It is not the easiest restaurant to locate. Hidden deep within the maze of industrial buildings in Kepong Baru, Yee Wen Thai Food draws in the crowds daily for both lunch and dinner. Its popularity is not only limited to the Kepong residents as hordes of diners from far and wide descend upon its humble set-up for a taste of their authentic and delicious Thai dishes in a no-frills and rustic environment. After all, the chefs of Yee Wen are all from Thailand.
Yee Wen’s dishes hit all the right notes with their exquisite balance of flavours which are all-important in Thai food. The signature dish is their Seafood Tomyum (RM30) served in a deep claypot. The depth of flavours from the herbs, spices, fish sauce and lime juice together with the bouncy fresh seafood make this tomyum one of the best I’ve had.
A not to be missed item is Yee Wen’s Thai Fish Cakes which are so popular that quite often diners have to call ahead to book them. They run out pretty early too. At RM4 per piece, the rustic home-made fishcake, studded with chopped long beans, shallots and chilli padi are incredibly good, especially when dipped into the accompanying fiery chilli sauce.
Yee Wen’s Otak-otak is quite different from the usual types. Quaintly served in a coconut, the Otak-otak (RM20) is good value for money. There seems to be endless chunks of fresh fish fillet, prawns and squids smothered in a thick custard of coconut cream and spices packed inside the coconut. Be sure to have lots of white rice to go with this!
Thai salads or kerabu take on a whole different dimension here. Their Deep-fried Fish with Kerabu Mango (RM45) is very addictive as I simply can’t stop munching on the crunchy fish which is tasty to the bones. The tart and crunchy mango salad has chopped peanuts and chilli padi dotting all over, making it all the more enjoyable.
My favourite is their Somtam with Salted Egg (RM15). Strips of young papaya, carrots and long beans are tossed in an excellent dressing of fish sauce, lime juice with lots of peanuts and chilli. The brilliant touch in this salad is the salted egg – it’s the missing link that binds all the flavours in the most extraordinary way.
If there’s one vegetable dish that must be ordered here, it has to be the Pucuk Paku (RM15) – almost every table has this. Diced fresh prawns, onions and chillies are stir-fried with the thick crunchy ferns resulting in a dish that’s positively addictive.
Other dishes which are popular here are the Fried Lala Thai Style (super spicy!) and Stir-fried Minced Pork with Thai Basil which has century eggs added – unique and totally rock with plenty of white rice. Check out the Lemongrass Chicken Skewers too – they are great with beer!
Oh, if you are still hungry after all the above, order their Fried Rice – it’s truly delicious. Full of “wok hei”, the grains of rice are supple and separated, coated with the flavours of seafood and egg that are heaped inside the mountain of fluffy rice.
All in all, food in Yee Wen are strong in flavours and they certainly don’t stinge in putting in lots of aromatics for that special touch of authenticity. Service is loud and boisterous and decently fast even with a huge crowd waiting, which seems to be quite the norm here.
Yee Wen Thai Food
Lot 01-3813 Jalan Helang Merah
Kepong Baru Industrial Estate
52100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.1943973, 101.6420123
Open: 11.00am-10.00pm daily