When it comes to foriegn cuisine, it is safe to say that the most popular of all out of South East Asia is that of our Northern neighbor – Thai. You can find a good bowl of tomyam most anywhere in the world.
For us in Malaysia, we had the good fortune of being able to indulge in some of the most authentic dishes Thailand has to offer thanks to our proximity and our shared history across the border.
Update 2019: This place is permanently closed.
Tigerlily at DC Mall
This tradition continues at Tigerlily, one of the latest Thai restaurants located at DC Mall, the new spanking shopping complex located at Damansara Height, and we were lucky enough to get invited to sample some of their dishes.
To properly prep for the restaurant, the local chefs were sent to Thailand to sample and learn about the different dishes from its origin so they can be recreated at this outfit. Don’t let the interior decoration and plating style fools you, what you get here is not far from what you’ll find in some of the old school Thai restaurants.
3 layer coffee? Lemongrass? or classic Thai iced tea?
To start the night, we ordered their Thai iced tea & iced coffee with gula melaka (RM 6.90) which looked stunning, but for those who liked it old school, their traditional Thai iced tea (RM 4.60) would be the one to go for. For those who like it plain & soothing, perhaps a glass of lemongrass drink (RM 3.50) would do the trick.
fried calamari, lemongrass satey
There’s no alcohol served here (they’re in process of obtaining halal certification), but the fried calamari & lemongrass satey (RM 9.90 for 5) really begs for a cold one. We particularly like the zesty homemade sauce that is served together with the squid.
four angled beans, steamed otak otak
Another snack we ordered was the steamed otak-otak (RM 5.90), it came in an aluminium cup similar to those you’d find holding larmaikai, but instead of chicken you’d have seafood in classic Thai otak fillings. I thought it was decent, though if I have to choose between this and regular Penang style otak-otak, the latter would be my pick.
We then proceed to main dishes to go with rice and started out with the veges.
First was four angled beans with peanuts (RM 9.90), a juicy and crunchy affair that’s fitting to open up one’s appetite.
stir fry kailan, spicy eggplant with dry shrimp
The stir fry kailan (RM 12.90) here is a simple dish that’s not out of place from any ‘tai-chao’ restaurants around town. My favorite though, would be the spicy eggplant with dry shrimp (RM 14.90), really rich, savory, and comes with a kick, steamed rice is really compulsory with this.
tomyum kung, Thai red curry chicken, Thai green curry prawn
No Thai meal is complete without a good serving of tomyam, their tomyum kung (shrimp, RM 26.90) really packs a punch. You’d have to be a bit careful not to treat everything green here as scallions, for there are a lot of whole green chili padi in the mix, just the way a good bowl of tomyam should be.
The Thai red curry chicken (RM 15.90) is slightly less hardcore on the spicy scale, but it makes up for being creamy and flavorful. A decent interpretation of the dish in my opinion.
Then there’s the Thai green curry prawn (RM 26.90), served with generous amount of eggplant, this dish delivers a mix of seafood sweetness and the unique taste of green curry, I really enjoyed it (mostly cos eggplant is one of my favorite veges too.)
Thai grilled fish
The Thai grilled fish (RM 46.90) was our final main dish of the night, and would be for you anyone who orders it as Tigerlily makes this from scratch when you order and it takes the longest amount of time to prepare.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t particularly find the dish impressive, and not to the fault of the chef or how they prepare this. Tilapia is quite a bland tasting fish and I find this classic Thai preparation method did not sufficiently add enough flavor to the fish. It was okay, if you love this street style fish, you’d like it here, otherwise I’d probably give it a miss. My favorite Thai fish dish is still the steamed siakap (which they also serve)
mango sticky rice, ice kacang, tub tim crob, cendol
Then of course, we proceed to desserts.
We sampled their mango sticky rice (RM 9.90), ice kacang (RM 11.90), tub tim crob (red ruby, RM 7.00), cendol (RM 4.90), and banana fritters with ice cream (RM 12.90).
With the exception of the banana fritters, every dessert looked like a piece of art, the presentation is really stunning! Thankfully, they do taste the part as well.
I like how the cendol, ABC, and red ruby all uses the really fine shaven ice (sort of like those Korean style desserts) which makes the sweetness melt in your mouth that much quicker. Careful not to get brain freeze though.
banana fritters & friends we were with at the session
If you haven’t find a reason to head to DC Mall, perhaps Tigerlily would be a good excuse.
Address: Tigerlily Damansara City Mall,
Lot LG 18 Lower Ground,
6, Jalan Damanlela,
50490 Kuala Lumpur GPS:3.146140, 101.661675 Tel: 03-2011 2912 Web: www.tigerlily.com.my
Nothing beats a dish of lor mai kai (glutinous chicken rice) when you want quick and wholesome breakfast on a work week. It is something that requires less than a minute to be served, and usually fills up the stomach pretty good. You can also have it tapao and even eat it on the go without much fuss.
lor mai kai and otak otak, an unlikely breakfast combination
Then there’s otak-otak, or to be more specific, the Penang style otak-otak. Perhaps it is because I am from Penang, I prefer this over all form of otak-otak. It is fragrant, soft, and very easy to eat. The combination of fish, egg, coconut milk, and betel leaves works in harmony in this dish to create a taste that is unmistakeably Nyonya in its origin. I love it.
the same stall also sell pau, bak chang, and nyonya kuih
Yong Len kopitiam at TTDI happens to have a stall that offers both these two dishes at the same time in the morning, and both are some of the bests I’ve tried from anywhere. The lor mai kai comparable with the one at Redang Island which we love, and the otak otak is as good as any I had in Penang.
While breakfast is served pretty fast at Yong Len, I usually end up chatting with the prawn mee’s boss for extended period of time. He’s a fellow bike enthusiast and we talk about bike news and such, always a good start to the morning.
Address: Restaurant Yong Len
Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1
(opposite Perodua showroom)
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.141630, 101.629243 Hours: Morning and Lunch, Closed on Mondays
My friends have been raving about this place with the best fried eggs for a while now. Yuki, Winnie, and Kerol kept talking about the fried eggs that everyone must try, and my thought was probably exactly like yours, “Fried eggs? Serious?”
So we made a trip to Restaurant Muar at Tengkat Tong Shin a couple weekends because I had to know what the fuss is all about.
Restaurant Muar is situated right next to Ngau Kei at Tengkat Tong Shin
Located just a few doors down from the popular 24 hour beef noodle place Ngau Kei, Restaurant Muar serves home cooked dishes from a comfortable home-turned-restaurant setting. There’s air conditioning and some attempts in interior decoration, but we’re here for the food anyway, right?
The menu has your usual home-cooked dishes broken down into a few categories – seafood, chicken, egg, beancurd, vegetable, and soup. Pork is missing from the list though.
this fried egg is what we came here for
And.. this is what we came here for. The famous crispy fried eggs (RM 5/RM 7) at Restaurant Muar was really a very simple yet very well executed dish. A few eggs deep fried and with dark soya sauce or cooking caramel sprinkled on top, that’s it!
It was really as what they said – the best fried eggs there is! Crispy on the side with the egg yolk still slightly runny, it was glorious. I kinda miss it right now while penning this down actually.
butter kailan, otak otak, prawn & squid with petai
To go with steamed rice, we also ordered a few other dishes for the four of us.
The petai squid and prawns (RM 16) was positively spicy and rather fragrant, goes well with rice. Butter kailan is another interesting dish and tasted like the crumbs from butter prawns with a hint of kailan taste, it worked well I think.
I thought the otak-otak (RM 12) was merely average, a little bit too firm for my liking and didn’t carry the reputation of Muar otak-otak well.
Kerol, KY, Yuki – the cendol is pretty good too
Restaurant Muar also serves set meals for 1 pax (RM 5.80), 2-3 pax (RM 25.90), 4-6 pax (RM 45.90), and even 7-10 pax (RM 65.90). Prices are pretty reasonable for what you get and food is generally rather delicious. Now if I have a super hot deep fryer at home…
Nasi Lemak Itik Salai, now that’s something that you don’t commonly see. We are used to nasi lemak having sotong (squid), ayam goreng (fried chicken), daging rendang (beef), and for the non-halal version, even pork; but itik salai (smoked duck)? That’s pretty interesting so far as Malaysia’s national dish nasi lemak goes.
note: this place has moved. new address is at No 70 jalan Pekaka 8/3, Kota Damansara Section 8 (Same row with jabatan pendaftaran and hospital Pusrawi)
Izwan Woon Abdullah, located just behind Taman Bahagia LRT station
The restaurant that offers this dish is Izwan Woon Abdullah, located just behind Taman Bahagia LRT station at SS3, a few doors down from the famous pork noodle and Luckly Loke tai chao at the corner.
nasi lemak itik salai, you don’t see this very often
The restaurants offer nasi lemak and a few other more traditional Malay dishes, but I had to try their nasi lemak itik salai.
The plate comes with fragrant nasi lemak on a slice of banana leaf, a side of sambal, anchovies & peanuts, half a hard boiled egg, smoked duck, and some brown sauce for the duck.
The brown sauce though, was a waste of time, so we asked for more sambal instead, which more than made up for it. 😀
the sambal and the rice itself was quite awesome too
The sambal was top notch, spicy and very flavorful, and the duck tasted pretty close to Chinese style smoked duck but with a slightly different taste that I can’t exactly point out, it was good, and certainly a different experience being paired with nasi lemak. I find myself enjoying it.
they have nasi lemak ayam too, and the otak-otak is pretty good
Their nasi lemak with chicken was able to satisfy one of the biggest nasi lemak fan in Horng, and otak-otak Johor (RM 0.80 per stick) was delicious enough we ordered second servings (even Suan who was from Johor approved of the taste).
The restaurant has been in business some 2-3 months and I sure hope it stays. I’ve only been there a couple times but looking forward to head there more often. =)
Address: Restoran Izwan Woon Abdullah SS 3/59E Petaling Jaya 47300 Selangor GPS: 3.109904, 101.611722 Hours: lunch and dinner
My siblings and me share the same passion when it comes to food – we want to eat everything and anything that is delicious, and usually would travel to illogical distances just for this purpose.
Over the last CNY holidays, we paid a visit to my younger brother who works at Sungai Petani as a houseman and he brought us to this little hidden gem that is Mae Salong Thai Restaurant for dinner. Most of us are tomyam fanatics, so the destination suits us very well.
Mae Salong at Sungai Petani, crazy decoration
Mae Salong resides in an unimpressive part of Sungai Petani, which is a pretty unimpressive town in a state that isn’t known to be impressive. The restaurant however, is anything but.
Nestle in the kampung is a structure that could easily confuse diners as a set for fantasy movie. There’s hanging bridge, a huge koi pond with a two level dining area that is half submerged, and even a massive water wheel and fountain and the center. Oh, it is also some sort of a mini zoo as well.
All these fancy decoration proved to be useful when we had to kill time waiting for table on the Saturday evening when we were there. (booking highly advisable)
the drinks come in a big bottle, red ruby’s nice!
After securing a seat, we were given some Thai tidbits as some sort of appetizer, and they come in the form of dried anchovies with curry leaves, peanuts, and dried chili padi. That thing was quite awesome, and you could actually buy them at Thailand in packets, beats potato chips anytime. 😀
We made our orders with the friendly Thai lady, and asked for desserts to be served first since we knew it was gonna take a while before food is ready. The red ruby (RM 2.50) was delicious, with the right amount of santan, fresh nangka, and that chestnut in tapioca. Yummy.
We ordered honey dates with sugar cane drinks (RM 12 for all) to quench our thirst, and was happy that they come in big bottles instead of individual cups.
thai style lala, mantis prawn, otak otak
Our first dish that came was the the Thai style lala (RM 15), though the shellfish wasn’t exactly big in size, the taste more than make up for it. There’s chili, green onion and garlic all mixed up with the lala soaked in spicy sourish broth that’s kept warm with a small fire under. The soup itself was very very delicious.
Mantis prawn (RM 15) is deep fried with salted egg yolk, another dish that never disappoint. Again you find chili padi in the mix, spicy, savory, with the hint of saltiness, love it.
Thai otak-otak (RM 15) was perhaps the only thing that was a bit disappointed. It was packed with seafood, but somehow the otak otak paste wasn’t exactly up to the level of standard I was expecting. Not a bad dish per se, but nothing special.
steamed siakap, omelete, and of course, tomyam
Of course, no Thai meal is complete without an order of tomyam (RM 20). The seafood tomyam is hot, flavoful, and absolutely packed with ingredients – prawns, fish, squid, and more lala in addition to tomato, chili, and other ingredients that make up a proper bowl of tomyam soup. We enjoyed this a lot.
We also had a fish to go with all the other seafood dishes, the steamed siakap (RM RM 27) was the most expensive dish we ordered. It was fresh and does taste very good, the soup made me suspect that it is a cross between the lala and tomyam, and hence didn’t make a very good combination to the other dishes we oredered. It was however, a quality dish nonetheless.
Last but not least, there’s omelete (RM 8) that again, has a hint of seafood in it – very tiny baby prawns, the same size that you find in cincalok. It brought back some childhood memories when we’d catch them in the sea, good times. The omelete was pretty decent as well.
mom, sister, brother, haze, niece – happies!
By the time we are done and headed back to Penang, it was already some 11pm, but that was after a very good dinner that only cost less than RM 140 for the 6 of us. If you find yourself anywhere within 50 or even 100 km from Sungai Petani, give this place a try, but do call and book your table if it’s on weekends.
Address: Mae Salong Restaurant 199-E, Kampung Bakar Bata, 08000 Sungai Petani, Kedah GPS: 5.62594863, 100.46545 Tel: 016-424 6842