We’re definitely blessed with a great selection of street food in Malaysia, from your typical char kuih teow stalls to burger tepi jalan, to nasi lemak shacks.. but if you look harder, you can also find authentic street food originated from neighboring countries, case in point – Little Rara with its authentic Thai fare.
Little Rara Thai Noodle House, Kia Peng
The restaurant is located at the carpark next to Menara HLA by Jalan Kia Peng, a stone’s throw away from Pavilion KL. The set up is as “authentic” as they get, seemingly putting up together by someone who happened to have a set of table saw, hammer, and nails. There’s no such thing as air conditioning or tinted windows, but you are somewhat shielded from rain should it starts pouring.
The place starts operating by 5:30 pm and does work up a crowd pretty soon. While the set up is old school, they do have a proper digital queuing system, color me impressed.
tomyam talay meggi
Like most proper “street food” stalls, the kitchen is pretty much open. There’s a BBQ grill where they prepare beef/chicken/corn, a stall for noodle (wet & dry), plus a drinks’ kitchen.
We started out with their famous tomyam talay meggi (RM 19 for small), it was basically tomyam maggi on steroid. Packed with prawns, mussels, squid, egg, and ultra strong tomyam flavor. Love it.
bbq beef, pad thai
BBQ Beef (RM 13, Australian beef apparently) goes well with the accompanying sauce, and it wasn’t over cooked either. Portion though was a bit small I thought.
However, the must-order from the grill turns out to be their BBQ Corn (RM 7 for 2). They were ultra sweet and almost half caramelized, I need this for movie night!
mango sticky rice & the excellent bbq corn
We also had seafood pad thai (RM 12) which I thought was quite competent, and a dessert in mango sticky rice (RM 8) which turned out to be just average.
Over all thought I really liked the place and the intense flavor of their tomyam & those corns. Will definitely order those two again when I revisit, and perhaps try some of their other dishes.
Address: Little Rara Thai Noodle House Menara HLA, 3, Jalan Kia Peng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.151342, 101.713584 Tel: 012-372 2706 Hours: 5:30 pm to 12 am, Closed on Sunday
The inner part of Ara Damansara away from the slightly more glamorous Oasis Square area used to be quite a bit of hidden area of PJ that’s not exactly a gem. There were a few less than interesting kopitiam, and an ill fated then-new commercial area by the name of New Ze Xui that eventually died a natural death. It was quite sad, and I know that full well as I used to stay at the nearby Crimson Apartment when I first moved to KL for work.
Well, that all matters little when the owner of Jatujak Bangkok Street Food decided to set up shop and provided a little spark to the area, I suppose you could call it a hidden gem.
Jatujak Bangkok Street Food at Ara Damansara
Being located at this part of PJ with little else going has its benefits, especially when it comes to parking. The shop itself too get to occupy quite a decent alfresco area since there isn’t any other competition nearby, which all translate to a good start to any dining experience.
Haze and I paid our first visit there a couple weeks ago when we met up with Lance for our first, and his second dinner in the same day at the same place. It’s always a good sign when someone is game to visit the same place more than once on the same week, much less the same day.
salt grilled tilapia, petai prawn, clear soup tomyam
The menu at Jatujak is quite extensive, they have a good selection of seafood, tomyam, otak otak, and other typical Thai “tai chao” style food, as well as grilled items, and even pork dishes.
For dinner, we ordered four dishes to go with rice, and a few desserts to boot. All our main dishes came within 5-10 minutes despite the crowd, something that few restaurants manage to deliver, I was very impressed to say the least.
The salt grilled tilapia (RM 39) was our main dish, the fish properly prepared just the way you’d find by the streets of Bangkok, and we didn’t need to wait for 20+ minutes like we did at Tigerlily, and I thought it was actually a more than decent dish.
grilled cockles, this was really awesome
Clear tomyam soup (RM 22) was proper hot and did not disappoint, while the petai prawn (RM 30) could perhaps use more petai than prawns, but my favorite dish turned out to be the grilled cockles (RM 10), which reminds me of the good times back in the days at Nong & Jimmy, the cockles would go really really well with a cold beer or three.
iced coconut original, with red ruby, and with mango
We completed our dinner with a dessert each – coconut shake with ice cream (RM 8), coconut ruby (RM 12), and ice coconut mango (RM 12). Each came in their proper coconut shell as container and were proper rich, sweet, and have their shaved iced so fine they were silky smooth.
I guess it’s no wonder this is one of Lance’s favorite place to dine, and I believe it is also a place I’d revisit pretty soon.
Address: Jatujak @ Siam Bangkok Street Food B-G-31 Blk B, Jalan PJU 1a/3j, Taipan Damansara 1 Ara Damansara, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS: 3.119825, 101.590183 Tel: 03-7859 6359
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
Last week week while driving around exploring places for dinner around Klang Parade surrounding, we chanced upon a newly opened Thai restaurant by the name of Mae Porn Tom Yum Goong located just by the road next to the mall, and since Thai cuisine has always been one of our favorites, we went in to take a look.
Mae Porn Tom Yum Goong, next to Klang Parade
On first look I already have a positive feeling about the place. The almost-kopitiam style restaurant is air conditioned, clean, and with the parts of the walls filled with racks of Thai groceries. There were also staffs happily chatting in Thai language. Unlike Japanese restaurants with local staffs greeting you in the only line of Japanese language they know, over here they use Thai as their native language to communicate, not to give you a false sense of authenticity.
chicken feet salad, nam tuk, prawn salad
Anyway, the “menu” they have is a bunch of photos on the wall (look below), with many dishes cater to individuals, but there are also those for sharing. Each priced at between RM 6-8, great value for money even for Klang.
We’ve visited this place twice now and came away really satisfied.
For salads we’ve tried yam leb meu nang (chicken feet salad, RM 7), nam tuk (pork salad, RM 7), and yam goong (prawn salad, RM 8). Strong seasoning and definitely appetite opening, they go well with rice as well. The only “issue” we may have is that the chicken feet were cut in bigger chunks than what we’re used to so that took a bit of getting used to.
tom yam, kuey chap, moo ping (grilled pork satey)
The tom yam goong (RM 8) may not have big prawns or loaded with big chunks of seafood but certainly tasted every bit a bowl of authentic tomyam should.
We also tried their kuey chap (RM 7) and opted with no noodle since we had it with rice, the pork was tender and of course they also serve coagulated pork blood, a definite plus.
Lastly, moo ping (RM 3 per stick) certainly makes for good beer food, as any properly seasoned and grilled fatty pork should.
We’re certainly going to be back for more, the second trip already seen the place being filled pretty good with customers, I think it’s here to stay. Give it a try if you love some good authentic Thai food that also serves pork. Other alternatives are Go Thai SS2, Lai Thai seksyen 17 (changed name since), and Surasit TTDI.
Address: Mae Porn Tom Yum Goong Pelangi Point, Lintang Pekan Baru, Off Jalan Meru, Klang, 41150 Selangor GPS: 3.064992, 101.453392
Over the CNY break and in conjunction to having my whole family staying over, we decided to bring mom to Khunthai for dinner, since Thai food is one of mom’s favorite cuisines aside from traditional Chinese fair. It turned out to be a pretty good decision.
Khunthai at Klang with my family
Khunthai is located at a rather remote area in Klang via KESAS highway, but fortunately it is rather simple to navigate to since it is just one straight long ghetto farming road to the rather lavishly built restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Forget about going there if a low-riding sports car is your only mode of transportation, but otherwise you’ll get there just fine after cursing at how bumpy the road is for about 5 minutes.
The menu is pretty extensive and covers all bases when it comes to Southern style Thai food. The restaurant is also pork free.
For the 5 of us, we ordered miang kham, chicken feet salad, and raw prawn salad to open up our appetite.
For those who’re not familiar, miang kham is a type of traditional Thai appetizer where you wrap a bunch of ingredients such as crushed peanut, shallot, ginger, lime, and so on with a Piper sarmentosum leaf. If you haven’t had this before, it is definitely something to try.
Raw prawn salad and chicken feet salad were both pretty spot on as well.
raw prawn salad, lala, kangkung belacan
To go with rice, we also had Thai style lala, kang kung belacan, and seafood tomyam. While the kangkung belacan was perhaps a little too oily for my liking, lala & tomyam did not disappoint. One thing to note though – have your lips prepared for how hot the food can get.
safe to say we enjoyed ourself really well at Khunthai
To be fair, there are other comparable Thai restaurants in the city with better access and similar pricing, but there’s always a bit of fun to travel to a god forsaken place from time to time for a dining experience that is just slightly different from the ordinary.