Friday, May 20, 2011
Thai Pork Noodles & Som Dtam @ Lai Thai Market, Section 17, Petaling Jaya
I'm always a big believer of sniffing out good food with some help of those who know best. Hence, when Chef Korn from my favourite Thai restaurant, Erawan (we just did a revisit for the umpteenth time and discovered more yummy dishes!) mentioned this place I knew I had to give it a try. I was told that there's links between this Section 17 place with the other Thai products market in Pandan Indah.
This tiny space is primarily a store with goods laid out haphazardly but on the side they also serve up simple Thai fare like pork noodles (RM5) and a Northern Thai specialty, Som Dtam (RM5). Expect no frills, limited table space mingling with Thai voices gaily enjoying their country's specialties when they drop by to pick up supplies. There's a communal feel to the place especially when it gets crowded with a group of Thai women who seem to know each other.
The pork noodles is quite similar to the Chinese version except the broth has a cleaner taste. You add the Thai flavours by helping yourself to the condiments on the table like a dash of chilli flakes, a sprinkle of sugar and a shake of the fish sauce bottle. I slurp down my bowl happily since it includes my favourite silky smooth kuey teow noodles. Since I didn't speak Thai and the owners weren't too fluent in English, I was a little lost on what else was on offer until I saw the ladies ordering Som Dtam or green papaya salad.
Thud, thud...went the long wooden pestle in the clay pot as the lady prepped the salad. Everything is done once an order is made hence the salad was very fresh. She'll add a dash of lime juice, chuck in the lime halves to pound it further to let the aromatic oils to mingle with the shredded papaya. Chillies are added to your liking and you can even taste the seasoning halfway through the making of the salad to make sure it was to your palate. A dash of fish sauce, long beans, tomatoes, peanuts, a sprinkle of dried prawns and the salad is ready. The whole pounding exercise helps the papaya soften and absorb the dressing. The Thai trinity of sweet-sour-spicy flavours are all in this salad, making you crave for a little more of the crunchy shreds.
Aside from the salad and the noodles, you can also pick up these parcels wrapped in banana leaves that contain a banana stuffed glutinous rice dumplings. I admit I felt it was quite bland even though the rice was a nice soft texture. I reckon I'll stick to my noodles and the Som Dtam for my return visit.
The place works on an interesting schedule, as they're only open for Thursday to Sunday, from 10am to 5pm. The rest of the time, the owners travel back to Thailand to source for their fresh supplies. Usually their regulars know the schedule well and patronise them on Thursday to get the freshest vegetables.
Lai Thai Market
AG-3, Block A
Tel: 03-7954 4688
(Non Halal. Same row as MM Cafe. More pictures in my flickr set.)
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.