Fire up your senses at Kuala Lumpur's Kin Rai Dee Restaurant

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2023

Staying true to Isaan Thai cooking, Kin Rai Dee promises to fire up your senses and whet your appetite with mind-numbing spices!

Translated from Thai to mean “don’t know what to eat”, Kin Rai Dee cheekily provides the answer with a sign at the bottom of the stairs: “Eat here lah!”

Recommended by some friends, I brought my family along for dinner one night so that we could try more dishes.

Having been forewarned about how the restaurant was so popular, I made reservations earlier and just as well, as the place filled up really fast.

Fire up your senses at Kuala Lumpur\'s Kin Rai Dee Restaurant

The highlight that night was the Crispy-fried Chicken Tendon (En Gai Thod – RM16.90), apparently imported directly from Thailand. This is the soft cartilage bone at the chicken keel with still some meat attached, deep-fried till crispy.

This made a great starter dish as it was so much fun to munch as it arrived hot and crispy, and the soft cartilage bone added a nice crunchy texture. Kids will surely enjoy this. The spicy dipping sauce went well with the dish.

We also had the Special Cockles Somtam (Tam Hoi Krang – RM25.90), which was tangy and spicy, a great dish to whet the appetite.

The cockles were very fresh, as were the rest of the ingredients for the salad, especially the crunchy young mango strips.

Those who like fresh cockles will like this very much, although it was too spicy for our Malaysian taste buds. You can request to tone down the spice level if you can’t handle the heat.

Giant Cockles seemed to be a signature dish at Kin Rai Dee, consisting of a generous plate of blanched cockles to go with a housemade dipping sauce. We saw quite a few tables ordering this, though we gave this a miss as I’m not the biggest fan of blanched cockles.

Fire up your senses at Kuala Lumpur\'s Kin Rai Dee Restaurant

Another crowd favourite was the Chargrilled Pork Neck (Khor Moo Yang – RM20.90).

One of my favourite dishes to order at Thai restaurants, Kin Rai Dee didn’t disappoint as the portion was fairly large.

The pork neck was not too thin and had a good bite to it. Well-marinated and grilled with a delicious smoky char, the meat came with a platter of raw cabbage − a counterpoint to the fatty meat, made complete with a tangy spicy dipping sauce that cut through the oil and fat.

Fire up your senses at Kuala Lumpur\'s Kin Rai Dee Restaurant

Another simple dish that I liked here was the Thai Style Minced Pork Omelette (Khai Jeaw Moo Sub – RM16.90).

The omelette was golden and fluffy, with the sweetness of the minced pork coming through. I could easily polish this off with just a plate of hot white rice, it was that good!

Another measure of Thai cooking is their stir-fried vegetables, a dish that usually comes with a distinctive taste of oyster sauce and fish sauce.

We had Kailan with Salted Fish (Pad Ka Na Pla Kem – RM16.90).

The vegetables arrived still green and crunchy with a distinctive umami flavour of salted fish. This paired well with the hot steamed rice too.

What’s a meal at a Thai restaurant without Tomyam, right?

Fire up your senses at Kuala Lumpur\'s Kin Rai Dee Restaurant

We went with the Chicken Tom Yam Clear Soup (Tom Yam Nam Sai – RM33.90) although they also offer the usual creamy red Tom Yam version. I feel a clear soup is lighter on the palate, and the tom yam flavours tend to shine more distinctively.

Unfortunately, this dish was nearly impossible for any of us to really enjoy as it was incredibly spicy! Looking deceptively clear, the spice level was through the roof and our lips literally tingled from the heat! I only found out later that you could (and should!) customise the spice level to your palate and tolerance.

The dishes are all cooked to order so it’s possible to tweak the heat for most dishes at Kin Rai Dee.

My personal recommendation is to clearly specify what you can tolerate, as the default level turned out to be very spicy even for a seasoned spice-eater like me.

The Tom Yam soup aside, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Kin Rai Dee. I found the prices reasonable and the food decently portioned. And it was delicious. I’m already planning my return to try some of the other dishes on their extensive menu. Next time, I’ll be better prepared for the chillies!

Opinions expressed here are the writer’s own and food at her own expense.

Sue Yap

The Star

Asia News Network