Tuesday, 9 May 2017

(The Star) Just the way it‘s done in Thailand

Nothing can be as authentic as having traditional Thai food in Aroi Mak Mak, Petaling Jaya, as cooks from Chiang Mai, Thailand use their families’ secret recipes to dish up meals here.

Located along the busy stretch of Jalan 17/45 in Section 17, the restaurant’s industrial-minimalist deco with pipes and red bricks is unusual for a Thai restaurant. Dishes are made from scratch, right from the various pastes such as tom yam, green curry, red curry and even Thai dipping sauces.

“We do not prepare the soups beforehand, so guests will have to wait while the cook mixes the herbs and spices, and prepares the dish as orders come in,” said restaurant owner Chriz Choh.

The tom yam, he said was not made using store-bought chilli paste, but comprised spices and condiments put together by the cooks.

Blue heart-shaped mango sticky rice with thinly sliced mangoes.

The clear tom yam with seafood was spicy but fragrant with basil leaf with tomatoes lending tanginess to the soup.

Seeing how it was served in a hotpot above a warmer, it was not necessary to rush through the tom yam and we were able to enjoy it slowly throughout lunch.

Besides the usual seafood and chicken tom yam options, the restaurant’s Tom Yam Pork Ribs is a unique find.

“There is actually a lot of pork used in Thai food and we thought this will be something interesting to introduce in our restaurant,” he said, adding that the pork ribs version was available in both the clear or thick tom yam.

While the tom yam’s flavour was to our liking, diners can always request for dishes to be made spicier.

Take the Papaya Salad (som tam) for example, which we thought could have used an extra hit of chilli for that satisfying oomph.

“Our cook is very specific with the ingredients he uses and most of them are brought in from Thailand so dishes have that authentic flavour,” said co-owner Sam Loh.

However, the chillies are sourced locally and the spiciness levels vary, day to day.

“Sometimes it depends on the chillies we get as not all taste the same and since our sauces and soups are made to order, the spiciness level of our food will differ as well,” he said.

If the dishes are too spicy for your liking, the House Drink, made out of ice blended mint, lemongrass and pandan is recommended.

The ingredients themselves say it all, and it was indeed a refreshing thirst quencher to help tame the spiciness on the taste buds.

Another interesting dish was the Pomelo Salad infused with coconut oil and tossed with pomegranate, almond flakes and finely chopped fried kai lan.

This signature dish was truly something different as it was very appetising and flavourful.

Another fascinating dish was the Complicated Noodle, a do-it-yourself vegetable wrap.

Served on a tray was a bowl of minced meat with home-made green chilli sauce, coriander, Thai kuey teow and lettuce. We could not stop eating it the minute we started.

The trick to savouring this treat is to fill a lettuce leaf with the ingredients, wrap it up and eat it all in one go.

For vegetarians, there is the tofu option to replace the minced meat.

The restaurant also has homemade Thai fish cakes and prawn cakes that look like doughnuts.

Its fish cakes were clearly homemade as you can taste the fish and fragrant herbs in each bite.

The prawn cakes were coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried to golden perfection.

For desserts, Thailand’s famous mango sticky rice and red ruby are some of the options.

Shaped in a blue heart, the warm blue sticky rice, coloured with blue pea flower, is lovely to look at and even nicer to eat with sweet mango.

The red ruby and cendol were also not too sweet and filled with lots of jackfruit and honeydew.

The restaurant also serves its lunch set priced at RM18 nett with a main, dessert and drink.

Loh recommended the fragrant milk tea as the tea leaves are brought in from Thailand.

AROI MAK MAK, No 1, Jalan 17/45, Seksyen 17, Petaling Jaya (Tel: 03-7954 2281) Business hours: 11am to 3pm, 5.30pm to 10pm daily. Closed on Mondays. Non-halal.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.