"Great Thai in the middle of nowhere..."
Folks, set aside your presumptions, I certainly did when I headed off for Jalan 5 off Jln Chan Sow Lin. With China Press on my right I hunted for the grimy landmark along a small river. Voila, the rubbish heap next to Sg Kerayong is there and I subsequently turned left into the little lane which ran parallel with the river. The sheer darkness and many stray dogs can be intimidating but do soldier on. Be prepared to give way to vehicles coming from the opposite direction, fortunately there were some grassy space to veer the car to the side. A 4WD would be best to handle the potholes. A short bumpy ride later, we entered a little green oasis, complete with fishing ponds and fresh fish for sale.
Sawadee 88 is so off the beaten track that I doubt it’s a place people would bump into unless by sheer determination and word of mouth. Despite its obscure location, the many parked cars attest to its reputation and popularity. We are greeted by friendly Thai staff and a local Chinese lady who took our orders while handling the cash register. With cheesy Thai pop music playing in the background, chefs shouting orders in foreign accents and tables set in individual attap huts complete with fairy lights, it felt like I’ve landed slap bang into little Bangkok town. There’s also a grilling charcoal station at the back manned by a dedicated grill boy.
Our orders arrived pretty quickly. First up was the siham bakar and the addictive dipping sauces. The first had chilies, belacan and some dried shrimp (reminds me of nam prik), the second was a sweeter chili sauce with peanuts. It was perfect for dipping the cockles into. Portions were generous though I did stumble across one or two with a muddy aftertaste. The somtam or Thai papaya salad arrived and was faultless. The shredded papaya was crunchy and had the right balance of sweet, sour and spicy. You also have the option of adding shrimps, crab or squid to it but we preferred ours plain.
Next up was my favourite of the lot - white tomyam which came in the traditional steamboat apparatus. I detected cili padi and dried chilli in the soup with hunk loads of seafood (prawns, fish, squid and crab), tomatoes and mushrooms. The soup was clear with hues of red, deliciously spicy sour to the last drop and went perfectly with plain rice.
Hi, my name is Li Ann and I’m a die-hard chilliholic… If there was a Chilliholic Annonymous support group in KL, you can bet that I would be the first member! Only thing is, I’ve no intention of giving up on this lethal addiction, unless my stomach lining begs to differ. Seriously, the humble chilly is such an integral part of Malaysian cuisine,… More »
"Crabby curry goodness in a banana leaf"
Chemor is a sleepy town 25 minutes from Ipoh. If you don't know what you are looking for, you might just pass by Samy Restaurant with its rustic, worn down blue blinds with the words SAMY RESTAURANT hardly visible in yellow. But looks can be deceiving. Behind the blinds hides one of the best banana leaf places in Perak. Mr. Sundram is a third generation Samy running the joint. His grandfather Samy, opened the business at the same spot about 50 years ago, passed it down to his dad and now to him. Their specialty? Southern Indian cuisine passed down three generations and further refined as it passes from father to son.
This place has one of the widest varieties of curries a Malaysian curryhouse can offer. Fresh fish, mutton, duck, mud crabs, chicken, ayam kampung and even turkey. Yes, all curried. If you are a curry fan, this is one place that you want to be. You order in front where all the curries are displayed and the dishes come to your table served in small stainless steel bowls.
Rendang and Sup Soto and Nasi Padang and more! The Swiss Garden Hotel is having an Indonesian Food Festival their Flavors Restaurant from now till the 5 of February. Continue reading »
Fancy some sambal belacan but just can't be bothered to make any? Well there are plenty of eateries out there with great sambal belacan. However, shop sambal belacan is a little different than homemade of course. And sometimes it doesn't have too be mind-blowingly hot. Top 3 requirements for great eatery sambal belacan is 1) Must complement the dishes… More »
"It uses ONLY chili padi"
Minang Saiyo restaurant in Taman Melawati is somewhat a hidden treasure, as not many people seem to know of it discounting nearby residents, and it's easy to see why. Make no mistake: this place is old. It's been around for about thirty years. So I was surprised when I dropped in recently to see that they've refurbished it. Before, the place was dark, with linoleum floors and yellowed paint on the walls. But now the floor tiles are new, the interior has been repainted, and they have new tables and chairs. it looks birhgter and more welcoming. It has always bee clean, and it still is.
At first glance, it just looks like any other nasi campur restaurant. But do yourself a favour and step inside; order a plate of rice and take your pick from the various dishes available.
I arrived early for lunch, and the place was still relatively empty. The array of dishes were mouth-watering: creamy, spicy Minang curries, deep fried catfish in sambal, bergedil, grilled fish, deep fried tempe, stir-fried greems and vegetables, and what I think is some of the best beef rendang around. Some of the recommended dishes to go for here are the gulai lemak perut with nangka, the sambal terung and of course, the beef rendang. But I decided to be simple this time: rice, beef rendang (RM3/ piece), ikan gelama masin, chicken (RM2/ piece), and a generous dollop of their unique sambal belachan hijau.
What makes a great sambal belacan? Some say its the way you pound, not with hard punchy strokes but rather a grinding motion. Hence a lesung batu is an essential item. Some say its the quality of the belacan and you can't achieve great sambal belacan without the key ingredients being good. And you have to dry-fry the belacan first or… More »