They say looks can be deceiving. Yes, most of the time it’s true like this small Thai restaurant in the gigantic Mall of Asia. In the company of restaurant giants it’s a virtual David in the midst of Goliaths. But what this seemingly small establishment offers is a taste of Thai culture, a distinction in the plethora of restaurants like fastfoods that has been reflex choice among consumers.
I was fortunate to visit Jatujak with my sister Riza who share my passion with good food especially the eclectic and exotic ones. Thanks sis! Here we ordered the Chicken Pandan and Red Chicken Curry with plain rice and for drinks, we had Thai Iced Tea. Guess who ordered the Chicken pandan? Of course, she did. If you’ve read my past blogs, you’d know my love affair with the Chicken Curry and definitely won’t pass the chance to try Jatujak’s version.
The drinks were served first and we were amazed at the towering glasses in our midst. Wow, they are tall! So how do I describe the taste of these twin towers? Like Iced tea with milk? Nah, it tastes more like sago and gulaman to me but with milk and of course without the sago and gulaman. A far cry from the usual sweet iced tea we’re used to.
Honestly, I’m not a fan of food that takes some effort like shrimps and crabs. For me, these should be un-shelled before being served. I believe that food should be eaten with the less stress as possible. So unwrapping the Chicken pandan in Jatujak even just a few seconds was not my favorite memory here. But so what, it was still worth it. The chicken pieces were very tender and had enough flavor even without the sweet chili dipping sauce. My sister loved it.
Before going to my favorite curry, sometimes small details in restaurants get your attention. In Jatujak, it was the silver rice bowls. The bowls were not your ordinary rice bowls, it had an intricate pattern carved into them, giving a little drama to the serving of ordinary rice. And I really appreciated it, small details like these add value to the dining experience, something that makes it special and hard to miss.
Going back, when the Red Chicken curry was finally served to me, I was a little underwhelmed, if there’s such a word. It lacked color. It looked a little anemic-looking to me. Because I expected Curry to be colorful, exuberant even just looking at it. But again, I was glad I was mistaken. The flavor just grabs you by the collar and stares at you face-on. The heat is there alright but not the type to burn your eyes or tongue. And aside from the heat, there is also a certain sweetness that permeates in the flavor. The combination of the chicken, curry, red chillies, kaffir leaves and sweet basil made me want to order more rice to satisfy the insatiable craving that suddenly appeared after the first drop of sauce hit my palate.
There are other dishes I’d like to try here some time like the Pad Thai and their salads. For a small restaurant, it still has more to offer, more flavors I have yet to discover besides I like a restaurant with character. It knows who it is, a restaurant that offers the most authentic Thai cuisine it could muster. With the many generic food courts, fastfoods , and overrated and overpriced restaurants around, Jatujak stands out in its own way with its good food and reasonable prices.