Eat Drink KL: Thai Chala, Sri Petaling

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Thai Chala, Sri Petaling

Founded by a Thai chef who hails from Hat Yai but has family roots in Chiang Rai, Thai Chala offers Malaysians the opportunity to taste Thai fare from both the far south and the north.

For a Thai kitchen that blends honest home cooking with punchy street flavours, this colourful restaurant with plenty of Thai touches is well worth exploring, showcasing distinctive dishes alongside delicious interpretations of familiar favourites. 

Start with soulful bowls of noodles, for a satisfying meal at any time of the day.

Patrons can customise their order - pick your noodles from choices of Thai Mama instant noodles, Thai rice noodles, egg noodles or glass noodles. Then select your soup - the Rich Tomyam is the well-known crowd-pleaser for Malaysians, while the Vintage Tomyam is the milder, peanut-tinged Thai classic.

You can even decide your spice level, from mild to medium to hot. The noodles are available with seafood (RM20.90), pork (RM18.90), or as a signature (RM26.90) with both. 

Our serving of the Rich Tomyam Signature was beautiful to the last slurp, brimming with prawns, fish balls, baby octopus, pork and egg, lip-smacking with a clear, robust tang. If you love Thai noodles, bookmark Thai Chala for a future destination.

Many of Thai Chala's recipes have been handed down through generations - the Chiangrai Noodles (RM14.90) are a cherished household staple by the chef's grandmother. It features thin, tender rice noodles that are the hallmark of kanom-jeen, topped with pork ribs as well as minced pork potently stir-fried with tomatoes and Thai bean paste, crisped up with crunchy pork lard, vegetables and chilli for a well-balanced bowl. A soothing preparation, pure comfort food for noodle enthusiasts.

While most Thai restaurants in KL serve traditional offerings from the north and central regions, Thai Chala makes its mark with several southern specialities. 

The Turmeric Chicken Soup (RM15.90 for the smaller serving, RM28.90 for large) is wholesome with herbs and spices, including lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal, with a yellowish hue courtesy of turmeric. It's a fun Thai twist to chicken soup, alluringly aromatic - two or three people can sufficiently share even the smaller serving.

Thai Chala's assurance of authenticity and quality is illustrated by the Southern-style Stir-fried Petai (RM22.90), with a choice of seafood, pork and prawns, or chicken and prawns tossed with A-grade petal in chilli paste imported from southern Thailand. The paste is pleasurably pungent, making this addictive for fans of full-bodied flavours, fragrantly savoury and spicy. As with many Thai Chala dishes, you can opt for mild, medium or hot.

Craving more crustaceans? The Stir-fried Prawns with Curry Powder (RM26.90) convey a decadently creamy kick, with large, whole prawns saturated with a thick, textured premium curry mix. We're still fantasising a week later about these prawns, inspired by Thai curry powder crabs.

Thai Chala's pork platters have become bestsellers for excellent reason. The restaurant even has a dedicated cook responsible for the Grilled Thai Pork Neck (RM19.90), marinated for half a day with Thai palm sugar to lend a perfumed depth of succulence (Thai Chala uses no white sugar). This is the perfect pork neck, with impeccable proportions of flesh and fat, lightly charred and lusciously juicy. 

Equally enticing is the Pork Leg Rice (RM18.90), with meat carefully stewed for five hours, resulting in soft, supple slices of pork. Rounded out with steamed rice, kale, Thai salted and pickled vegetables and a hard-boiled egg, the pork comes in a generously hearty portion. This plate alone should keep many customers coming back for more.

Ultimately, there's something for everyone at Thai Chala, whether you like your food fiery or tame, highlighting top-notch, thoughtfully prepared ingredients at fair prices.

Vegetarians will appreciate nearly two dozen meat-free dishes here - we recommend the corn and salted egg salad (RM14.90), a lively, memorable change from papaya and mango salads.

Many thanks to Thai Chala for having us here.

Thai Chala
15, Jalan Radin Tengah, Sri Petaling, 57000 Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 1130am-1030pm. Tel: 03-9547-7525

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