Top 5 Thai Street Food Joints in Kuala Lumpur

People ask us, where do you go for great Thai street food in KL? Well, we have five places that we frequent and love. Not just because the food is ultra spicy and tasty, but because of the humble set up and the authentic street food cooked by Thai residents in Malaysia. These are the closest dishes you will get to the thai street food, the sort you get in Thailand.

Here are our Top 5 Thai streetfood joints in KL:

1. Thai Somtam Seafood @ Jalan Alor, Kuala Lumpur

One of the best places for Thai street food in the bukit bintang area, is a small, unassuming restaurant on the top of the slope of Jalan Alor, called Thai Somtam Seafood. If you’re coming up the road from Changkat Bukit Bintang, it’s on your left, just after the lost cost hotel. If you turn right, you will enter Jalan Alor. The cook hails from Isaan Thailand, and the cooking is fantastic.

Thai food varies from region to region due to geography and history. In the West, most Thai restaurants serve Bangkok-style cuisine. The food of Isaan is famous for being very spicy and pungent, seasoned with fresh herbs and fermented fish (plah rah), featuring some of Thailand’s spiciest salads. The cuisine has more in common with that of Laos then the rest of Thailand, as Isan people historically have been influenced by their neighboring county’s culture and speak a dialect that is closely related to Laos.

Perhaps the most unusual feature of Isan food is their taste for water buffalo, and jungle creatures like rice-field beetles, geckos, lizards, frogs and sour red-ant eggs. Well we asked but they didn’t have that here;) Go for the Duck Noodles and the Tomyam Gung instead then. Both can be cathartically spicy so be sure to go armed with tissues, wet wipes and of course wear no more than T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops.

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duck noodles – add your condiments.. I even add sugar to mine – you know they say, when in a Thai restaurant – do as the Thai’s!

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succulent and meaty duck meat – not gamy at all

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pad thai – a little on the moist side. Some places do it less wet

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cathartic Tomyam Gung.. I found it just nice, but Cumi found it too spicy!

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the cosy interior of Thai Somtam Seafood

Add:
Restoran Thai Somtam Seafood
88 Changkat Bukit Bintang
50200 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
+603 2145 8458
Non-halal

2. Lai Thai Market (Frame Thai) @ Happy Mansion Section 17, PJ

The next place on our list, is Lai Thai in section 17, now called, Frame Thai. This cramped little space functions more as a trader’s shop, for selling Thai imported food stuff. However, the owners decided to place a couple of long tables and chairs and voila, it became a coffee shop restaurant. The place gets really cramped and hot, so be sure to arrive early if you want a seat. Also, it’s not always open for business so that’s a bit of a put off, arriving and finding that they are not selling for the day, but hey, when it is open, the food truly is remarkably good.

Go for the Mince Pork and Chilli (Lap Mu) and the Thai Papaya Salad (Somtam) here. It’s super spicy, packed and fragrant with herbs. The Lap Mu is crazy tasty with bits of minced pork, pork offal, cartilaginous piggy ears, and so spicy you’ll be clutching your throat in pain and pleasure. The Somtam you should go for is the one with fermented crabs – this has a darker look to it, with a strong fish and shrimp paste flavour. It stinks like belacan .. oo heaven!

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the lighter pork noodles, for those who cannot take too much spiciness in their food

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Lap Mu

The Lap Mu at Lai Thai is crazy spicy and can be eaten with sticky rice or normal white rice. We chose to eat it with our noodles because sticky rice is just too heavy. But the lap mu here is chunky, and I often see folks eating it with their hands -they take a chunk of sticky rice, and, using the sticky rice to cover the fingers, they grab a chunk of the minced pork, then stuff it in their mouths! Ah.. how heavenly. One day when I am carbo loading, I will try eating it like this!

somtam

Somtam with fermented crab

Green papaya spicy salad made from shredded unripe papaya. The dish combines the four main tastes of the local cuisine: sour lime, hot chili, salty, savory fish sauce, and sweetness added by palm sugar. The one to order at Lai Thai is the Somtam with fermented crab. Addictive, and pungent, you’ll find it hard to put down.

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The ingredients are mixed and pounded in a mortar; the Thai name som tam literally translates as “sour pounded”. Despite the use of papaya, which one may think of as sweet, this salad is actually savory. When not yet ripe, papaya has a slightly tangy flavor. The texture is crisp and firm, sometimes to the point of crunchiness. It is this that allows the fruit to withstand being beaten in the mortar.

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In Thailand, it is customary that a customer ask the preparer to make the dish suited to his or her tastes and it’s the same at Lai Thai. You can tell them more spicy, less spicy – I heard one lady say 3.5 times more spicy.. so go figure!

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pad thai – the dry sort

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money plant for good luck.. may it rain with good business!

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Who would have thought that a quiet place like Happy Mansion would house such a terrific little thai restaurant?

Add:
Lai Thai Market (now Frame Thai)
AG-3, Block A
Happy Mansion
Jalan 17/13
Section 17
Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7954 4688
Non halal

 

3.Baan Nok Thai Restaurant/ Thai Market Font @ Jalan Pandan Indah, KL

Baan Nok is a Thai restaurant located just above a thai gorcery shop called Thai Market Font, on Jalan Pandan Indah. The wife of Thai Market Font’s owner comes from Chiang Rai – she is the cook and the food here is awesome. This place is actually related to Lai Thai, so no wonder the cooking is so good. Of course Baan Nok/Thai Market Font came first – this place is way older than Lai Thai.

So what should you eat here? We love the somtam, the green curry, the tomyam gung.. and the thai desserts, though in all honesty, everything on the menu is good here. The somtam at Baan Nok is the lighter sort with loads of lime, sugar, groundnuts and makes it really good for the hot weather. There are grilled sausages, dried fish, all sorts of pickled vegetables, which you can select down stairs and even the somtam is made downstairs and sent up to the restaurant.

the Thai grocery store called Thai Market Font is situated in Pandan Indah. Baan Nok is upstairs

At the shop front, the lady prepares the Somtam and cuts up the sausages to be served upstairs

fabulous chicken green curry – thick and rich in fresh santan

somtam

Tomyam Gung – again mega spicy!

We love the Tako here. The tako is rich, decadent and filled with crunchy water chestnuts!

Add:
Restoran Baan Nok
43A, Jalan Pandan Indah 4/6B
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Non halal
 

4. Kolam 77, Restoran Sawadee 88 @ Jalan Chan Sow Lin, KL (Closed)

Kolam 77, fishing pond, Off Jalan Chan Sow Lin is another good place for cheap affordable Thai Street Food.

The Fishing Village that houses a nice little Thai restaurant

Thai pandan leaf chicken

Thai style otak-otak oozing seafood freshness and sweetness

Thai style steamed squid in chili hot, sweet and sour sauce. The mint leaves and basil made this dish phenomenally good

The Chef here hails from Chiang Mai with decades of experience in the kitchens of banquet restaurants and hotels in Thailand. Apparently all the ingredients except produce and meat are direct from Thailand. We like the food here. Excellent stuff.
 Add:
Kolam 77,
Restoran Sawadee 88,
Jalan 5, Off Jalan Chan Sow Lin,
Kuala Lumpur
Non-halal
 

 

5. Veg Fish Farm Thai Restaurant @ Hulu Langat 

This place is a little further off the beaten track, as it requires you to venture to KM4 in the Hulu Langat vicinity. Head towards Ampang, Hulu Langat and you will soon see the main-road, turn into a dust road.

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Follow that road till you hit a clearing and Lo and behold, the huts.

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At the entrance you will notice a couple of Thai folk busy preparing the seafood. From the cleaning to the BBQ-ing of Japanese snails, fish and crabs, you will see and hear a lot of activity going on.

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The attraction for the kids here is mainly feeding of the fish
For a mere two bucks, parents can distract their kids long enough to finish their own lunches before another grubby, fat hand reaches out for yet another bag of fish feed.

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Toddy and spicy seafood go together like lock and key. Nearly RM30 for a fish – tasty enough, but you can get that for twenty (or much less!) in KL. Also we opted for the ‘White’ tomyam, which was slightly bland and the only saving grace was the large number of prawns it came with.

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The Japanese snails. I ate all of these single handedly, dunked in a generous amount of spicy thai sauce. It really knocked my socks off.

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Fresh as hell crabs,

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With buckets of pre-prepared marinade or smoking herbs?

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Somewhere, mid-meal, a man fishing in his boat, fell into the fishing pond. All the people eating lunch clapped and cheered and waved at him. It was really very funny. Immensely entertaining.

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Finally the tab tim grob for dessert. Cloyingly sweet, this is definitely more suited to Thai tastebuds.

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Mung beans – guaranteed to make you a farting machine.

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We steered clear of these, though they looked incredibly tempting.

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Finally time to pay the bill and go. Of course what this place has going for it is the scenic, novel fish farm and they obviously capitalize on that. Come here for great ambiance, but be prepared to pay a premium for your Thai degustation!

And these, folks, are the Thai street food joints that we truly enjoy in KL… what are yours?

Add:
Veg Fish Farm Thai Restaurant,
KM4 Jalan Ampang
Hulu Langat, Ampang
Selangor
Tel: 012-286 8193/William, 019-260 6493/Eugene
Business hours: 11am to 11.30pm, daily
Pork free
 
 

Comments

  1. OMG I miss KL! I went to Malaysia last month for a press trip/blogger challenge but we concentrated much on the Cameron Highlands leg. Would love to go back for the food!

  2. You’re so good at finding these good street eats!

  3. This is a good list to help me scout for good Thai food..as I have been out of KL for so long that I’ve lost touch of the good places to eat out in:-P The ones that I used to frequent closed down or shifted and the many many new restaurants popping up just make it confusing for my choices :-)
    Love personal recommendations from fellow bloggers ;-) hehehe…

  4. Thanks for sharing this Cumi and Ciki. This will help us a lot to try Thai Food here in KL prior going to Sawadee Land.

  5. what a red-hot post! what a scorcher of a somtam! i’ve not been to any of these five places, but i guess the one near changkat would be the closest and most convenient :D

    • Yeah, it’s all about the pain and the burn. Of course no flavour quite cuts it either, unless it’s cooked by the Thai nationals;)

  6. I remember there is this great stall in Say Huat that serves Thai fried rice which is quite popular. Wonder are they the same?

  7. Thanks for the list, I love Thai food, they never fail to make me drooling over the photos, lol

  8. Dishes look ace. One thing I love about SE Asia is the huge amount of high quality food stands that cater to us veggies as well. Can’t find much of that in Spain.

    • Hi Will! Well I don’t know about high quality – some are pretty shabby (you need to know where to eat), but yeah I do agree the veggie options are definitely more in SEA. And with the added spiciness, it converts a bowl of nosh into something exciting! LOL

      • I don’t know about SE Asia being super vegetarian friendly with the constant presence of fish sauce… in countries on the “backpacker trail” like Thailand it’s easy but in Laos it was nearly impossible to get hearty vegetarian food outside of the touristy towns like Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. Looks like Malaysia is meat obsessed! (Or is that just CIKI?) :)

  9. Yum! This Thai food looks so good. Seems like KL has every type of cuisine :)

  10. Hi people there is this place that serve authentic Thai food in desa Sri hartamas they use to cal zap zap Thai cuisine.. They have change the name now to ban Thai esan. If any one is interested can go try I won’t introduce this place if is not great food. It’s near soul out that row of shop lot you won’t miss it

  11. ahhhh, I was craving for thai food as dinner today. but parents don’t want to go :( now ur post make my crave level up X_X

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