This tiny shop where heymisterthatsadonutheymisterthatsamisterdonutdonut used to occupy at the back of the Sampaguita Suites-Mango caught my eye on the ride home over the weekend. Always on the lookout for new thrills, Yum Saeb made it to the to eat-in list for the week. We later learned that they opened right around the time I left on sabbatical the other year.
The sectioned menus with numbered items and the labels declaring authenticity of their flavors promised much and gave equal confusion as to our choices. I was five items into ordering more than what we could probably finish when The PussyKat flipped onto the page for combo meal sets allowing for some convenience. I let go of my Thai resto requisite of Chicken with Cashews for Set: TY-2. Tom Yum, Stir-fried Yellow Curry with Chicken, Mixed Vegetables with Oyster Sauce, Plain Rice and Thai Iced Tea.
We opted for the thick soup, chicken Tom Yum, with coconut milk as opposed to none in the clear soup version. We also opted for Thai spicy versus a spice level more attuned to Pinoy tastes. It did not register as thick as I expected but came on silky to the tongue with a slight tang and a pleasant afterburn that coats the palate. There was none of your dried, ground and bottled additives here as it featured whole leaf ingredients of pepper, lemon, cilantro and the definitive lemongrass with a whole slice of turmeric root finding its way in among the flavorful chunks of chicken.
The stir-fry had the chicken slathered in an extra creamy yellow-curry sauce that bordered on a paste-like consistency. The clean flavor of the white meat took on the spice without being overwhelmed. I found myself digging into the other half of the rice serving I was determined not to eat at the beginning of the meal with each further spoonful.
The Mixed Vegetables in Oyster Sauce was nothing out of the ordinary but provided a welcome crunch and counterbalance to the spice in the two other dishes. The inclusive Thai Iced Teas had the distinctly freshly-brewed taste and, true to the promise of authenticity, had the syrup-sweetness of Thai drinks.
Two old friends, Madame Shawie and Bossing Kino, walked in on us midway through our meal for a quick one. I hope they enjoyed theirs as well as we did ours.
On a Thai food-related note, we came across the recently transferred Little Saigon Big Bangkok at Mango Square along Juana Osmena Street on our way to Yum Saeb.
Yum Saeb Deli is located at the ground floor of the Sampaguita Suites – Mango (rear entrance), Gen. Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City.