You don’t come across that many Malaysian restaurants in Bangkok or abroad for that matter. Probably because Malaysian cuisine is a mix of Chinese and Indian, and people figure why not just feature the real thing. One Malaysian restaurant worth mentioning in Bangkok is Cili Padi on Silom.
While it may not be nearly as popular as Thai food (and rightfully so), Malaysian cuisine has much to recommend. If Malaysia has a national dish, it is nasi lemak (60 baht), which is rice soaked in coconut cream and served with anchovies, roasted peanuts, a hard-boiled egg, cucumber slices, pickled vegetables and spicy sambal sauce served on a banana lead. Oddly at Cili Padi, their nasi lemak wasn’t served in a banana leaf, but it did hit the spot provided one is able to get a mix of all the flavors in one bite.
Maybe Thai food has burned the spice buds from our tongue, but the sambal prawn dish (70 baht), a categorically spicy dish, lacked any power. Better was the flash-fried morning glory with shrimp paste (60 baht).
Others items at Cili Padi are real winners to the extent that one serving typically isn’t enough. This includes their beef rendang (stewed in coconut milk and spices 70 baht), roti canai, and pork satay with peanut sauce (90 baht). These are pretty basic staples, but they are delicious and filling.
Fahmi Sabri runs Cili Padi and his uncle opened it because he wasn’t happy with the halal food he found at Thai Muslim restaurants and couldn’t be sure it was 100% halal.
Mr Sabri keeps the dishes coming hot and fast from the kitchen, but one complaint is the beverages are cloyingly sweet. Sweetened condensed milk is the scourge of developing countries the world over, and many Thai establishments are keen on it as well. Malaysia’s famous pulled tea (teh tarik) is a good example of how a great drink is spoiled by over-sweetness. To each their own, but the only type of ‘wan’ we want in Bangkok is ‘pak wan.’
If you’re too lazy to go outside, Cili Padi delivers given a minimum order of 250 baht, but part of the beauty of Cili Padi is the experience inside the restaurant.
Location: 160/9 (27) ITF Tower, ground floor, Silom-Narathiwas Soi 1
Mass transit: BTS Chong Nonsi, then double back and cross Silom staying on the right-hand side of the road.
Phone: 02-634-2839 Web: www.letseat.at/cilipadi
Hours: 11 am to 10:30 pm, closed Friday