The nice thing about living in the Klang Valley is there are plenty of nooks and corners with hidey-hole kinda eateries. Jing Thai falls into this slightly off-the-beaten-track category; it is right under one’s nose but you’d be clueless until a foodie friend leads you there.
Netizens who had visited rated Jing Thai favourably so my curiosity was piqued the minute we set foot there. The pork-free resto has been in business for eight years with new owner Brandon Yap determined to make it even better than before.
Its semi open air concept encompasses rustic bamboo clad walls encircling an open courtyard. The area can fit about 40 tables with a few of them sited in an air-conditioned section. According to Brandon, spring water is fed into the tanks where his live fishes such as jade perch and tiger grouper are kept. As a restaurateur who’s adept at Thai, Asian and Western cooking, Brandon explains some of the dishes bear slightly fusion influences in them.
One of his most experienced staff tends to the barbecue, grilling customers’ orders on request. We love the large BBQ Cockles (seasonal price) but the grilled Lamb Chops (seasonal price) is decent too. Word has it the sought-after grill-to-order salt crusted perch or tilapia requires advance order and a minimal wait of 45 minutes.
Beware of the firecracker hot Tom Yam Seafood (small RM20, medium RM34) which looks deceptively harmless until you sample the clear seafood laden broth. Its explosive taste grabs you at the first mouth but for chilli fiends who enjoy breaking out in sweat, this soup should set your adrenalin going.
Thai salads are rad thanks to an invigorating combination of sour, briny and zingy hot flavours. Unless you’re averse to eating bizarre parts, the slightly crunchy, QQ mouthfeel of Chicken Feet Salad (small RM16, medium RM22) is ideal for kick-starting the appetite.
Similar tasty nuances appear in the switched up appetisers of Thai Style Abalone Salad (RM26) and slippery Cold Glass Noodles (small RM13, medium RM20) with chopped wood ear fungus, onion and cherry tomatoes on a bed of lettuce. Both do a bang-up job of setting the tastebuds ablaze before the arrival of main dishes.
Thai-Chinese influences are evident in the offerings of Thai Style Lime Steamed Squid (seasonal price) and Thai Style Lime Steamed Tilapia (seasonal price). Chopped garlic, chilli, lime juice, fish sauce and fresh coriander are central to these dishes; the saucy robustness amplifying the fish and squid’s inherent sweetness.
If you like inventive dishes with an unexpected twist, the Thai Style Chicken (small RM18, medium RM28) with shredded torch ginger is commendable. Think of yong choong gai or deep-fried chicken topped with crispy onion rings and gooey tangy-sweet sauce only in this instance, the chunky chicken pieces are covered with fragrant torch ginger strips.
Of the trio of curries we sampled, I’d recommend the Thai Style Curry Crab (seasonal price). You need to give the resto advance notice though as crab supply isn’t consistent. Well-spiced with an egg whisked into the gravy, the fresh crab chunks easily won us over with its natural sweet freshness amidst the assertive spices.
Personally I wasn’t too hot about the Red Chicken Curry (small RM18, medium RM28). The melding of Myanmarese, Indonesian, Nyonya and Thai proves too many spicy influences will spoil the gravy although the creamy curry scented with lemongrass passes muster in the taste stakes.
Likewise, Malay and Indian nuances are discernible in the house speciality of Special Thai Style Prawn Curry (small RM35, medium RM48). Rich and mildly hot, this is a dish created for local palates but holds little appeal for moi.
Green relief comes in the form of Pucuk Paku with Sambal (small RM13, medium RM18), a nice plate of young fern tips stir-fried in pungent chilli and shrimp paste. As with any Thai meal, plain rice is a compelling canvas for savouring the main dishes served.
We wrap up dinner with a simple Coconut Pudding with Sago. A Myanmarese-Thai creation, this Thai coconut agar-agar dessert drenched in palm syrup and sago pearls is light counterpoint to the rich curries earlier.
For reservations, call JING THAI RESTAURANT, tel: 011-1088 9666. Address:
Lot 1397, Jalan PSK 1, Taman Bukit Serdang, Seri Kembangan, Selangor. Opening hours: Daily from 11am to 2.30pm and 5pm to 11pm