Eastin Hotel 13,
Section 16 Commercial Centre,
Business Hours: (Daily) 6am to 11pm.
Tel: 03-7665 1111 ext. 183
WHEN Jamloong Ngoobut-ton told us that it was her first time cooking in a hotel, we thought she was trying to pull our legs. However, we were later told that what the Thai housewife told us was true.
?If you think I am a big chef and have worked in many restaurants and hotels, then you are wrong.
?This is really my first time cooking and working in such a big kitchen, I did not even know where to start when I first stepped in,? said the mother of two when met at the Eastin Hotel in Petaling Jaya recently. She was there to showcase some of her home-cooked dishes during a two-week Thai food promotion.
The only experience Ngoobut-ton had was helping her mother sell simple Thai dishes in their hometown of Lopbhuri.
?My siblings and I had to help our mother every day after school.
?It was our routine. Once everything had been sold, we helped her pack up and return home,? said Ngoobutton, who sold bus tickets before marrying her Malaysian husband.
She added that her mother only allowed them to assist in cleaning and cutting the vegetables, hence as a young girl, she had to memorise her mother?s secret recipes by heart.
?I did not even write them down, every day I just kept memorising one after another and, eventually, it stuck,? she said, adding that the invitation to cook at the hotel was surreal and she hoped she would be able to open a restaurant in the future.
She moved to Malaysia in 1990 with her husband and has since made Kuala Lumpur her home.
Her mother has also given up manning the stall due to old age and none of her siblings were interested in continuing the business.
Our dinner started off with two different salads ? Thai Glass Noodle Salad with Squid (Yam Wun Sen) and the Thai Beef Salad (Nam Tok Nuea).
It was followed by a Chinese-styled Chicken Stew with Egg cooked in Brown Soup (Kai Phalo) and her family?s all-time favourite, the Tom Yam Seafood (Tom Yam Nam Kun).
?My children love tom yam soup, I have to cook it for them all the time,? she said during a review where she prepared some of the dishes that will be on the menu this month.
The Tom Yam Seafood, she said, was spicy and sour and slightly clear.
It is usually served with generous amounts of prawn and squid.
?For tom yam, you have to use whole milk and not coconut milk, which usually spoils its authenticity,? said Ngoobutton, who also believes in preparing chilli paste from scratch and not buying mass-produced paste from the supermarket.
Another speciality of hers is the Basil Fried Rice with Seafood (Khao Phat Kraphao Talay), which is rarely found in restaurants.
?Most restaurants prefer to serve easy fried rice dishes with either chicken, beef or pork and they never use basil leaves which I feel is quite an essential item,? said the 57-year-old.
For those who love curries, try her revised version of green curry with prawns instead of the usual chicken, beef or seafood.
The skins of the prawns are not peeled but as I struggled with my fork and spoon to rip them apart, I discoverd the reason why Ngoo-button insisted on cooking them as they were.
?The head of the prawns contributes to the juiciness of the meat and the dish as a whole, so leaving it out is big no-no for me,? she said.
For dessert, we had the irresistible Sago with Yam (Sago Piak) and Coconut Custard with Sticky Rice (Khao Niao Sangkhaya).
Other dishes one can find on the buffet line are the Chicken wrapped in Pandan Leaves (Kai Ho Bai Toei), Thai Fried Fish Cake (Thor Man Pla), Steamed Fish with Lime (Pla Nueng Manao), Kangkung Belacan, Otak-Otak, Phad Prik Seafood, Pandan Jelly with Coconut Milk, Sweet Mango with Sticky Rice and Steamed Yam Cake with Palm Sugar.
The promotion, aptly named ?A Taste of Thai?, is being held until April 30. The buffet spread is available daily from noon to 2pm.
It is priced at RM68++ per adult and RM36++ for children.
This is the writer?s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.