Seeri Authentic Thai Restaurant
26 Jalan SS2/10,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor.Tel: 03-7877 7859
Opening hours: 10.00am-10.00pm, closed on Thursdays.
For delicious home-style fare, there probably isn’t anywhere better than Seeri Authentic Thai Restaurant.
UNEXPECTED surprises abound as one meanders through the streets of Bangkok’s residential Suanplu neighbourhood; an area wedged between the diplomatic enclave of Sathorn and the livelier Silom district, or as one trundles down the snaking alleys and side streets of Chinatown. Here, next to shops selling gold, shark’s fins and bird’s nests, you’ll invariably come across mom-and-pop stalls and restaurants whose food, prepared using time-honoured recipes, magically become the highlight of your visit.
This is because the Thai cuisine served at such places is seasoned and prepared with the skills and talents of expert chefs.
Most of these unassuming cooks also find the energy to look after their many children who, in turn, spend their time at the eatery, waiting on tables and learning from mum and dad.
The decor at such places is usually predictably sparse. Tables are covered in translucent plastic wrap, the lighting is mostly of the harsh fluorescent variety, and the food is always unfailingly excellent.
I’d always believed that finding such a restaurant in Malaysia would be impossible, a fantasy for the taste buds, but Seeri Authentic Thai Restaurant (“Seeri” means “good moments”), tucked away in suburban SS2 in Petaling Jaya, ticks all the right boxes in terms of both its cuisine and interior. The latter is usually nondescript, the former sublime.
The tastes and flavours of the namprik kapi pla too or Thai sambal with grilled mackerel and assorted greens (RM25) is a sincere nod to home-style cuisine. The sauce with its slices of mango, chillies, garlic, onion, cili padi and lime packs a spicy punch, while the selection of blanched vegetables, including super fresh aubergine, cabbage, cucumber and cabbage are slightly crunchy and perfect for dipping into the delicious bowl of namprik. Equally worthy as a starter is Seeri’s famous deep-fried kangkung (RM15) with tinges of crispy batter, bite-sized shrimp morsels with a tangy and sweet brown sauce, best eaten on its own or with a splash of namprik.
For mains, opt for the pla kung (RM20) – lightly fragranced prawns swimming in a chilli-based sauce with lots of chopped lemongrass, galangal and lime. The prawns are cooked well, yet do not have the doughy texture of those that have been simmering over a stove for too long.
But for those who prefer their seafood in a pot with burning flames hovering beneath, there’s the steamed fish flavoured with lemongrass, onions, chillies, ginger and lime, all of which are presented in a grand-looking dish bubbling with hot, soupy goodness. Both the fish and the soup are best enjoyed with rice, and the price of this dish varies according to the size and variety of fish selected.
Still on the seafood theme, the pamek pad pong curry or squid cooked in Thai curry paste (small: RM20; large: RM30) is a flavoursome nod to a Thai matriarch’s top secret recipe. Served in an egg-based sauce, the morsels of squid are gently fried with chopped onions, celery and chillies. To some, the dish might be reminiscent of a Malay-meets-Chinese stir-fried creation. To others, it is just plain delicious.
There’s also the vibrantly hued pineapple curry chicken (small: RM15; large: RM25). Matching its bright colour with robust spice-rich flavours, the tender chicken morsels and accompanying gravy teases, coaxes and finally, conquers the palate. As with most of the eatery’s dishes, the flavours and aromas are at first subtle and soft; the spices and fresh herbs used, however, linger on the taste buds. According to Chef Pum, many of the eatery’s loyal clientele say that they needn’t take the two-hour flight to Bangkok just to enjoy Thai cuisine when Seeri is just around the corner.
With the khor mu yang or chargrilled pork (small: RM20; large: RM30), one is instantly reminded of char siu, but the difference here is that the thick slices of pork have been marinated in Thai spices and placed on the grill till the meat turns succulent. And unlike char siu, the meat here is of the lean variety, and is best eaten with the sauce provided. Made from plum sauce, freshly squeezed lime and other secret condiments, the dark concotion draws out the smoked pork’s rich and memorable flavours.
For dessert, sample the seasonal homemade mango sticky rice (RM15), a rich and decadent offering composed of sweet and juicy slices of mango and a generous portion of sweetened and cooked glutinous rice.
Seeri Authentic Thai Restaurant is usually less busy during lunch hour, but the pace quickly picks up later in the evening. Here, both regulars and visitors from out of town converge at Petaling Jaya’s closest alternative to a Thai eatery where the food is as real and as memorable as it gets.