Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bangkok Tom Yam, PJ Old Town

Despite growing up in an environment where spicy food is commonly consumed, my friends are always surprised at my inability to "handle" spiciness, from the mild to the extreme. A little extra chilli normally causes an extreme reaction in me. My eyes tear, my nose chokes, and beads of sweat form on my face and all over my body. It is a highly embarassing situation in every sense of the word. My indian heritage ought to give me immunity to such reactions but I'm beginning to believe (and my Makan Club friends will concur) that my genes got screwed up along the way. My tastebuds, however, crave for chilli, and therein lies the paradox of my life. And so I torment my body as I load up on chilli - my nasi lemak is always swimming in spicy sambal, indian food is relishly consumed and when I eat noodles or rice dishes, I always have a plate of sliced fresh chillies (filled to the point of overflowing) in soy sauce.

The one dish that always evokes the above sensations, without fail, is tom yam. Irregardless of the adverse reaction, I laboriously seek out the best tom yam in this part of the world. Pain is temporary. The taste, however, will be remain in my memory (and now, in my blog) as I strive to overcome the numbness in my body.

bangkok tom yam 2
And so, with the knowledge that I am a huge fan of tom yam, Pretty Pui introduced a wonderful place to me. This "restaurant" is located in a house in PJ Old Town, and one can be forgiven for thinking that people were eating at this place because of 1. a celebration, or 2. a funeral.

Bangkok tom yam 1
Stepping into the restaurant, I felt like I was intruding on a family dinner. The diners seemed to be regulars as they happily chatted with the chefs, a little old lady and a little not-so-old lady, who cooked outside the house. My excitement was apparent as the smells of sambal belacan, lemongrass and other condiments wafted towards my direction.

fish head tom yam
The most popular dish at this restaurant is the fish head tomyam. We were led to a freezer box where the fish were kept and we were asked to select the type of fish (either whole fish or fish head) for our tom yam. Feeling extremely hungry, we picked out the garoupa fish head and were immediately informed that the price was RM53. We certainly had no regrets when the dish was cooked and served to us. The flesh of the fish was firm and fresh. The tom yam was of a thick consistency with extreme flavours, both tart and sweet, and it would be impossible to drink it on its own due to the sweetness of the dish. However, eaten with rice, the taste is absolutely wonderful. Before long, I threw all caution to the wind and was drinking the soup and crying in pain at the same time. It was absolute punishment to my body, but I persevered for this little bit of heaven.

omelette with minced pork
We were also recommended the fried omelette with minced pork, but I could hardly taste the meat as the taste of the egg took dominance. It was, nevertheless, very fragrant and a delight to eat.

kailan with salted fish
The stir-fried kailan was fresh, crunchy and contained a generous serving of salted fish. In fact, every mouthful had bits of salted fish in it, so I had to ensure that it was followed by a mouthful of rice to offset the saltiness of the dish.

According to the owner cum cook (a Thai lady), this restaurant has been in existence for 13 years. I can't believe that I could have subjected my body to this torture 13 years earlier when I was but a sweet young thing. I guess I shall have to make up for wasted time.

The total bill for two came up to RM73.

Other reviews:-

Bangkok Tom Yam
No. 23, Jalan 2/23, 46000 Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03-7782 4469, 012-617 1862

Opening hours: 11.00am - 2.00pm, 5.00pm - 10.00pm


tankiasu said...

Oh tomyam is so my kinda thing. But the fish head is quite pricey no? Do you know the price of other type of fishes there?

Pink Elle said...

Ouch talk about torturing yourself! But that fish tomyam looks worth the torture! It looks like the thicker sort of tomyam, akin to asam, as opposed to the thin Thai sour kind. Was it?

Btw, guilty of piling chillies high in my saucer everytime I eat noodles! I'm the one always trotting back to the stall owner to ask for "kah lak jiu" :p

MeiyeN said...

tomyam fish head?!! wow cool... only had before curry fish head but never a tomyam flavour! this place near da market?

Paprika said...

ouch! I feel your burn. Arth you lithping from it? :-) Despite your description, the eggs looks really yum.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

tankiasu: the fish fillet costs about RM39. The fish head may be pricey, but it's worth every cent paid. ;-)

pink elle: you're absolutely is the thicker kind...more like asam. Wah if we eat together, i will have to wrestle the chilli from u huh? :-)

meiyen: map on da way. ;-)

paprika: lol. I've recovered. ;-) if u compare this egg dish with any other omelette, is is better than the normal stuff. My only complaint is that there wasn't enough minced pork.

team BSG said...

wonder how on earth did you find this forsaken backStreet without our gps guide ?
one more time V will change name ! ( hahaha , or insist u need our co. or else...).

Melting Wok said...

ll, I don't think I can recognized PJ old town anymore :( You and your gang will be torturing me w/millionsssssss of mouth drooling post b4 I get home :PP

Precious Pea said...

Wow...the fish look fantastic!!!!!!! Droolz droolz droolz..gravy must be so good with white rice. I want errr...

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

team BSG: next time u come with us, ok. We go to the pedalaman of the jungles of PJ to look for food.

melting wok: u betcha! we just want to make sure u really get on that plane and come here. :-)

precious pea: ya..this kind of gravy, must ask for extra white rice. ;-)

jason said...

OMG, the tomyam looks fabulous! But it looks more like curry than tomyam leh.

mae said...

I had my first taste of fish head tom yam in Thailand on my last trip - it was so good! Now, i'm missing it. :(

I also had kailan - i know what you mean about having to make sure each bite is followed by a mouthful of rice. The one i had was chilli hot hot hot and the salted fish really went very well with it. Ah! I wish i could have all of the above now. :)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

jason: you're's a cross between a curry and a tom yam, i.e. you gotta eat it with rice rather than drink the soup on its own.

mae: Tom yam is always wonderful to eat. I hope you're be able to get tom yam where you are right now. But I suppose getting the authentic stuff (i.e. not toned down) will be difficult.

Audrey Cooks said...

Hi there LL! I like your new photo, very pretty. by the way, you have a terribly delicious looking pot of fish head tomyam calling my name! Audrey Audrey eat me!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Audrey dahlink, you're too kind! Real life is a different matter altogether, though. Muahahaha. Hey Audrey, you should seriously check out this place...the fish head tomyam is just wonderful!! You can thank me later. :-)

Jackson said...

my friend was just shared that old klang road hv a lot of good food, and today itself u posted such a great review. RM 53 for tom yum fish head was definately a bit pricey but i guess its worth if the fish was fresh. But afterall, Rm 73 for a hearty meal was acceptable.. WHat is the meaning of "PBB" before turning to the left?

wmw said...

Mmm...see? Someone else commented on this new pic of yours :o)...Somehow, I never seem to travel to the Old Town side...should go there and have a look see.

Rasa Malaysia said...

Kailan ikan masin, I have been wanting to cook this at home I must cook soon after your picture. :)

UnkaLeong said...

Wah...looks good they even have "Khai Jeow" (Fried Omelette). Do they serve other Thai dishes as well...Hope they manage to satiate my craving for Thai food when I am back...Hahahah

Tummythoz said...

*splish splash splish splash..* Oh don't mind me. Just those saliva glands acting up again. I got used to it. Who wouldn't, with such delicious post e-v-e-r-y time.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

jackson dear, the restaurant is in PJ Old Town. Not sure what PBB is. Maybe Public Bank?

wmw: :-P :-P Ya lar, u should go to Old Town. Loads of food there.

Rasa Malaysia: Can't wait to see your post. Your pics are always so beautiful.

Unkaleong: Yes, I noticed other thai dishes on the menu. The cook/owner is a Thai lady from Chiengmai, so the authenticity (at least, in our minds) goes up. :-) It's hard to get tired of thai food, isn't it?

tummythoz: the feeling's mutual everytime I look at your posts of delicious EXPENSIVE food that I can only dream of eating. hehe.

tigerfish said...

Without you telling it's Tom Yum Fish Head, I would not have known just by looking at the picture. I never tasted Tom Yum Fish Head before (me so sua ku! )

Erra said...

hey you!

you found me ... and your blog made me remember that i haven't had lunch


my regards to your crew who were at kanye west

teckiee said...

muahah totally love this place. I do agree with the egg omelet. They really minus off the mince meat thru the years. Got ta pau or not? hehe

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

tigerfish: It was my first time eating it. Yummmm.

erra: who knew the internet was that small. hahaha. I hope u've gotten over the fact that they axed 5 songs from Kanye West's concert.

teckiee: I should've ta pau'd la. What a waste of the balance. Regrets regrets.

kat said...

I think the egg and kailan dish alone is enough for me to sapu 2 plates of rice!!

This place reminds of another rest run by a bunch of Chinese Thai ladies in Serendah. They serve a fabulous fried fish with a blow-your-head-off thick gravy garnished with fried basil leaves. You must visit this place should you be in that part of the world. But it's not easy to find on your own because it's hidden next to a small river. Can give you directions if you're interested.