likes of The Animals to Aerosmith coming through the speakers. You order at front counter, await the call of your number, and pick up your food at the kitchen counter in the back.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on March 1, 2011.