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Aroy-D-Thai Kitchen, Taman Putra Impiana, Puchong

Aroy” is Thai for ‘tasty’, making it a preferred moniker for many Thai restaurants. One such place is Aroy-D-Thai Kitchen in Taman Putra Impiana, Puchong, a no-frills spot serving authentic Thai favourites the likes of tom yam, pad thai, and pad krapow gai.

So, does the restaurant live up to its name? Let’s find out!

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It’s hard to miss the store, what with the colourful posters of Thai tourist destinations plastered against the glass. Inside, an air conditioned interior offers diners a cool respite from the heat. The restaurant is simple with minimal decor, but comfortable enough for a quick lunch.

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The restaurant offers a selection of ‘single’ rice and noodle dishes, as well as ala carte items meant for sharing and to go with rice. There’s tom yum, curries, stir-fried vegetables, seafood, pork, and chicken dishes.

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The Moomins ordered her favourite – pad krapao gai (basil chicken with rice), minus the chilli as her stomach problems make it difficult to eat spicy food. They were very accomodating, and the rice came in a hefty portion as well, topped with fried egg.

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The Hub’s had tom yum fried rice, which again came in a generous portion. The ingredients were fresh and the rice had been stir fried over high heat, imparting each grain with a fragrant aroma and smokiness. Although the dish packed some heat, I couldn’t really tell it was tom yum per se – tasted more like spicy fried rice. Still, a tasty and filling dish to keep you going for the day!

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As for me, I went with the pad thai, fresh out of the wok with wisps of steam when it came to the table. On top of a bed of rice noodles lay two large pieces of shrimp, tofu cubes, a fluffy omelette, a side of crushed peanuts, and a lemon wedge.

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What can I say? It’s pretty decent pad thai. I like the sweet and sticky sauce, which goes well with the noodles’ chewy texture, and the overall flavours are well balanced.

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We also got fried mushrooms to share. The dish surprised me: mushrooms are notorious for soaking up oil, but these were light and not greasy at all. The batter was crispy and not too thick, and the mushrooms were well seasoned too.

Considering that you get to dine in air conditioned comfort, and the dishes are tasty, I’d say Aroy-D-Thai offers great value for money – a good spot for a lunch break for office workers, or people who live in the nearby housing areas. Single dishes start from RM10.90.

AROY-D-THAI KITCHEN

38, 1, Jalan Putra Impiana, Taman Putra Impiana, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 10.30AM – 8PM

Mama Mee Yah, IOI Mall Puchong

Mama is a household name in Thailand. In fact, the brand is so popular, the term ‘Mama’ is used as a generic term to refer to all instant noodle brands (kinda like what we do with Maggi here: Vits, Cintan, Ibumie = Maggi).

While Mama noodles aren’t hard to find in Malaysia, they are pretty rare in most supermarkets, so you’re more likely to find them in Thai grocers, specialty shops, or restaurants. One of the newer places to get a ‘fancy’ version of these noodles is Mama Mee Yah@IOI Mall Puchong. As the name suggests, the resto specializes in Mama noodles, spruced up with ingredients like seafood and chicken, but you can also order Thai rice dishes like stir-fried chicken with basil.

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Nice interior, which hasn’t changed much from when this space used to be Pho Street.

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The Hubs and I weren’t particularly hungry, so we decided to share one main meal and order a side dish. We were disappointed when it came to the table, because there wasn’t a lot of noodles, and just four average-sized chicken meatballs plus an egg. Not worth the price, which is close to RM20 per bowl. I could have cooked five packets of Mama mee plus my own fancy trimmings with that budget.

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Okay, so portions aren’t great. What about the taste?

It didn’t do well in that regard either. The tomyum was quite bland and watery. It wasn’t bad to the point of being inedible, but I really cannot justify paying that much for average food that I could have made at home. We also regretted our order of grilled chicken skewers, as they were drier than the Sahara desert.

Unfortunately, the signatures that we ordered at Mama Mee Yah did not impress. Considering the hefty price tag, I don’t think we will be giving this place a return visit.

Now if you want cheap, authentic Thai food, I recommend this. Or if you want a fancier place with lots of variety but won’t burn a hole in your pocket and actually gives you good value for money, this.

MAMA MEE YAH (IOI MALL PUCHONG)

Lot FS-20, First Floor, Batu 9, Jalan Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47170 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 10AM -10PM (daily)

PS: Opinions here are entirely my own and are based on my personal taste. They are not to disparage businesses, but to provide an honest review of my experiences.

PS2: Please consider supporting my blog via Patreon, so I can make more. Or buy me a cup of coffee on Paypal @erisgoesto

Review: Thai Hou Sek, 1 Utama – Thai Food With A Twist

You need to understand Cantonese to get the cheeky wit behind Thai Hou Sek‘s name. Tai is a homonym for ‘very/too much’, and hou sek means delicious. It can therefore be translated as ‘too delicious’, or simply, ‘Thai food is delicious’.

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Ignoring the semantics, Thai Hou Sek prides itself in Thai food with a Chinese twist, served in a distinctive setting reminiscent of Bangkok’s colourful Yaowarat Road. Speakeasy vibes abound, accentuated by cosy lighting, a neon-lit elephant and a wall papered with newspaper clippings and vintage posters of Thai ads.  Across the room is a mural of King Bhumibol Adjulyadej – in shades. It’s a perfect representation of Thailand, a modernizing country that still holds dear to its roots and traditions.  Meanwhile, a bar at the back dishes out both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, from creative signatures such as Thai Hou Yum (jasmine tea, assamboi, lime) and Sparkling Ribena Lychee, to cocktails like Lemongrass Mojito and Cucumber Sake Madness.

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The menu is extensive. Choose from mains to share if you’re in a group, or single rice and noodle dishes. The restaurant also offers lunch sets to cater to the weekday office crowd. While you can opt for chicken and seafood, it is clear that pork takes center stage. Expect classic flavours with a modern touch when you tuck into dishes such as Pad Thai with Seafood and Bacon, Pad Kra Pao Pasta, Papaya Salad with Luncheon Meat, and Siu Yuk Tom Yum.

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Despite the full house, service was fast and efficient during our visit. C had the classic Pad Kra Pao; stir fried minced pork with basil and chilli padi, served with steaming white rice, fried egg, and a side of crackers. Portion was generous.

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Also ordered one of their bestsellers: Siu Yuk Tom Yum. The dish is good enough for 2-3 people, and comes loaded with chunks of roast pork and juicy mushrooms. The soup is everything a good tom yum should be: sour and appetising, great with rice, and spicy with a kick.

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I got one of their lunch set options: Tom Yum Mama Noodles with Siew Yuk (RM16.90). The pork is served on a platter with a side of crackers, while the noodles are served in a bowl, topped with egg (look at that beautiful yolk!). Mama Noodles are the Thai equivalent of what Maggi is to Malaysians, and I like the springy, al dente texture. While the soup is not as thick as the Siew Yuk Tom Yum dish, it still packs a punch. Pork skin is crispy and crunchy, and the meat has layers of lean and fat that literally melts in your mouth. If you eat it on its own it might feel a bit greasy, but you can set this off by dunking it into the sour tom yum soup.

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You can get a drink with your set lunch for a few extra ringgit. Can’t have a Thai meal without iced Thai milk tea: sweet, cold and refreshing!

For dessert lovers, Thai Hou Sek offers a selection of classics like Mango Sticky Rice, Tab Tim Krop (water chestnut rubies, jackfruit, mango slices, served with vanilla ice cream and coconut milk) as well as Pumpkin Custard and Coconut Ice Cream Surprise. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my first time at Thai Hou Sek – service is fast, warm and friendly, food’s great, and the ambience is cosy. It can get pretty crowded over lunch time though, so either come earlier or expect a wait. Prices are above average.

THAI HOU SEK 

S132, 2nd Floor, Old Wing, 1 Utama, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Tel: 03-7731-7933

Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM

 

Stinky Tofu, Durian & Insects: Would You Try These ‘Exotic’ Foods?

Hey, guys!

Been meaning to blog more, but like the stereotypical millennial, I’ve been making poor life choices lately (like staying up until 3am every day. To play Witcher 3.)

But I digress. 

This post was inspired by a recent hotpot dinner, where I ordered century eggs. Whenever I have them, I’m reminded of a good friend of mine and how horrified he was when I sent him a picture of my “rotten” dinner (century eggs with porridge). This coming from a Finn, who eats blood cakes for lunch and enjoys salmiakki as a treat lol.

Jokes aside, I can see how food in some cultures can be viewed as gross to others. Before sushi was popularised in the West, many considered the idea of eating raw fish downright unhygienic / disgusting. But as with everything else, cultures and attitudes can change – and I think people are much more adventurous these days when it comes to food. So without further ado: here’s a fun list of ‘bizarre’ foods (I love that show, by the way) that I’ve tried. Let me know what you think and if you’d be willing to try them!

CENTURY EGGS

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For those who have never seen a century egg, it’s understandable to think it’s rotten – especially since the yolk is completely black and the albumen takes on a translucent, jelly-like appearance. A traditional delicacy in China, they are typically made from duck, chicken or quail eggs preserved in a mix of ash, clay, salt, quicklime and rice hulls for up to several months. The eggs have a pungent odour of hydrogen sulfide/ammonia, which comes from the preservative mix.In Malaysia where there is a large Chinese diaspora, century eggs are pretty common, and you can get them at the local market or Chinese grocers.

How it tastes: The jellied part tastes just like regular hard boiled egg but saltier, while the yolk has a rich and creamy consistency that is almost like avocado. Traditionally, century eggs are eaten together with slices of ginger (to cut through the pungency), but I like having it chopped up in porridge or served with noodles.

STINKY TOFU 

If there’s one food that epitomises the saying ‘its bark is worse than its bite’, it would be stinky tofu – a popular snack at night markets in China, Taiwan and Chinese-centric areas in Malaysia. As the name suggests, stinky tofu is, well, stinky. The best way I can describe it is if you mixed unwashed socks with the smell of wet dog and sewage, lol. The odour is a result of the tofu’s fermentation: traditionally, the tofu is marinated in a brine made from fermented milk, veggies and meat (recipes vary), and left to soak for several days to months. It is then served in soups, steamed or deep fried.

How it tastes: If you can get over the vulgar odour, stinky tofu is actually quite tasty, with a crispy exterior and light, fluffy insides. Here in Malaysia, it is usually served deep fried with a topping of chilli and various seasonings like soy sauce, which helps to mask the smell a little. It also has a somewhat… addictive quality. You know like how stinky feet is stinky but you’re still sort of drawn to it against your will ? …. or is that just me?

FERMENTED BEANCURD

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Victor-boy / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Yes, yes, we Chinese do love our preserved/ fermented food stuffs – but you have to understand that most of these were created in a time before refrigeration existed, so people had to come up with all sorts of ways to keep food edible for months, sometimes years. Fermented beancurd is commonly used as a condiment in Chinese cuisine, and there are several varieties, most of which have strong, pungent flavours (see a pattern here?). They are also nutritious, since tofu is very high in protein and contains virtually no cholesterol. Think of it as Chinese cheese.

How it tastes : Tofu on its own has no taste, so the beancurd takes on the flavour of whatever it is brined in. The most common type is the white one which has sugar, salt, chilli and rice wine. If you think about the culturing, it’s not unlike kombucha. Personally, I prefer the red fermented beancurd (nam yu) which incorporates red yeast rice. It has a pleasant, thick and rich aroma – great for deep fried pork ribs!

FROG FALLOPIAN TUBES (?) 

Sometimes I think this is why people say the Chinese eat all sorts of sh*t, lol. Officially it is called hasma (in Cantonese, we call it ‘suet kap’) – basically dried fatty tissue from the fallopian tubes of certain types of frogs, typically the Asiatic Grass Frog. It is whitish in appearance, has a slimy texture, and is used as an ingredient in dessert soups. Back in the day, it was a luxurious item that would only be served to emperors and nobles. When I was a kid, my mom would boil these because in traditional Chinese medicine, suet kap is believed to have multiple health benefits, such as being good for the skin and respiratory system. I guess if I was an adult and someone told me I was eating frog fallopian tubes, I’d be hesitant but since I literally grew up eating this it doesn’t seem so gross.

How it tastes : Like birds nest, hasma is tasteless on its own, and is usually flavoured with rock sugar in dessert soups.

DURIAN

Ah, the king of fruits. I’m not a diehard fan as some of my fellow Malaysians are – if you served me durian I’d probably eat it – but I wouldn’t go out of my way to look for it. Malaysians love durian though: we even have ‘durian buffets’ where you can eat to your hearts fill.

Durian has an extremely pungent smell. There have even been cases where buildings were evacuated due to ‘suspected gas leaks’ – turns out someone brought some durians on-site. Personally I don’t find the texture or flavour intolerable. BUT. I have been told that durians that have been shipped overseas taste gross, because of how it has been shipped / the durians are way past their prime. Then again, Andrew Zimmerns had a freshly opened durian in Asia, and he described it as having a ‘taste like completely rotten mushy onions’. So, if you ever get to try it, I’ll let you be the judge.

How it tastes : Heaven … or hell. There is no in between. For me, it has a texture and taste similar to sweet custard, but with a much stronger flavour.

ESCARGOTS

How to eat escargots
DanceWithNyanko / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

Escargots are a good example of the powers of branding. How else can you explain why snails – something people usually see as slimy and icky – are considered a gourmet delicacy, served in fine dining restos and high-end establishments? Escargot is associated with French cuisine, but it is served in many parts of Europe. The snails are usually from the species Helix pomatia. Here in Malaysia, we have our own version, called balitong – small sea snails that are a pain to suck out of their shells and have a texture similar to a chewy clam, cooked in sambal/chilli.

How it tastes : I had escargot once, on my grad trip. It was cooked in garlic butter which made the dish very fragrant, and the snails had a bouncy texture which I enjoyed.

SALMIAKKI 

Halva - Väkevä Salmiakki
Tiia Monto / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

Weird as some of the items on this list may seem, I enjoy most of them – with the exception of salmiakki. Also called salty liquorice, it is a common confectionery in Nordic countries. The candy is flavoured with salmiak salt (ammonium chloride), giving it a strong astringent and salty taste. These days, you can find salmiakki flavoured ice cream, chewing gum and even alcoholic beverages.

How it tastes: My Finnish friend sent me a box of these. I love you bud, but by god. Our friendship was tested that day. It was not only extremely salty to the point of being bitter, for some reason it also reminded me of burnt rubber tyres – like if someone tried to make that into a flavour, it would taste like salmiakki.

Never again.

You know shit is real when Japs, known for their extreme politeness, react this way lol.

INSECTS 

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McKay Savage from London, UK / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Eating insects is considered taboo in the West, but here’s a fun fact: insects are eaten by about 80 percent of the world’s population, a practice known as entomophagy. In recent times, companies are trying to introduce insects into the Western diet as part of the sustainability movement, since they are extremely high in protein and available in abundance – making insect-eating much more environmentally friendly. For some countries, eating insects stems from a history of poverty; people had to make do with whatever they could catch. Deep fried insects, such as crickets and grasshoppers, are common street food snacks in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

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How it tastes : I don’t really like insects – how they look, how they crawl, etc. so it was difficult to get over that mental barrier of eating them. Took the plunge on a trip to Phuket. They didn’t taste bad or anything – it was just like eating crispy whitebait (I had crickets). The silkworms had a chewy exterior and crumbly insides, which I actually liked more than the crickets.

BALUT

Inside a Balut - Embryo and Yolk
Marshall Astor from San Pedro, United States / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

The idea of eating a developing duck/chicken embryo sounds abhorrent. But if you think about it, balut is really just that – an egg. With a baby duck in it. And feathers. lol.

Commonly sold on the streets in the Philippines, balut eggs are boiled and eaten from the shell, with the eggs incubated for a period between 14 to 21 days. You crack it open and suck out the broth, dip it into some vinegar or salt, and eat the yolk and the chick.

How it tastes : I first tried balut in LA’s Filipinotown. I consider myself a pretty adventurous eater, but even I couldn’t stop the involuntary churning in my stomach as I cracked the shell open and saw the half-formed chick inside. When I finally summoned up enough courage to eat it, I was… surprised. It just tasted like egg / chicken (I mean, duh). Still, not something for the faint-hearted.

 

What are some dishes in your culture that other people might see as weird / exotic? Share them with me in the comments below! 🙂 

Review: Chiang Rai Style Restaurant, Bandar Puchong Jaya

Next to Malaysian cuisine, Thai food holds a special place in my heart (or should I say, stomach?), thanks to its unique flavours (sweet, salty, sour, savoury and spicy), and liberal use of spices and herbs, which Malaysians love. The city of Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand is especially famed for its cuisine, which has influences from neighbouring cultures such as Burmese, Laotian and Chinese.

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There’s a Chiang Rai Style Restaurant in Bandar Puchong Jaya that dishes out northern Thai cuisine, so the fam and I went there one weekend to satiate our cravings. The resto is simple and sparsely furnished, but one comes here for the food and not the ambience. Even so, expect to fork out above average prices for their dishes.

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Framed photographs of the Thai royal family adorn one side of the wall, alongside faded photographs of the dishes they serve.

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Minced chicken/pork with basil is a must-have at any Thai restaurant, so we ordered one (chicken). The version here came served on tomato slices with deep fried century eggs, which was a nice addition. The minced chicken meat was tender and juicy, having fully absorbed the juices from the stir frying process.

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Can’t go to a Thai resto and not have tom yum. We opted for a small pot, which came chock full of seafood – clams, shrimp, mushrooms, squid. A rather rare ingredient that they use here is crab; you don’t see that too often in other places. Tastewise, the broth was not too strong but still sour and appetising enough to go with bowls of rice.

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I enjoyed their stuffed chicken wings with chilli dip. The wings are deboned then stuffed with rice noodles and pork, so you get crispy chicken skin on the outside, juicy minced meat on the inside, and a springy, crunchy and slightly gelatinous bite from the rice noodles.

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All in all, a good spot to satisfy your Thai food cravings in Puchong. 🙂

CHIANG RAI STYLE RESTAURANT

No 12A-01, Jalan Kenari 18A,
Bandar Puchong Jaya,
47100 Puchong, Selangor

Phone: +603-8070 9686
Opening hours: 10.30AM – 3.00PM, 5.00PM – 10.30PM

Best Tom Yum and Fried Squid @ Thai Thai, Sunway Pyramid

Been awhile since I went to Sunway Pyramid! The original plan was to have hotpot with C, but we ended up getting Thai food instead at Thai Thai. Despite being rather pricey, they’ve been consistently good on previous visits, and they did not disappoint this time either.

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The interior hasn’t changed much – but they added some colourful murals of plants/flowers and animals on one side of the wall.

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Thirst quenchers: Ice blended coconut shake and iced three-layer Thai milk tea. A bit hard to drink because they don’t give straws anymore, but gotta do our part for the environment!  The coconut shake was refreshing and sweet – good ice to coconut ratio. Milk tea was milky but not too sweet.

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I highly recommend getting the Tom Yum (you can choose from chicken, seafood or shrimp). We ordered the chicken for 2 pax (RM39++). It was hard to get the soup out with the spoon because the pot was kinda narrow – but taste wise, this is one of the better tom yum soups that I’ve had in the Klang Valley. Sour with a spicy kick (but not to the point that you breathe fire; just makes you sweat a little), it’s chock full of flavour from the lemongrass, chilli and other herbs. The chicken meat was also cooked to tender perfection. You can easily polish off bowls of rice with this.

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I also suggest getting the fried squid appetiser. Coated in crisp batter, the springy pieces of squid come with a sweet Thai chilli dip.

We only ordered two dishes to go with our rice because the stuff is rather pricey, but they have loads of other dishes as well, such as the popular Thai basil chicken, fried omelette, steamed fish, mango sticky rice, and more.

Prices average from RM20+ up to RM60++ for dishes such as the whole fish.

Thai-Thai Restaurant
LOT G1-135.Oasis Boulevard, Sunway Pyramid, No.3, Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway,46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: 03-74919428

Business hours: 10am – 10pm (daily).

Review: Mor Mu Dong, Phuket – The Michelin Bib Restaurant In A Mangrove Swamp

When I went to Phuket recently, I wanted to look for off-the-beaten path experiences to write about, rather than the usual attractions. That was how I stumbled upon Mor Mu Dong, a hidden gem in the Chalong district that apparently has a Michelin Bib Gourmand (it’s kinda like a ‘budget’ Michelin star award).

Because it’s far from commercial centres and rather difficult to find, not many foreigners frequent the place. It is, however, very popular with the locals – which is always a sure sign of a winner!

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Our driver took us through small roads past quaint housing estates, until we pulled up to a …mangrove swamp? The place looked trippy: there was a garden filled with shrooms (mushroom shaped buildings, that is) and various nipah huts, some floating over the water’s edge, others on stilts over the sand. You dine cross-legged on the floor in the private huts, while the larger huts have simple plastic tables and chairs.

 

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Despite the scorching weather, it was surprisingly cool inside one of the larger huts. The rustic settings were quaint and charming – from the old-school calendars (the type where you have to tear off pages each day), to the standing fans set up at strategic corners for better ventilation and cooling. Peering up, we noticed that the inside of the roof had been covered with cartoon bed sheets, presumably for an extra layer of protection against the heat.

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View from our table!

It was lunch time and the restaurant was filled with locals, mostly families. There was only one other foreign couple. There are waiters here who speak English though, and the menu has an English translation. Food is Thai style and they have lots of dishes, from chicken, pork and beef to seafood offerings, veggies, tofu and egg.

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If you like spicy food, their signature is the Pla Tu Yat Sai, or boneless mackerel. This tedious dish involves deboning the fish and blending the scraped flesh with chilli paste and curry powder, before stuffing it back into the fish and deep frying it. When we ordered, the waitress cautioned it would be spicy, but thankfully my Malaysian palate held up well (ie some sniffling but no pain in the ears or crying). Really liked how crispy it was on the outside, and packed with the flavour of fish and spices on the inside.

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We also ordered stir-fried squid with garlic (fresh and garlicky!), flambe-style morning glory and Tom Kha Gai (chicken boiled with coconut milk and galangal), which was good but not as good as the one we had at OrientAsia @ Movenpick Karon Beach. The dishes were served with pineapple and guava slices as well as cucumbers and long beans with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

While the settings are rustic and the service is basic, Mor Mu Dong is a must for those looking for an unconventional dining experience – and prices are reasonable too!

HOW TO GET THERE 

Look out for Phuket Zoo as a landmark. Turn left down the last road before Palai Seafood on the beach and  carry on until you see a blue Luk Lay restaurant sign. Keep going straight and turn into the first lane heading right.

MOR MU DONG 

9/4 Moo 3, Soi Pa Lai, Chao Fa Road, Mueang, Phuket

Business hours: 10AM – 9.30PM (Daily)

Tel: +66 (0)76 282 302

Travelogue: One Night In Singapore

Where would you go if you only had a couple of hours in Singapore? 

Some might make a beeline for Clark Quay and its vibrant bar and club scene, or maybe Orchard Road & Bugis for a spot of late night shopping – but being the nerd that I am, I wanted to go see the Super Trees @ Gardens by the Bay. LOL.

9.00PM

C and I set out from our hotel at Shangri-La, where we took a Grab to the nearest MRT (Somerset – red) and traveled to Dhoby Ghaut. There, we changed to the yellow line heading to Promenade. Gardens by the Bay is literally at the station’s doorstep.

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Spanning over 100 hectares, Gardens by the Bay is one of Singapore’s most visited attractions, with beautifully landscaped gardens, conservatories and groves – a literal green oasis in the middle of the city. Walking through the nicely manicured lawns and neat pavements, one can’t help but marvel at the ingenuity behind its design and architecture, as well as the massive effort it must take to upkeep the place.

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The highlight of the Gardens is the Supertree Grove – towering structures of light and steel made to resemble – you guessed it – trees. I think they’ve become even more iconic since the Crazy Rich Asian film: think Singapore, think Supertree Grove.

Theyre’ not only there to look pretty: the trees are essentially ‘vertical’ gardens, with complex technologies such as photovoltaic cells that help it to harness solar energy for the plants, a rainwater collection system for irrigation, as well as air intake and exhaust functions for the conversatories’ cooling systems.

There are light and sound shows twice daily at 7.45 and 8.45PM. Too bad we missed it by the time we arrived. There’s also a restaurant up in one of the trees, and a pedestrian bridge ( you need to pay for that though) if you want to get upclose to the structures.

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A great spot for photos is this illuminated bridge that connects different parts of the vast park, as you’ll be able to see some of the super trees as well as the Singapore Flyer in the distance.

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Also close to the Promenade side of the Gardens is the iconic Marina Bay Sands building,  designed to resemble a ship at the top. There is a convenient pedestrian bridge linking the two, so we made a quick detour to see the sights before returning to the MRT station.

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Tree-lined pedestrian avenue.

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The grand interior of one of the buildings.

10.30 PM

From Promenade, we rode the MRT one stop to Nicoll Highway – C’s usual haunt for food back when she was still working in Singapore. We hadn’t had dinner and our stomachs were rumbling by the time we got to the Golden Mile Complex, which C described as ‘shady but they have good food’ lol. Anything for good food!

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Built in 1973, Golden Mile is an old but clean (is there anywhere dirty in Singapore even?) shopping complex that reminded me strongly of KL’s Ampang Park. Like how Lucky Plaza is a hub for the Filipino community in Singapore, Golden Mile plays host to many Thai businesses, including numerous mookata (grill and steamboat) buffet joints, karaoke spots, mobile phone shops, bars, clubs and the like.

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We popped into a random one that was packed despite the late hour and got a set for two, which was chicken and seafood. Did not realise that it came with liver or would have skipped this, but the rest of the items were good, especially the chicken meat which had been marinated in a flavourful garlicky concoction. Shrimps were large and meaty, but I do wish they had given us a bit more squid.

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For those of you who have never tried mookata, all I can say is that you’re really missing out! It’s extremely popular in Thailand, where it is known as mu kratha, and features a uniquely designed pot with deep edges for boiling, and an elevated centre for grilling. They give you a few slabs of lard to ‘oil’ the grill with, so the meat comes out tasting extra fragrant.

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Of course, no meal would be complete without the quintessential Thai milk tea. The version served here was humongous; almost as tall as my head.

Our meal came up to SGD  25 per pax (screaming at self not to convert it into ringgit) which was reasonable given the portions.

1.30 AM
The last train back to Somerset ran until 12.30AM, and it took us another hour to book a Grab because there were problems with C’s SIM – but all in all, a good couple of hours spent taking in a slice of Singapore. Hope this helps if you’re ever in town for a super short stay. 🙂