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.
Damansara City Mall,
Lot LG 18 Lower Ground,
6, Jalan Damanlela,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.146140, 101.661675
Tel: 03-2011 2912
Brinjal is one of my favorite fruit/vegetable (whatever you want to call it), and today I want to share with you a quick and simple way of preparing this all time favorite – fried brinjal Chinese style, with ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen pantry.
brinjal, dark soya sauce, sugar, mini bell pepper, garlic, pepper
- one purple brinjal (chopped in bite size)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon dark soya sauce
- 2 tablespoon
salt cooking oil
- 1/2 cup water
- a pinch of salt
- a pinch of pepper
- small bell pepper (optional)
- 1/2 bulb of garlic, peeled and cut
this fry brinjal dish is done within 5 minutes
- heat up frying pan and oil
- put in garlic & miniature bell pepper, fry till fragrant
- add brinjal, fry for a minute
- add water, sugar, dark soya sauce
- cover frying pan and let it steam for a couple minutes
- add salt & pepper to taste
- serve while hot
vege, fish and soup makes for a complete meal
My main purpose penning this entry is so that I can refer to this when I want to re-create this dish in the future. Eat well and start cooking!
Now that we moved to Shah Alam, it’s time to explore the neighbouring places for food a bit, and there’s no better way to do this than starting out with some of the names that we’ve already familiar with – which is what brought us to Serai Thai Restaurant at Seksyen 3.
Serai Thai at Seksyen 3, Shah Alam
Serai has been quite successful since it first started out several years ago, we went to the Subang Empire branch and came away pretty impressed, so it was no surprise that we had some high hopes for their more Thai oriented version when we discovered it by typing “thai” on google map in search for dinner option nearby.
The restaurant is hidden in a quiet residential area, parking is plentiful, and interior is simple yet comfortable.
brinjal with belacan, tomyam, squid with salted egg
The menu is typical Southern Thai with influence of some Malaysian element. We tried three dishes for the two of us over dinner.
The tomyam seafood (RM 14 small)had quite a decent kick and while it wasn’t the most flavourful tomyam I’ve tried, it was more than decent and had the necessary ingredient to carry its own.
Brinjal with belacan (RM 10 small) was my favorite dish of the night, beautifully executed with the perfect balance of sweetness from brinjal complemented by the pungent belacan taste, bits of chopped dried shrimp completes this dish.
Squid with salted egg (RM 12 small) was another dish worth trying as well, they definitely didn’t skimp on the salted egg part at all.
dinner for two at Serai Thai, Shah Alam
We came away more than satisfied with our experience at Serai Thai, good food at fair price with a comfortable setting. If you’re hunting for decent halal food at Shah Alam, this is definitely a good option.
5, Jalan Cendana 3/13a,
40000 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.075940, 101.509329
A couple weeks ago we found ourselves at Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang during dinner time, the girls decided that we should dine at Serai. A decision I very much supported since Malay restaurants that serves made to order food aren’t exactly the most common type of eateries in the country, and it’s been a while since I went to one. (Alicafe TigaRasa at USJ)
Serai at Empire Shopping Gallery
According to Horng, the restaurant was pretty quiet the first time they tried a month or two ago, but steadily picked up returning customers over that period of time. By now, you often need to wait for a bit to get a seat during busy weekend dinner hours.
Interior decoration is pretty classy, menu easy to read, and the servers seemed to be quite well trained. It is quite similar in setting to some of the more successful modern restaurants in the country, ie: Madam Kwan, Ben’s, etc. Not a bad thing I must say.
deep fried brinjal with spices, our favorite of the day
The menu weren’t super extensive, but covers most of the popular local dishes you’d expect.
The first dish that was served to us was the deep fried brinjal with spices (RM 15). Thinly sliced brinjal deep fried with sugar, spices, and chili, the combination was superb and instantly became one of the very few culinary surprises that I experienced this year.
I highly recommend this dish.
steamed siakap with lime sauce, tomyam seafood, chicken with dried chili
Tomyam seafood (RM 22) here was not particularly spicy, but did come with plenty of seafood ingredients and carries a pretty good aroma with distinctive good tomyam sourness. This is very good for those who can’t have it too spicy and still want to enjoy tomyam closest to it’s pure form.
We were delighted by the steamed sea bass with lime sauce (RM 54.99), the fish was fresh and tasty, but the real winner here is the soup base – it was very flavorful and very sour, so much so that it actually overlapped the tomyam a little bit, not that we minded. The only problem with this dish is for the budget conscious, for over RM 50 a pop, it’s definitely not cheap.
Chicken with dried chili (RM 15) turned out to be just a kung pao chicken dish basically. It was decent, but lack the kick and spiciness that I usually expect from it.
deep fried salted egg with squid, berry pavlova
The deep fried salted egg with squid (RM 20), another classic Chinese tai chao dish that isn’t always available at Malay restaurants, is perhaps the only dish that disappointed me. It was a bit too wet, sweet, and too chewy for my liking. Your experience might vary.
For dessert lovers, the pavlova (14.8) is something to check out. It was sweet, crunchy, and simply delicious. The experience was like the best of macaroon, strawberry, and cake toppings all in one. I’m not a dessert lover, but this one I don’t mind at all, it was delicious!
While there are some creative and interesting drinks at Serai, they certainly don’t come cheap. Serai iced tea was RM 12 each, and milky bandung will cost you RM 8.5. Even though the iced tea comes with fresh lemongrass and a scoop of lime ice cream, I felt that it is still a bit too pricey for that sort of setting, if you don’t want to burst your budget, there’s always ice water.
Ultimately, while Serai at Empire is not the most budget friendly of restaurants, the quality of food and ambiance make it a place worth visiting, so if you are looking for some modern Malay cuisine, this is certainly a place to check out
LG 37, Empire Shopping Gallery
47500 Subang Jaya
GPS: 3.082109, 101.582716
Tel: 03-5611 3200