Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thai Kopitiam @ Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park, Kuala Lumpur

Thai pandan kaya with toast

I've been on a mission...almost an impossible one but I'm happy to say I've reached a conclusion (and yes it's a happy ending even though it'll take a few more blog posts). It has been a subconcious effort on my part to look for good Thai food. While I knew where the Thais ate and shopped, I wanted to experience restaurant food that reminded me of the wondrous culinary creations from our neighbouring country.

seafood tom yum

Quite a few years back, we travelled all the way to Bangkok from Kuala Lumpur by road. It was time consuming but we all totally enjoyed the whole trip since it meant a lot of exploration. Starting from the border town of Sadao, we made our way to Haadyai, Chumpon, Hua Hin and finally Bangkok. Traversing through the southern part of the country made me realise that their curries bore a close resemblance to what we served on our Malaysian tables. Once you hit the central and northern regions, it was a different bowl of tom yum completely - more refined, less red and somewhat more fragrant. Ever since then, I've been searching around for those same flavours in my Thai meals. Strangely enough, the closest I ever got to that long tasted food memory was in Singapore when I dined at a restaurant serving Royal Thai cuisine.

Yellow curry fried seafood, pad thai and omelette

In the pursuit of that Thai food mirage, I ended up at this small kopitiam recommended by Time Out KL. It seemed a little weird to discover a Thai eatery here amid the sea of Chinese eateries. The small place is run by a mother-and-daughter team from central Thai. From what I understand, their local partner recommended they open up here. What works for their advantage is they're next to the ever popular Jojo Little Kitchen.

red rubies dessert

If you're dining here for lunch, they do simple one plate meals such as pad thai or fried rice. Dinner features a more extensive menu of dishes you can order. Since it is a kopitiam, they also serve the Thai pandan kaya (RM2.90 with bread) - a watery pale green concoction dribbled with coconut milk. It's a little sweet and smooth but goes well with the toasted bread. For my lunch, I sample the pad thai (RM8.90), one of my favourite noodles. It wasn't the best ever I have tasted but it was a decent sized portion with fresh prawns that I enjoyed.

We returned back for dinner another night and discovered the tummy tickling seafood tom yum (RM9.90). It was fiery hot and perfect for a rainy night with just the right amount of tanginess from an abundance of kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass used. They were also pretty generous with the prawns for the soup. The choices on the dinner menu can be quite limited so don't expect the usual kerabus. We had the recommended seafood fried in a yellow curry and fluffy eggs (RM12.90). While it was mild and pleasant, I didn't really detect any wow factor here. Same for the omelette, another recommended dish. Luckily dessert of the ruby red waterchestnuts (Tub Tim Krob for RM4.50) saved the day. I loved the silvers of nangka that went so well with the refreshing coconut milk. They also serve mango glutinous rice and the sinful durian with glutinous rice, an item I have not eaten for some time since Hatyai Street Food closed down.

My conclusion at the end of the day was even though the food was reasonably priced but it wasn't what I was looking for. It's probably good for a quick meal should you be around the area and their Thai pandan kaya with toast, if you're a big fan of it.

Thai Kopitiam
28GF Jalan Kuchai Maju 9
Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park
Off Jalan Kuchai Lama
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-7982 4643

(Pork Free. Open from 11am to 11pm daily. Place is right across from Jojo Little Kitchen in Kuchai. For more pictures, see 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.


choi yen said...

I can see the generous portion of nangka in ur Red Ruby~~

Michelle Chin said...

You should also try this thai restaurant in taman segar. I don't know the exact address but it is at a row of shops facing two blocks of apartments, which are located next to a building that house neway and thai thong.


The restaurant has been there for many, many years. :)

thule a.k.a leo said...

somehow I'm not a fan of Red Ruby! But a bowl of good tom yum definitely will open my appetite to more Thai food... it's a prerequisite :)

J said...

Well, it may not have knocked your socks off... but at least the prices are decent? :)

(Hard to find really good, really authentic, and affordable, Thai food in KL methinks)

Ciki said...

ah interesting.. photos are pretty, but I wonder if it will be what I am looking for either..? ;)

UnkaLeong said...

Ah...I believe the distinctive flavour you are looking for is from the Isaan (northeastern)region of Thailand :)

If I managed to bump into any good thai eateries whose taste mirrors what I think you are looking for ;)

Dr Tan said...

I've walkeed past this place a couple of times when going to JoJo.. should have gone in to try.. now that I no longer go down to kuchai lama, I doubt I ever well.. darn, cos I've been searching for good Tom Yum.. lol

Kenny Mah said...

After our recent Krabi trip, Devil & I are indeed looking for some authentic Thai fare - awaiting your next posts when you find THE ONE! :D

女飞侠 said...

i went to try it after reading ur blog just now(ur pictures tell a great story) ^^.

i ordered the ruby red waterchestnuts (as i love it so much)...but when it turned up, there's no jackfruit serving on top of the ice!>< it has been replaced with sweet corn! i wonder if they served the wrong thing, so i called the waiter..."so sorry, very hard to get jack fruit..." ok then, ^^ it's another kind of taste.

we tried the seafood tom yam as well...yeah, quite a lot of prawns. ^^ anyway, we found the food is quite salty.

after taking this thai food, i feel like going back to the thai restaurant inside central market (the one located at 1st floor)...^^

Sean said...

the seafood yellow curry looks tasty. my favorite thai curry is massaman curry ... wish more outlets in kl would serve that! :D

Ellen Whyte said...

Thai food always looks regurgitated to me, but it tastes good!

minchow said...

There just isn't one Thai place that does it for me here in Klang Valley...but I sure am having a lot of fun trying to find it! Passed by this joint one lunchtime and the menu looked really sparse, not quite sold.

eiling lim said...

ooh this is so heavenly. I love the first pic!

Julian Si said...

I am ALSO looking for that elusive authentic Thai makan place in Malaysia ... I still haven't found what I am looking for! (To the tune of Bono)

I miss Siracha, Pattaya and BKK ... I guess my years of living there has made my pallet over-demanding!

qwazymonkey said...

Tell us when you've found The ONE!. We wanna taste too. :)

I'm craving for Kaya now. I think i'll go to Papparich for some.

NekoHime said...

I need that tom yum to kick my flu to timbuktu!

Hidayah said...

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Dapatkan sekarang juga!

Yi May, Alexis said...

If you're looking for good Bangkok thai food, head over to SS2 Restaurant Seeri (The same row as Kayu Nasi Kandar, in the middle, next to some Nyonya shop)

Their fish is the best !

J2Kfm said...

The toast with kaya reminded me of Mon Nom Sod -

Great flavoured milk with various funky kaya on toasts.

Very sweet, but very very comforting.

Yeah, damn hard to find that authentic Thai flavours here, unless paying an arm and a leg eating at the higher end ones that hire chefs from Thailand.

But there's one particular stall in Ipoh that I like a lot. And they're reopening soon after a few years of hiatus!

Anonymous said...

Thai Kopitiam is one of the best place I can recommend especially taking into account the prices.

whoisnell said...

i wonder what if there's good coffee to go with the toast bread n kaya..

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