Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Explosive Thai Yee Wen

This was one of the best Thai meal I ever had. And a very explosive one too. It was at my sister LL's invitation that we went to Yee Wen Thai restaurant. Twelve family members were there soon after the CNY and it was a good respite from the mundane Chinese food that we had during the festivities.

The restaurant is located at Jalan Helang Merah in Kepong Baru. I had no idea how to get there. I got the coordinates from my nephew and decided to use my GPS. The silly Garmin took us half way round the world before finally landing us in front of the restaurant, which really was not that far in the Manjalera area. The restaurant is large building by itself, beside a Chinese eatery. You may difficulties locating Yee Wen because the only signboard they have is obscured by some trees on both sides. They really should trim the trees down.

The restaurant is definitely not a fine dining place. It is a wooden structure which is quite squatter in nature but exudes a rustic charm. The place is operated a Thai national who spoke good Cantonese. On that day, it was quite empty and I wondered why.

Because of my silly Garmin, we arrived rather late. By then the food had already started to arrive at the table and I was just in time to take my pictures of the first serving - the seafood tomyam. The first sip of the tomyam was explosive. It was super hot and spicy, and very delicious. It was served in a piping hot claypot and in it were fish, shrimps, squids and the usual stuff.

The green curry chicken was served in a small wok. It was creamy with lots of basil. It went very well with the rice.

The mango kerabu (Thai salad) was delightful. It was a fusion of various tastes - the sweetness of the mango, the fragrance of peanuts, the spiciness and sourness of the sauce all mixed together and made a great salad.

The la-la (clams) was rather ordinary. It was fried with a spicy sauce and some basil.

These were deep fried Thai fish cakes with a lot of spices and some green garnishes. They were delicious dipped in the red chili sauce.

The sayor paku was also ordinary but tasty. I liked it.

The pandan chicken was quite generous in portion. It was very well done. It was deep fried in the pandan leaves, yet the meat was soft and succulent. And very aromatic too.

When the steamed siakap arrived, I took a spoonful of the gravy and I was nearly knocked off my chair. It was so sour and spicy. It was steamed ala Thai. I think the spices, chili, lime, lemon, vinegar or whatever they put in were way over-done. The fish was fresh and nice, but I couldn't eat very much of it. It was too portent and explosive. I couldn't handle it.

The above 8 dishes were our initial order. We hungered for more. We summoned the Cantonese-speaking Thai owner and asked for recommendations. His first suggestion was very unique. It was tempura kangkong (so-called water spinach). The vege was deep fried in a batter. But we couldn't taste the kangkong inside. What we savored was only the crispy batter. Still, it was a novelty. I had never tried tempura kangkong until then.

This was followed by a rather boring fried chicken. I think I heard him mentioned "inchi chicken". It did looked and tasted like one. But it was quite over fried. I did not fancy it very much.

The chef also suggested a deep fried fished topped with peanuts, garlic, chopped basil and small pieces of lime. The sauce was the same as the others - spicy and sour. Like the inchi, I did not have very much of it. Perhaps by then I was already very full and the fish did not interest me very much.

The final recommendation was a master-piece of sort. It was most unique and innovative and tasted great too. It was raw prawn in a salad. The prawns were mixed a very spicy and sour sauce, with lots of garlic and chili on them. I had no reservation biting into the pieces of raw prawns. And they tasted heavenly. There was no trace of the rawness. The prawns were smooth and succulent. Another first timer for me and absolutely great.

We had 12 dishes for 12 people. And as if that were not enough, SP ordered a claypot tong fun (冬粉 - glass noodle) before we hit the road. By then I was totally stuffed but I managed a few strands of it. It was not good. Very mushy and rather bland. That, to me, was a waste of time.

It was a fantastic meal. I enjoyed the taste and the innovation. But it overly explosive - way too spicy and sour. You will probably need a strong stomach. And be prepared for the next morning.

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