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The cold season has officially arrived, driving people indoors to load up on echinacea, Vitamin C, and uncomplicated meals. When the body is worn down and needs that extra chill time, it makes sense to get rid of the heavier foods. There’s no need to turn down the heat though: spicy food can really help your system readjust and get on the mend! While living in The Netherlands, I discovered through Indonesian friends living there that when they get under the weather, they turn up the heat. As Indonesia is a former Dutch colony, many of the national dishes are prepared throughout the tiny Dutch country, to varying degrees of spiciness.

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Spices are also known to produce endorphins (neurotransmitters produced in our bodies that act as natural pain killers), and a quick search on the internet unleashed numerous spice and herb websites to combat illness. If you’ve got clogged sinuses, heat aids in clearing stuff out of your system. Unless you’re battling something stomach-related, bring on the heat, I say!

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I took that long-lost advice to heart recently when I came down with a nasty cold and throat infection. As a long-time Noodle Box fan, I headed in for a takeaway fix of Singapore Cashew Curry ($13 with chicken; also available with tofu, pork, beef, prawns, combo, or free-range chicken), one of my favourite go-to items on the menu. It’s created with rice noodles, cashews, coconut milk, peppers, Asian greens and herbs, served over a heaping pile of ribbon noodles and garnished with green onions, cilantro, a lime wedge, and crushed cashews.

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One deep whiff of the dish in its box confirmed that I’d made the right decision. Once home, I tucked into this comfort lunch, steamy hot and mild-medium on the heat scale. The Noodle Box offers several shades of heat to customize your taste buds.

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The Noodle Box is also part of the Tiffin Project launched by the Waldorf Hotel’s chef Hunter Moyes last summer. Tiffins have been used as food containers in India since the late 1800’s, helping to reduce takeout container waste. The money collected from the project helps fund both local farm produce and research ways of eliminating waste. The reusable tin is available for purchase at the restaurant; when customers return with the tin, they’ll get a discount on meal orders. I see a tiffin in my future. Click here for a list of partner restaurants around town.

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Noodle Box is located at 1867 West 4th Avenue in Kits, and at 839 Homer (near Robson) in Vancouver for your winter heat needs.

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