Thai restaurants have traditionally taken a backseat to local options here in Kuala Lumpur. But there is one establishment that has always been associated with stellar cuisine from our northern neighbours. Having first started out in 1999, it is immediately apparent as to why Chakri Palace has stood the test of time. Classy but unpretentious, sleek but warm, the welcoming atmosphere combined with the authentic food, has made it a surefire winner – even in the fickle foodie scene of KL.
We are greeted with fresh orange juice, a refreshing option after battling rush hour traffic. We start the meal with the traditional starter of condiments wrapped in kadok leaves. Although leaves don’t sound like a particularly appealing dish, the mix of dried coconut, chilli, onions, ginger, nuts and dried prawns combined delightfully with the sweet plum sauce, bringing a burst of flavours to the table.
Another popular Thai dish, the papaya salad, makes it way to our table. Also known as “som tam”, it is popular the world over, and when you taste it you’ll know why. The slightly tart flavour of the green papaya combines wonderfully with the spice of red chili and the saltiness of fish sauce – giving it that extra kick. Packed with fresh ingredients, this is one healthy meal.
It would not be a Thai dinner without the ever popular tom yam soup, and Chakri Palace boasts an award-winning version of this wildly popular dish. Served with a ginormous king prawn peeking out of the bowl, this bowl of piping hot soup does not disappoint. Supremely hot and sour, light yet nourishing, the soup is jammed packed with flavours, and can be made spicier for those after some heat.
The next dish, pandan chicken, is a sight for sore eyes, with the crispy and sweet chicken pieces wrapped in pandan leaves, making for both a colourful and appetizing dish.
It is said that there is often the greatest beauty in simplicity and the next two dishes proved just that. The spicy green curry with chicken, and baby buk choy with salted fish combination proved to be an astoundingly scrumptious mix – no wonder there was nothing left at the end of the meal! The green curry was filled with eggplant pieces and beans, and boasted an arresting combination of sour, sweet, salt and heat.
After all that goodness, it’s tricky to think of dessert but the ruby rose water chestnut is worth saving space for. Served in a hollowed coconut, the centre is filled with red “rubies” (water chestnut covered with tapioca flour), sweetened coconut milk and creamy vanilla ice cream – a perfect combatant against the heat of the tropics.
A range of soft drinks and cocktails are available, alongside a modest wine selection. Needless to say, a night at Chakri Palace is likely to be a satisfying Thai dining experience of authenticity and quality. And with its convenient location in the heart of the city, the road to delicious food is a short one – no passport required, just bring your appetite!
Source: The Expat Magazine March 2014
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