Pineapple Fried Rice @ Phad Thai, Taipan USJ in Subang
Lip-smacking, fiery and tantalizing Thai food in Kuala Lumpur. Wait, that was all that I was meaning to say, really! No hidden agenda, no political dirt.
Anyway, the mixed culture in our country permits a reasonably-high acceptance (or rather, tolerance?) towards cuisines from the minorities; from the rare Sarawakian cuisine (Sarawak laksa, Mee Kolo), even rarer Filipino eateries, the abundance of Indonesian ‘ayam penyet’ outlets (literally translated to smashed chicken; a MUST-try if you are hankering for crispy fried chicken served with a killer spicy chili paste condiment) and of course … the even more mainstream Thai restaurants.
In every mall, I daresay, there will be at least one restaurant serving Thai food. Or at the barest minimal; a Thai food stall in a food court. Classics like Tom Yum Kung (Thai style of spicy and sour soup with prawns; more often with a mixed variety of seafood), Green Curry Chicken and Pad Thai (a perennial street food favourite of mine; a Thai-style fried rice noodles) have gradually seeped into our menus.
From the random roadside food stall serving Malay style of mixed rice with dishes (nasi campur) with optional serving of Tom Yum Campur (campur in Malay means mixed), to casual air-conditioned kopitiams incorporating Spicy Thai Chili Sauce Chicken with rice, and even fine diners dishing out the classics from the Land of Smiles.
Phad Thai Restaurant in Taipan USJ in Subang area is a gem that’s not as hidden as one may think. Come during the weekends; in the peak hours for dinner (usually after 8pm, as this outlet serves a clientele that leans more towards the Malay patrons who will come after prayers) and you shall bear witness to its lure across the Thai food lovers in the neighbourhood.
Their specialty? More than a few, I dare say. But do order a serving of their pineapple fried rice; aesthetically-pleasant presentation in a hollowed pineapple; the insides being cubed and fried with the rice. The desserts here deserve a mention too; a crazily indulgent sweet glutinous rice with durian (the King of fruits!) and coconut milk.
Nong & Jimmy on the other hand, lies mile away from Phad Thai, in Ampang area. This is a tried-and-tested outlet with a large fanbase, readily digging in into their signature grilled crabs served with a very addictive spicy and sour sauce. The starter of fried mini dough fritters (you tiao in Chinese) with pandan-flavoured kaya (coconut and egg jam) is something you won’t find elsewhere. Aside from that, do consider a portion of the grilled squid, or squid stir-fried in yellow curry paste.
A tiny, hole-in-wall establishment named Lai Thai Market tucked hidden beneath a block of flats in Section 17 is an outlet that’s pretty authentic; only 4 or so tables and serving only a handful of Thai selection. And they double up as a supermarket selling goods from Thailand; from instant noodles (Mama brand!) to dried produce and even spices.
However, they do a few Isaan classics; like Stir-fried pork with basil leaves, Northern Thai style minced meat with lots of offal and bits, and the appetizing (but dead spicy) Thai salad of Som Tam with raw papaya. All these can be served with glutinous rice instead of white rice.
Lastly, the Thai elements have really affected the local cooking; especially Malay cuisine that’s more prone to spicy fares. Take for instance, Vicchuda Tomyam in Damansara Uptown. A mix of Malay dishes like Telur Bistik (fried egg topped with green peas and shallots served in sweet and sour gravy). Although the Tom Yum here can not hold a candle to the more authentic Thai counterparts, it’s still a cut above the others served in mostly Mamak restaurants or Malay hawker stalls.
Essentially, the growing number of Thai food outlets in KL can only mean one thing; globalization is indeed taking place; and we sometimes wonder when will be the time when Malaysian cuisine takes centrestage in the other countries?
PHAD THAI RESTAURANT (HALAL)
21, Jalan USJ 10/1C,
47620 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel No : +016-239 2072, +019-477 9545
Business hours : Tues-Sun from 10am – 10pm.
Closed on Mondays.
GPS Coordinates : 3.048661,101.584566
Nong & Jimmy Thai Seafood BBQ (pork-free)
Lot 27363, Jalan Cahaya 1,
Taman Cahaya, Ampang,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Contact Numbers : 0342511807, 0192611345, 0122738069
GPS: 3.142669, 101.754727
LAI THAI MARKET (non-Halal)
AG-3, Block A,
Happy Mansion, Jalan 17/13,
Section 17, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Business hours : 10am onwards, until 5pm.
GPS Coordinates : 3.123311,101.634805
VICCHUDA TOMYAM & SEAFOOD (Halal)
24 Jalan SS21/35,
47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opens from lunch hour until late night.