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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / tomyam

A good restaurant to a resort is like a good sound system to a cinema. While not always the centrepiece of the overall experience, good in-house restaurants often enhance the overall experience during a stay.

For The Datai Langkawi, there are four different on-location restaurants within the confine of the luxury five class establishment – The Beach Club, Gulai House, The Dining Room, and The Thai Pavilion.

All four restaurants offer quality food, making travelling out of the resort for food unnecessary. This is especially important for The Datai since the location of the resort is quite far away from Kuah, Langkawi’s main town.

The Beach Club, by the second pool
The Beach Club, by the second pool and beach

Our first meal at The Datai was at The Beach Club, appropriately located by the beach and the second swimming pool. On foot it’s about a 10-15 minutes’ scenic walk from the main entrance of the hotel, free buggy service’s available as well.

The Beach Club is a strictly open air restaurant, with most tables and comfortable huge chairs under the roof, with some outside if you prefer a little bit of sun.

pizza, surf & turf, bruschetta with mozzarella, wat tan hor, ice cream
pizza, surf & turf, bruschetta with mozzarella, wat tan hor, ice cream

The menu comprises the best from East and West. The four of us shared the following dishes:

  • bruschetta topped with buffalo mozzarella, tomato and olives. 46
  • langkawi prawn, lemongrass, mushroom, corinader, chili, lime pizza. 65
  • surf & turf, black angus strip loin with tiger prawn, vegetable medley, barbeque sauce. 87
  • wat tan hor with king prawns and seafood (chef’s special)
  • stir fry chicken with thai basil. 56
  • home made ice cream. 14

The western affairs were well executed, with the thin crust pizza particularly delicious. Wat tan hor too were surprisingly tasty, benefiting from the fresh seafood in the list of ingredients.

The Dining Room serves lunch and dinner.

The Gulai House, premier restaurant of The Datai Langkawi
The Gulai House, premier restaurant of The Datai Langkawi

The premier restaurant at The Datai Langkawi is Gulai House.

Many luxury five star resorts in Malaysia have premier restaurants serving foreign cuisines such as French, Japanese, Cantonese, Italian, and so forth. So I was more than happy to see that Datai took the initiative to make Malaysia proud by serving something closer to home. A great way to introduce our local cuisine to many visitors from all around the world.

mango salad, sup ayam, soft shell crab, aloo gobi, grilled cuttle fish
mango salad, sup ayam, soft shell crab, aloo gobi, grilled cuttle fish

The Gulai House is located not far from the Beach Club and best accessed via a buggy. The restaurant has both indoor as well as alfresco dining area, the latter provides great ambiance only unless it’s rainy heavily or if it’s a particularly hot night. Gulai House is only open for dinner.

Our dinner was determined by the chef, a degustation affair if you like. Our menu was written on a piece of huge dried leaf picked from the forest, a unique approach to personalization and one that is tastefully done.

tiger prawns, grilled garupa, lobster, skewered boneless chicken, prata, kuih
tiger prawns, grilled garupa, lobster, skewered boneless chicken, prata, kuih

We had mango salad, sup ayam (chicken soup), deep fried soft shell crab, aloo gobi (cauliflower & potato with spices), grilled cuttle fish, grilled tiger prawns, grilled fish, skewered boneless chicken, prata bread, nasi briyani (rice), and even lobster that’s prepared with both grilling and frying techniques.

It was an absolute feast and we stuffed ourselves silly. Food was authentic with ingredients of quality, very hard to find any fault.

Prices is seasonal and depends on weight of ingredients. As with every facet of Datai, it is with a bit of a premium, but you do get what you pay for, including excellent service.

champagne breakfast at The Dining Room
champagne breakfast at The Dining Room

Breakfast is usually served at The Dining Room, located by the main swimming pool, just below the resort reception.

Much like most international breakfasts, the menu changes a little bit everyday, but with the core items such as juices, the egg station, fruit & salad bar and such always presence.

I enjoyed the cold cuts, smoked salmon, and noodle soup. Of course, there’s also the free flowing champagne to jump start your day, everyday! The dining room also serves lunch and dinner.

classic Thai cuisine at The Thai Pavilion
classic Thai cuisine at The Pavilion

During our second and final night at The Datai, we had dinner at The Pavilion, which was also the location where we learned to cook tomyam and drunken prawn dishes.

For dinner, we had crispy soft shell crab with Thai chili oil, green curry chicken, seasonal vegetable with oyster sauce, deep fried snapper with chili and soya sauce, and of course, tomyam prawns. It was a spicy, strong tasting, and very satisfying, like a good Thai dinner is supposed to be.

We also concluded the meal with mango on sticky rice.

The Pavilion is open for dinner only.

I miss this resort already, when we can return?

Address:
The Datai Langkawi
Jalan Datai, Teluk Datai, 
07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Tel:+60 4-959 2500
Webwww.dataihotels.com
FBThe Datai Langkawi
Reservationreservationsdatailangkawi@dataihotels.com

One of the activities we participated in while at The Datai Langkawi (see blog post) was a fun session on cooking conducted by the two chefs who are specialized in Thai cuisine at the beautiful hotel.

The session took place at the Thai Pavilion, a semi-open air restaurant that’s built on stilts and situated by the main swimming pool.

learning some tricks from the chef
learning some tricks from the chef

Here are the two recipes you might fine useful to add to your cooking repertoire.

Our first dish was goong phad keemao, or fried drunken prawn. While the name might suggest that this dish involves alcohol, it actually wasn’t the case. Here goes:

Ingredients:

  • prawn (250 gram)
  • fresh cili padi (8 gram)
  • onion (20 gram)
  • tomatoes (20 gram)
  • galangal (20 gram)
  • lemongrass (10 gram)
  • cooking oil (30 ml)
  • garlic (10 gram)
  • kaffir lime leaf (2 gram)
  • thai basil leaf (5 gram)
  • oyster sauce (30ml)
  • fish sauce (15ml)
  • pepper powder to taste

the drunken prawn doesn't use any alcohol, halal version
the drunken prawn doesn’t use any alcohol, halal version

Cooking instructions:

  • heat oil in wok, then add garlic, chili, onion, and stir together
  • add prawn, galangal, lemongrass, pepper, stir till prawn is half cooked
  • add oyster sauce, kaffir lime leaf
  • add chicken stock (or plain water if you don’t have chicken stock) and Thai sweet basil
  • adjust saltiness with fish sauce
  • serve while hot

you can cook the tomyam in either clear or "red" version
you can cook the tomyam in either clear or “red” version

Next is arguably the most famous Thai dish of all time – tomyam gai. We made the chicken version here, but you can substitute with prawn, squid, or other seafood as well.

Ingredients:

  • chicken breast sliced (60 gram)
  • galangal (10 gram)
  • lemongrass (10 gram)
  • kafir lime leaf (5 gram)
  • abalone mushroom (20 gram)
  • tomyam paste (10 gram)
  • fish sauce (10 ml)
  • lime juice (10 ml)
  • chicken stock (150 gram)
  • coriander leaf (5 gram)

Haze, KY, and WeiZhi showcasing our dishes
Haze, KY, and WeiZhi showcasing our dishes at The Datai Langkawi

Cooking Instruction:

  • boil chicken stock with galangal, lemongrass and tomyam paste in small pot (leave out tomyam paste if you want clear version)
  • let the ingredients reduce a little, then add chicken, abalone mushroom, and kaffir lime leaf
  • let cook for another 3-4 minutes
  • season with fish sauce and lime juice
  • add coriander leaf before serving

After the cooking session, we sat down and had our dishes with some steamed rice. There was also some Thai dessert and white wine to complete the course. It was pretty fun and now I do think I should slot in cooking classes whenever I travel to other places. These recipes are pretty easy to follow, I’m pretty sure I’ll make them at home.

Datai was such an awesome experience, I miss it already.

Several weeks ago I managed to convince the girls to try a new place, and we ventured out to the land of gangsters that is Kepong. We past by the glamorous Desa Park City and turned into the older part of Kepong where steamboat restaurants are aplenty and finally arrived at where we were going to have dinner – Jan Jan Thai Restaurant.

Jan Jan Thai restaurant at Kepong
Jan Jan Thai restaurant at Kepong

There are in fact, two Thai restaurants within 50 yards from each other here. Directly opposite Jan Jan is the older and almost equally as busy Thai restaurant by the name Janwa. According to the locals, the head chef from Janwa left to open Jan Jan as a competitor (similar to Rakuzen and Jyu Raku at Subang Jaya)

There’s an on-going healthy debate as to if Jan Jan or Janwa offers better Thai dishes, but for the purpose of this trip we’re not going to worry too much about that.

excellent tomyam and steamed barramundi
excellent tomyam and steamed barramundi

Once we found an empty table and made our order, which took a while on a weekend, food did not take very long to be served.

Seafood tomyam soup (RM 16-29) comes in either clear or red, and we opted for the latter, more chili laden variety. It was hot, spicy, and filled prawns, squid, fish, tomato, and more. Perfect dish for us since it was raining so heavily.

The Thai style steamed barramundi (market price) turned out to be pretty good dish too. The fish was fresh and the soup positively sour and flavorful. This dish is not quite De Chiengmai‘s standard, but it holds its own.

the lala was great, green curry not so much. Yuki, Haze, KY, Kerol
the lala was great, green curry not so much. Yuki, Haze, KY, Kerol

Thai golden lala (RM 17) was my favorite dish of the night. The shellfish were big and juicy, and I particularly love the unique Thai style sauce that the dish came with. It was a combination of sweet, spicy, with a hint of sourness. Very different any Chinese or Malay style preparation.

The disappointing dish turned out to be the Thai green curry (RM 12). I love my green curry thick and flavorful, but this one was just watery and very sweet. We took a few spoonful but otherwise left the dish almost untouched.

There are definitely more dishes at Jan Jan Thai that I want to try on other visits – petai prawns, deep fried brinjal, paku with belacan, mango chicken, bbq crab and Thai curry crab all sounds very enticing. I’ll just have to remember not to order their green curry again.

map to Jan Jan Thai restaurant, Kepong

Address:
Jan Jan Thai Restaurant
No.33, Jalan 5/62A,
Bandar Menajalra, 52000
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.193859, 101.631517
Tel: 03-6277 7598

Thai cuisine is one of the most well established foreign food in Malaysia, this is probably due to Thailand being a neighbour to Peninsular Malaysia and that King Rama V was really great at promoting his country’s cuisine to the world.

The Thai cuisine we have here in Malaysia is usually influenced from Southern Thailand, with places such as Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani, and so forth has a sizable Muslim population, what we get here too is often the pork free version of Thai food.

Surisit Thai Kopitiam at TTDI
Surisit Thai Kopitiam at TTDI

There is however, a current welcoming trend of some newer Thai restaurants that serve the whole range of traditional Thai cuisines, including some of the pork dishes that aren’t familiar in Chinese cuisine. Surisit Thai Kopitiam at TTDI is one of these places.

kailan ikan masin, various pork dishes, tomyam
kailan ikan masin, various pork dishes, tomyam

Surisit Thai Kopitiam is located at TTDI’s Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, behind the row of shops that has a Maybank, Tom Dick and Harry’s/Hoofed, and Sid’s Pub.

While parking situation outside those pubs are often hard to come by, I’m happy it isn’t the case outside Surisit. We never had to park further than 20-30 meters away.

Decoration of the restaurant is basic, but they do have air conditioning for your comfort. Tables are covered in thick transparent plastic, with clean basic cutlery and some old school bowls/plates. It is pretty true to the “kopitiam” name.

Horng enjoying some fried fish cake, green curry (pork/chicken)
Horng enjoying some fried fish cake, green curry (pork/chicken)

We’ve been to Surisit quite a few times for dinner. The only “problem” with this place is the lack of flexibility in their portion of food. There’s only one size for everything. Which basically means that for a group of 4-6 person this place is awesome, but going there as a couple might limit your choices of food somewhat.

The tomyam (RM 29.90) comes with either prawn, seafood or chicken and you get to pick between clear soup or the more familiar type with chili paste. Both are equally yummy and absolutely ass cracking spicy. Never miss the tomyam here.

you deserve desserts! tub tim krub (red ruby) and mango sticky rice
you deserve desserts! tub tim krub (red ruby) and mango sticky rice

Deep fried chicken wings with lemongrass (RM 14.90) is a tasty Thai interpretation of the familiar fried chicken wing dish, familiar yet different. Green curry (RM 19.90) comes with your choice of pork/chicken/beef/prawns/duck and they cook it with chunks of melons as well as basil, green chili, and coconut milk. Thick and flavorful, we love it.

Crispy pork knuckle (RM 24.90), pork with shrimp paste (RM 16.90), minced pork with basil (RM 14.90) are among the few pork dishes I’ve tried, and so far they were spot on and did not disappoint. Other dishes in the rather extensive menu includes chicken, seafood, soup, and even vegetarian choices. There are also individual rice and noodle dishes as well.

Kerol, KY, Haze, Johnny, Yuki
Kerol, KY, Haze, Johnny, Yuki

Of course, every Thai meal should end with some sweet desserts. I almost always order the tap tim krub (red ruby, RM 6.90) here while Yuki can’t stop herself from getting the mango sticky rice (RM 9.90). Other dessert choices are honey sea coconut with palm fruit and caramelized tapioca with coconut milk (RM 6.90).

We usually end up spending around RM 30 per person, and while not exactly kopitiam prices, you do get quality tasty food here, which is why it is one of our favorite Thai restaurants right now.

Other Thai restaurants that serve pork includes New Yew SangI’m Spicy and My Elephant in PJ, and Ghee Seng Thai Food in Penang.

map to Surisit Thai Kopitiam at Taman Tun

Address:
Surisit Thai Kopitiam
17 Lorong Rahim Kajai 13,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15456, 101.62258
Tel03-7710 0173
Hours: 8 am to 10:30 pm daily

Surisit Thai Kopitiam

Chinese New Year is the time for family and friends to sit together for a good meal, and after so many traditional Chinese dishes, it’s good to take a break and get something that’s a little different. Which was why I was quite delighted to be invited to Kelantan Delights for a food tasting session about a week ago to sample some of what they have to offer, with a promise of a twist.

Kelantan Delights at Subang Jaya
Kelantan Delights at Subang Jaya

Kelantan Delights is a classy restaurant that serves Kelantan and Southern Thai cuisines, for the past 10 years or so they called KLCC home, but have since moved to SS 16 Subang Jaya as well as a branch at Sooka Sentral. The restaurant was also judged as the best Halal Malay Restaurant 2005/06 by Halal Journal.

So we did expect some quality here.

tid bits to start, our menu of the night
tid bits to start, our menu of the night

While waiting for guests to arrive, we were served with some tid bits consisting keropok lekor, cucur udang, pohpiah goreng and so forth. They were presented like tapas, and we certainly welcomed them.

somtam yee sang, something different
somtam yee sang, something different

A pretty long lion dance routine later, we gathered around and had a round of “lou sang” session that I’ve never experienced before – with somtam yee sang! It was refreshing and different, but to be honest, I did miss the raw fish a bit. I think having a few slices of raw salmon might make this even better. Fans of somtam would certainly love this.

pohpiah basah and coconut tomyam with prawn
pohpiah basah and coconut tomyam with prawn

Our first dish was pohpiah basah. Filled with sengkuang, vege, carrots and more. It tasted pretty good especially with the chili sauce and crushed peanuts provided. My only complain is that the skin was a tad too thick.

Next come Kelantan Delights’ specialty – coconut tomyam with prawn. It was one of the spiciest tomyam soup I’ve ever had, but I finished it all. The sweet coconut meat somehow worked wonderfully with the sourness and spiciness of tomyam, I wonder why it wasn’t served everywhere.

ayam masak merah, garupa with dried chili, butter prawn, sayur kolok
ayam masak merah, garupa with dried chili, butter prawn, sayur kolok

Ayam masak merah was properly cooked and flavored heavily but in a good way, best served with steamed rice. Garupa with dried chili was crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside, it was surprisingly easy to consume, no messy bones to deal with as the preparation method have dealt with that problem.

I thought the butter prawn was perhaps a bit too soft, but it was flavored “correctly”, and sayur kolok was a welcoming change in taste with the coconut milk based soup that mellows back our taste buds down a bit.

kailan ikan masin, kacang buncis goreng, kerabu ikan bilis
kailan ikan masin, kacang buncis goreng, kerabu ikan bilis

A trio of spicy vegetables followed. Kailan ikan masin, kacang buncis goreng, and kerabu ikan bilis. These dishes were good, and while slightly over powering eating them on their own, some steamed rice or fried rice would be wonderful to accompany them.

daging bakar, sambal udang petai, nasi goreng ikan masin
daging bakar, sambal udang petai, nasi goreng ikan masin

By this time, I was already pretty much over stuffed. So the daging bakar, while flavorful, was perhaps a bit filling for me. But as a petai fan, I really enjoyed the sambal udang petai dish (and again wished I had some steamed rice!)

By the time nasi goreng ikan masin was served, I was only able to sample a small spoonful. I liked it.

bubur pulut hitam, lompat tikam, Fresh, KY, Haze
bubur pulut hitam, lompat tikam, Fresh, KY, Haze

Dessert came in the form of bubur pulut hitam (black glutinous rice) and lompat tikam (jump & stab, what a name!). I managed to sample a bit of these sweet dishes and my tastebuds were left wanting for more with my stomach begging me to stop.

If I were to come to Kelantan Delights myself, I’d probably limit my orders to 5-6 dishes for a group of 6, and have some steamed rice to go with some of the spicy dishes, and definitely the tomyam. As for somtam yee sang, well, you might want to try something at least once, right?

maps to Kelantan Delights, Subang Jaya

Address:
Kelantan Delights
Ground Floor East Wing Wisma Consplant 1.
No 2 Jalan SS16/4 47500 Subang Jaya
GPS: 3.081102, 101.583806
Tel03-5611 7845

Kelantan Delights