Beneath the shining lights of KLCC, Kampung Bharu is thriving with lots of good makan spots. Most of them are tom yum shops, and Sukhumvit is one of our favourites.
67, Jalan Hamzah, Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2698 7787
Good menu selection, expert cooking
Just below the shining beacons of light that is KLCC, Kampung Bharu almost seems like a place trapped in time. The enclave is still populated with wooden houses decades old. Kampung Bharu was always known as a hotspot of makan places, and that too thankfully, hasn't changed. It is probably still THE place to go to for tom yum restaurants. And one of the best is Sukhumvit.
Named after the famous road in Thailand, Sukhumvit is the brainchild of Abang Yusry. According to him, when he was younger he took a roadtrip up north to Thailand... and stayed for more than 20 years! Then the time came for him to come back and with that, he decided to bring back all the wonderful flavours of Siam with him.
It's a big restaurant, actually
His business grew: from a humble roadside restaurant, Sukhumvit is now a nicely decorated and built-up restaurant. Abang Yusry has even opened branches elsewhere such as in PJ and Gombak.
A stones throw from KLCC
The menu has authentic Thai favourites, all prepared in house by his team of cooks. You will notice even the servers speak a Thai dialect with one another: this adds to the charm of the restaurant.
You won't forget where you're eating
Let's move on to the food. Miang kham is a recommended starter here. Fresh, crisp kaduk leaves are served with a myriad of fillings: fried dry shrimp, ginger, garlic, shallots, fiery chilli padi, crushed toasted peanuts and a sweet and spicy sauce. You basically pick up a kaduk leaf, roll it up and put the fillings inside. It's an intensely flavoured appetizer, spiked with heat and a great way to whet your appetites.
Miang kham: a great appetite kickstarter
Seafood is of course centre-stage at this restaurant. You can order fish in virtually style, but we recommend the Ikan Tiga Istana (Three Palace Fish) and Ikan Goreng Serai. The Ikan Tiga Istana is slathered in a tangy, spicy sauce that perfectly complements the tender, flaky fish, and is served with a tart mango kerabu on the side.
The fish of three palaces. Because it's so yummy we think.
The Ikan Goreng Serai is topped with crispy fried lemongrass: don't worry it's actually very tasty! The lemongrass perfumes the fish, making it a delight on your tongue.
Look at the crazy fried lemongrass on top!
Seafood Homok is a unique Thai dish. At Sukhumvit the servers bring it to you wrapped in foil, then they set it on fire. Once the fire dies down, open up the packet: inside is a fish paste, almost like an otak-otak, studded with fresh seafood in the form of prawns, clams and squid. The taste of the homok is lemony, spicy and sweet with a pleasingly tender texture.
It's on fire!
And what is a Thai restaurant without a Tom Yum? The flagship tom yum here is the Tom Yum Sukhumvit (naturally). The soup is intense: spicy, sour and sweet and would very well light a fire in your bellies. It comes filled with seafood: prawns, squid, fish, clams and even a crab, which looks like it's trying to escape from the dish it's being served in.
Mr. Krabs' foray into Thai food didn't end well. For him. For us? YES.
Try too, the Telur Raja. It's basically an omellette, but comes with a filling of meat and covered in a pile of crisply fried basil leaves. It's a good light dish if you're not too hungry.
Telur Raja. Not bad.
The menu at Sukhumvit actually has loads more items from the usual stir fries, to seafood fritters and a few sweets. Parking is a bit crazy here though and the prices are on the steep side for a tom yum shop, so best of luck. Otherwise, enjoy the food and a view of KLCC. At night, while having dinner, it's a great way to wind down.