"A Chiang Rai culinary curiosity shop"
First up: my current absolute favourite thing to eat in the universe, their hot and sour spicy noodles. Since their menu is either in Thai or English (none of that romanised Thai for you!), I'm going to go ahead and assume the soup base is a tomyum of sorts. Devilishly spicy and addictive, this is the soup to slurp down when you have sinuses needing clearing. Bits of meat and liver slices float in the soup amongst the nest of skinny flat rice noodles, giving you perfect meaty bites. I dream of this often at night and wake up in a fervour, grabbing my car keys and heading to Lai Thai straight away.
Lai Thai doesn't serve stand alone tomyum, as it would require a lot more ingredients (seafood, special chillies, etc) and preparation. "Other places serve tomyum too, but theirs is very Malaysianised. Ours is thick and almost oily in comparison," Pi Un, the owner points out. "Plus, we also try to keep our meats to just pork and chicken." Seafood being a touch more expensive and hard to keep, and beef-free because of their Buddhist beliefs.
My old usual order is their stir fried mince pork with basil leaf on red rice, topped with a fried egg. Also known as pad ga prao, the heady scent of basil hits your nose even before the plate hits the table. If the cook hasn't accidentally over-fried your egg - which alas happens often during busy shifts - you'll get a glorious runny yolk mixing in with your rice. A match made in heaven for the lovely morsels of spicy minced pork just dying to get in your belly.
Mondays being their green curry day, we of course had to try some. Touted by many of my friends as the best green curry in Klang Valley, the delicious creaminess of this curry is pretty much second to none. Full of chicken pieces, eggplant and those little pea eggplants, each bite makes you feel like you're sitting in a Thai grandma's home. Other notable dishes include their som tum, freshly prepared to order with generous shavings of green papaya and peanuts. Their larb moo is also an adventurous delight - minced pork tossed with pork liver, intestines and rind, then mixed with a hot yet refreshingly sour dressing of fish sauce, lime and chilli flakes. I'm from the tripe-smell-like-wet-dog school of Tony Bourdain, but I wolfed this down quite happily, intestines and all. The lime really does seem to take the dampness away from the intestines.
"Tucked away river eatery that's worth the trip!"
The first thing that struck me was just how picture perfect Azrorasa looked. It’s a small, kampung style place, located on a little ‘island’ in the middle of a river. Shady trees frame the front, and small sampans
and boats. It was very picturesque, calm, with the steady flow of the river and the sounds of kampung fauna all add to a sense of tranquility. We immediately settled comfortably into our chairs. It was almost like having lunch at home on a lazy weekend afternoon.
Then the food came. The food here is gloriously, authentically Malay kampung style, bursting with richness and flavor. The cherry on this cake? Everything is prepared fresh, from scratch, the moment you order it. So order your rice, and order.
Selera Azrorasa’s specialty is their Gulai Kari Ikan Sembilang. It comes to your table in ceramic bowls to help retain the heat. Inside, the kuah is a gorgeous red, orange and brown in colour, and so creamy and thick, laced with chunks of so, so fresh ikan sembilang (eel catfish) and okra. It is spicy, fragrant, creamy and absolutely wonderful. The fish is tender and perfectly cooked, catching in the flavours of the curry with aplomb. Then there is their Ikan Sembilang Goreng; an unassuming preparation, just the usual turmeric and salt, but expertly seasoned, and fried to that cosmic oneness of crunchy, crispy skin with just the right amount of fat beneath, and moist, sweet flesh. I could have a plate of this just a snack, and I’d die a happy man.
Next, came their Ketam Masak Cili. The crabs come bathed in a spicy, sweet and sour chilli-based sauce, and in a generous amount. You will need two hands for this messy, sticky, absolutely delicious dish, and you’ll find yourself clawing and digging for every morsel of sweet, fresh crab meat. Rounding off this classic kampung meal was a plate of very fresh, green ulam and hot sambal belachan. As refreshments, have a bottle or two of locally produced in Taiping MYM sodas, in strawberry, orange or sarsaparilla. They taste great, and you’d be supporting a local endevour as well.
Stingray is a meaty fish great for grilling or simmered in gravies like a masak asam. It’s firm flesh lends itself well to soaking up flavour and spices and it’s flakiness when cooked is second to none. This dish is one of our favourite ways to enjoy it, the heady-rich gravy of a masak lemak going so well with the chunky fish. You won’t want to eat it any other way… More »
We dub this rending ‘malas’ because it’s usually thrown together with what’s in the cupboard. The taste is rich, like a more concentrated masak lemak. Because it does not use kerisik (grated coconut dry fried and pounded into a paste), this is also a good entry level rendang. More »
In the latest development in 'value-to-eat' Ramadan buffets, our very own celebrity chef Khalil Rashwan of 'Habibi In the Kitchen
' has collaborated with Rasta Taman Tun Dr Ismail to open a pizza shop in one of its prime location spots. The Egyptian born chef had previous opened up a successful pizza shop
in Pennsylvania, USA called Pizza Art before coming to Malaysia several years ago.
Inspired by his previous success, he is now opening up Pizza Art Malaysia serving fresh 'we make it as you order it' pizzas which he personally hand tosses in front of you as a demonstration of expertise and showmanship. A particularly fussy man in the kitchen, what makes his pizza stand out is the care and love that he puts into each toss. For Ramadan, the pizzas are only made and baked just before the Maghrib call for prayers so that it comes out hot, fresh and delicious for his buffet patrons.
Khalil's serves the thin crusted version, and is more American in the sense that the pizza dough… Continue reading »
It's the last 10 days of Ramadhan. Your fasting self now has a two-fold problem: 1) You have no energy to trawl through too-crowded bazaars anymore, yet 2) you still don't have the time to cook. So what do you do? You buy some lauk, of course! Below are our top picks for places to buy lauk, and the best part is that all of them continue to sell their… More »
This is a simple spicy rendang that uses minimal ingredients for big flavour. Cook down chunks of beef in this creamy and spicy gravy and what you get is a dish fit for the Raya table to be eaten with ketupat and lemang. More »