IT is not easy to find vegetarian food, let alone an authentic Thai vegetarian and vegan restaurant, especially one that is able to deliver original Thai flavour.
At Veggielicious, the taste matters. Formerly known as Kok Ran Pak, the restaurant located at Section 17, Petaling Jaya re-opened with a new name about a year ago.
Its interior design is minimal and its space is brightly lit, providing a cosy ambiance as you enter the restaurant.
As an inspiration, images of vegan celebrities, such as Orlando Bloom, decorate the walls.
Savouring the food
When our order of deep fried whole fish with Thai tangy sauce was served, I thought it was a real fish, but a closer look revealed that it was really soy meat covered with seaweed and a layer of bean curd, in the shape of a fish.
Topped with julienned cucumber and carrots, cherry tomatoes and pineapples with crunchy fried bits of the soy meat, the fish sat on a layer of sauce on the bottom of the plate.
The top layer of the fish was crusty, while the soy meat was soft.
The special tangy sauce, created from the restaurant’s in-house sauces, was spicy (hot), – as it was made with cili padi –and slightly sour at the same time.
In contrast, the pineapple slices were sweet.
Having a dish with different flavours was good and yet, nothing could compare to the Thai green curry, one of the most popular dishes on the menu.
The dish contained tasty Thai herbs like Thai basil, lemongrass, spices and vegetables, including three types of eggplant such as the purple brinjal, Thai round eggplant and Thai pea eggplant, which is bitter but surprisingly went well with the creamy green curry.
Choose either vegan soy chicken or lion head mushroom or tofu as the main ingredient of the Thai green curry. After having a taste, it’s no wonder why patrons keep coming back for more.
Among the salads was crispy kangkung with special sauce. The kangkung was deep fried in a batter made from a mix of flour such as tapioca, corn and wheat, served along with a spicy sauce.
Meanwhile, the fresh mixed herbs salad was full of nuts, including sunflower seeds, cashew nuts and dried fruits, lime peel, lemongrass, and ginger with a special dressing.
This special creation came with a cut piece of lime and sliced cili padi on the side, to add a spicy kick.
The words: “Be Warned! This dish can be addictive” were written underneath the salad’s name on the menu, both challenging and tempting customers to try it.
After the meal, you can order an iced lime grass quencher, with two stalks of fragrant lemongrass in a serving of lime juice with mint leaves, for a refreshing taste.
However, the best way to wash everything down is with a Thai dessert. Although only limited choices of desserts were available on the menu, they are certainly worth a try.
The banana and taro dessert with cube-size chewy pieces of taro (yam potatoe) and sliced sweet banana in warm coconut milk with sago was tasty and left a satisfying feeling.
This rich, smooth and creamy dessert served as a great end to a meal at Veggielicious.
In the kitchen
The man behind the food is Jimmy Chang, a 65-year-old chef with 45 years of experience in various restaurants, including one in Singapore.
Chang, who worked under a chef from Thailand about eight years ago, said the food in Veggielicious is the vegetarian and vegan version of authentic Thai cuisine.
Chang, who professed his love for Thai food, experimented by creating vegan versions of popular Thai dishes after some persuasion from his friends.
Their feedback gave him the confidence to work on the cuisines at the restaurant.
“The dishes in Veggielicious have the original Thai flavour,” said Chang, who even made a trip to Thailand to do some research.
Most of the spices and sauces used in the restaurant are imported from Thailand, as Chang refused to compromise on the taste.
Needless to say, Veggielicious dishes are full of the flavours of Thailand, and are simply delicious!