Monday, 26 August 2013

Surisit Thai Kopitiam – Letting their food do all the talking

17, Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, 60000, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Had to be at Sid’s Pub in TTDI this past Sunday for a short meeting, and since it ended close to dinnertime, we decided to try out one of the shops in that area.

And boy, did we find a good one.


Surisit calls itself a Thai ‘kopitiam’ and I suppose the shop was decorated accordingly. Everything looked clean, simple and utilitarian. A few old-timey pictures on the wall and several rows of Thai soft drink bottles on shelves seemed to be their only attempts at creating an ‘authentic’ Thai vibe.

Also, this cutlery box which doubles as a mirror to check for bits of food stuck in your teeth.

I thought it was going to be a nice, relaxed Sunday dinner… until the food started arriving. Tasting each new dish got me more and more excited, as I rapidly came to realise why they never bothered to do too much with the décor: they didn’t need to. In contrast with the bland look of the restaurant, the flavours they cook up are huge, loud and flamboyant.

The Catfish and Mango Salad is a prime example. Sour green mango, raw onion, dried shrimp, peanut, cili padi, cashew, slightly crunchy powdered dried catfish, all tossed in a salty-sour clear sauce that I am guessing has fish sauce and lime juice in it among other things. All these big flavours are nicely balanced so that each mouthful shakes the tastebuds awake with a big (and very, very delicious) slap to the face.

I am drooling as I type the description for this – good thing I didn’t get any on the keyboard.

The Pork Porridge was a big surprise to me. Normally I hate porridge, because all that watery starch just dampens pretty much any flavour you throw into it, making everything seem terribly bland. But this had a delicious savoury flavour and nice bits of meat in every spoonful. There was the sweetness of seafood broth, small pieces of garlic and some egg as well. The texture was creamy with some added texture coming from tiny bits of still-firm rice.

Don’t let the plain colour fool you: it’s got generous helpings of both meat and flavour.

We were curious about the Chicken Wing Stuffed with Chicken and Shrimp. But as we didn’t want to overeat, ordered only one piece. It was a massively bloated piece of chicken wing, overstuffed with finely minced chicken and shrimp. Quite nice, except the thin outer layer of chicken holding everything together was a little dry and tough. No biggie – the stuffing was what mattered anyway. The sauce tasted like regular bottled Thai chilli sauce with a lot of sesame seeds in it.

Not exactly brilliant or life-changing, but huge, good, and worth a try.

Finally, the Fried Belacan Rice with Sweetened Pork. This one also has lots of stuff going on – pork slices cooked in sweetish sauce, fried egg, raw onion, long bean (which they have cleverly cut into tiny pieces to avoid having spoiling the dish’s overall flavour with a too-strong ‘green’ taste), dried shrimp, cili padi, julienned green mango and a belacan rice flavourful enough to stand up to all those other strong ingredients. Mix everything thoroughly and you get a Thai festival in your mouth with every bite. It came with a sauce that tasted like fermented fish paste – another strong flavour you can add to the party, but one that I felt the dish didn’t really need.

Possibly the best belacan fried rice I’ve ever tasted. Certainly the one with the biggest flavour.

Unlike the food, the coffee I ordered tasted a little watered-down. No big deal, when you consider how great the food is.

 As we got there a little before dinnertime, the place was quite empty. But midway into our meal, the dinner crowd started pouring in and by the time we left it was packed. No surprise after the meal we had.

We are definitely coming back with more friends so we can try their dishes and rice.

Managed to get a picture of the place before it started to really fill up.

Snack-sized review
Unassuming-looking restaurant that serves up great Thai food with big, explosive flavours. Prices are reasonable, too.

Hours: 8:00am to 10:30pm daily. Closed on Tuesdays.

Price: Very reasonable. About RM20-odd per person.

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