Earlier this year, mom, brother, and I decided to head to Thailand for Chinese New Year. Our first stop was Hat Yai, the Southern town that has been a pretty popular spot for Penangites since way back when Penang Bridge wasn’t even a thing.
Tanatip Restaurant, Hat Yai, Thailand
Our overall plan was to take KTM Komuter from Sungai Petani, switch over to Thai railway at Padang Besar station, spend a night at Hat Yai, and then fly to Bangkok the next day.
The primary reason was that flight from Hat Yai to Bangkok was 3 times cheaper than Penang to Bangkok at the same time period. Plus you get an extra meal or three in Hat Yai, win-win the way I see it!
fried roasted pork with basil
We arrived at late morning, the stalls at the market has already mostly stopped selling at the time, while walking around we chanced upon this restaurant with some beautiful roast pork displayed outside, which was a sign that we as a family couldn’t ignore. That’s how we ended up at Tanatip Restaurant (sign board only in Thai..)
shrimp tomyam, fried century egg with ginger
We ordered three dishes to go with steamed rice for lunch, and naturally the first dish was to fried roasted pork with basil (80 baht), and it was as you would imagine, roast pork, fried with Thai basil, fish sauce, and the all important chili padi. It was spicy, fragrant, and so delicious I wonder why nobody serves this in Malaysia, simply love this dish.
Naturally, our first Thai meal must include tomyam, the shrimp tomyam (120 baht), it was of course freshly made from scratch, spicy, sour, and tastes as strong as you’d expect. The prawns was quite fresh too.
sumptuous lunch for the three of us at Tanatip Restaurant
Our third dish was something I’ve never tried before – fried century egg with ginger (70 baht). Yeap, if you love century egg, they are actually even better deep fried (what isn’t?). There’s generous amount of cashew nuts with this dish to probably make it a whole meal by itself if you’re on keto diet.
The random chanced upon restaurant Tanatip turned out to be more than satisfying, while the restaurant itself can perhaps be cleaner and more organized, we have nothing to complain when it comes the food itself.
Part of my responsibilities at work involves traveling to Kota Kinabalu at Sabah. That’s mighty fine by me since it is probably my top 3 cities in Malaysia, the other two being Penang and KL.
Kota Kinabalu has it all, crystal clear ocean minutes away from the city, Mount Kinabalu, rich local culture, and just maybe too many Chinese and Korean tourists these days.
Ah Chee Tom Yam, at Kota Kinabalu
Anyway, since I happen to be at KK more often these days, I make it a point to explore the local food offerings. On my last trip, as I was looking for lunch options upon checking in the hotel, I found Ah Chee Tom Yam by chance.
Ah Chee Tom Yam is located just a few doors’ down from the famous Wiya Chicken Rice, the restaurant offers a rather simple menu with a choice of tomyam prawn meehun, Sarawak laksa with prawn, Prawn mee with rice wine, and Thai style chicken feet.
Ah Chee Tom Yam – meehun with fresh prawns
For obvious reasons, I tried the Tomyam meehun, which comes with 5 pieces of fresh tasting saltwater prawns properly peeled and cooked just right. Most importantly, the tomyam soup was rich and fragrant by without being overly spicy. The star of the bowl though was the prawns, they were sweet and definitely worth the RM 11 or so asking price for a bowl.
If you find yourself in KK town, this is one worthy place for a quick meal, oh, it’s completely pork free too.
Address: Ah Chee Tom Yam Lorong Segama, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.983448, 116.075227
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
Thai food is probably the most matured international cuisine in Malaysia, we now get most everything Thailand has to offer, thanks to our proximity to the nation of origin, as well as our generally rather similar taste buds.
If you’re not far from Setia Alam area and love a good meal of non-halal Thai food, then perhaps Thai Syok Seafood Restaurant should be on your short list.
Thai Syok Seafood Restaurant at Setia Alam
Located in the middle of the busy commercial area within Setia Alam, Thai Syok takes up a couple units of shop lots. The place gets quite busy over on weekday lunch hours and especially so during weekend dinner sessions. If you get there later than 7 or so, expect to wait for a table, or perhaps even get seated outside ala mamak style. I guess you can also call it alfresco dining to be more classy.
dinner is best served in colors – lemon steamd fish, prawn in coconut milk
I’ve so far tried quite a few dishes over two different dinner sessions at Thai Syok, with rather favorable experience overall.
The tomyam (RM 15.90 – RM 39.20) is served in the old school hotpot, properly seasoned, and carries quite a kick. The small portion should suffice for up to 4 pax or so.
Their lemon steam fish (siakap RM 44.50 – RM 59.30) is a great substitution if you don’t want to go with tomyam, The fish is fresh, and you get the soup base that’s properly sour, spicy, and very appetizing. Just thinking of this soup makes my saliva going.
If you are into spicy lemak food, prawn in coconut milk (RM 40) should fit the bill. This dish is rich, spicy, and flavorful.
raw prawn salad, moo ping (pork skewer), classic tomyam
Think raw seafood is only associated with sushi/sashimi? Then you gotta give the raw prawn salad a go (RM 22.20). Over here they serve it with a slice of bitter gourd, which I think accentuate the sweetness of the prawn quite well. My first time having this particular dish was at Kepong’s Thai Village, and subsequently at Khun Thai, Klang. I’ve been ordering this dish whenever available these days.
The moo ping (grilled pork satey, RM 12 for 3) is Yuki’s favorite, and nobody rejects the order either as we all enjoyed it as well, but I would also like to try out some of their other yakitori dishes next time (such as prawn, basil pork, orchicken wings).
red ruby has got to be my favorite Thai dessert
Perhaps due to the amount of crowd or their extensive menu, my experience was that we always had to wait for quite a bit before dessert is served. That being said, their red ruby (RM 6.90) is on point.
I’m quite sure this is a restaurant that’ll repeating business from us for time to come.
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.
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.