Monday, July 28, 2014

My (2nd) Elephant

It was reported that the recent World Cup generated billions of dollars in illegal gambling's throughout the world. This dinner was part of these billions. At an earlier dinner in the midst of the football fever, the conversation inevitably drifted to the World Cup. To make things interesting, we decided on a small wager. A paper was passed round and each of us was to list down the 2 teams that we thought would make to the finals. The losers would buy dinner for the winners. When Germany and Argentina won their respective semi-finals, the group duly re-gathered for the dinner. I wasn't lucky. I predicted Germany and Nederland. 

The restaurant picked was a Thai in Aman Suria, Petaling Jaya. When this place was suggested, I immediately remembered My (Thai) Elephant that I had featured in my blog way back in 2010. That Elephant was in Section 17, PJ. I did not know that the restaurant had prospered and expanded - with branches, not only in Aman Suria but also in Sri Hartamas, K.L. 

The Elephant in Aman Suria occupied 2 shop lots with 2 dining areas. It was simple but tastefully furnished. White, blue and grey was the featured decor. Our reserved table was in the inner sanctum.

When we arrived there, SP had already ordered the dishes. The waiter was still around taking orders for drinks. The popular selection was this pandan juice with lime and mint. It looked very green.

I believed the more refreshing drink was this serai (lemon grass) juice which I opted for. It was cold and fragrant and thirst quenching. The biji selasih (basil seeds) added colour and flavour to it.

We started the meal with this miaeng kum. It was a Thai appetiser comprising various raw ingredients - chilli padi, diced lime, garlic, shallot, peanut, dry shrimp and sesame. It came with a sweet sauce. All these wrapped and eaten in daun kaduk - wild betel leaves.

The papaya salad had shredded unripe papaya with garlic, chilli padi, peanuts and the usual Thai stuffs in a sweet and sour sauce. And if it was not sour enough, they provided a slice of lime. The serving of very small. There were about a dozen of us with a couple of big eaters. Fortunately SP had presence of mind to order double servings for all the dishes.

The seafood tom yam was rather strong - hot, spicy and sour. There were prawns, squids and fish slices.

The waiters dished the 2 servings into small individuals bowls.

Gai tod is a Thai style fried chicken. Again, the serving was dismally small and even the 2 servings were not quite enough to go around. I could taste a strong herby marinade. The flavour was good. Wished there was more.

This was a platter of fish cake, tofu, and fried and fresh spring rolls. I only managed to taste the fish cake and the fried spring roll. I liked them both. But why couldn't they serve at least one piece of each for every diner? Moan.

Without sounding like a broken record, just look at the serving of the grilled squid. I had a bite of it. It was succulent and flavourful. Very nice.

The panaang gai or chicken curry was very nice. Like all Thai curries, it was thick and rich in santan (coconut milk). It went very well with rice.

Steamed siakap (barramundi) in Thai sauce. This was the only decent size serving of the meal. I didn't quite like the dish. Firstly, siakap is not my favourite fish. And the preparation was not fantastic.

This was kia jiao tofu. Kia jiao in Thai means omelet. So this had to be a tofu omelet. Honestly, this was a first for me. I had never heard, let alone tasted a tofu omelet. I did not taste any tofu in it. It was like one thick plain omelet. I guess they blended the tofu into the egg and then fried it into an omelet. I liked it. The texture was soft and nice. I think I will try making this one day. Tofu omelet - quite a novelty, isn't it?

Stir fried kai lan. Very mundane. Still it was a good choice of green.

We had a choice of white of brown rice. I was glad SP opted for the brown. 

With the small servings, I guess we all still had ample stomach space in spite of the many dishes. Each of us ordered our own individual desserts. Their was no suggestion of sharing. I believe this was a cheese cake. It looked like one with a thin layer of crust at the bottom. The reason I wasn't sure was the way they served it, with sticks on each piece of them.

My wife had this cold sago with nangka (jack fruit) and other goodies in it. I had a taste of it. It was very good. The coconut milk was rich and very fresh. The sago was plentiful and the nangka went very well with the whole thing.

The most popular dessert that evening was the red ruby (water chestnut). It was topped with diced mango.

My choice was the Thai classic - mango with glutinous rice. The serving was quite large. The glutinous rice was a mixture of white and brown, which was quite good. But the whole thing was not up to my expectation. The mango was rather soggy and the coconut milk was not quite enough. I wished I had ordered the sago instead.

The dinner was very enjoyable. I liked the company more than the food. And it was not going to end there. During the meal, another piece of paper was passed around to predict the champion. Like the tournament, there again would be winners and losers. And we would re-gather one more time.

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