Most Penangites would have known about this Thai Restaurant with no signboard except for a yellow round light along Jalan Fettes since 1982. Yellow Light (Thai Food) Restaurant was one of the finest Thai cuisine restaurants ever existed in Penang, managed by the then founder, Madam Yoke Payong. Subsequently her daughter, Chef Loh took over the business and continued to serve great Thai cuisines to patrons from all over the world. The business eventually moved to 8 Row along Jalan Krian off Jalan Macalister. Somehow, I guessed another golden opportunity knocked at the right time and she’s right now with her new restaurant along East Coast Road, Singapore.
The continuity of the current restaurant, under the same name, is under a different management now. Will the food be as good as before ever since Chef Loh had moved to Singapore since January? Let’s look at some of the dishes I had ordered here compared to the one I had tasted by Madam Yoke as well as her daughter, Ms Loh.
The first dish that was served was just another simple dish in any household, Phad Phak Ruam (Stir Fry Mixed Vegetables – RM9). Except for some Chinese cabbage, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and wood ear fungus, there was not a piece of meat or prawn in it. The taste was just normal without any Nam Pla (fish sauce) to bring out the best in the dish.
Next was Yam Woonsen (Glass Noodles Salad – RM12). The dish has cooked glass noodles, prawns, dried shrimps, chicken dices, onions and chili paddy mixed all together with some sauces and garnished with some coriander. The dish was a bit too sour and the glass noodles were so soggy that all were lumped up. We had to request for a pair of scissors to cut them up.
Thailand is famous for some of their seafood dishes. We tried out the Poo Cha (Deep Fried Stuffed Crab – RM6/pc) and Poo Neung (Steamed Stuffed Crab – RM6/pc). Both had the same ingredients such as minced meat, prawns, crab meat, water chestnut, Chinese celery, chopped chillies and topped with some salted egg yolk. The fried one came with some breadcrumbs. As for the taste, I find the stuffing rather soft to my liking. I guessed the cook might have put too much of corn starch into the mixture, thus making the stuffing too sticky and slimy.
One of my most ordered dishes in Thailand other than Tom Yam Gung would be the Thod Nam Pla (Deep Fried Fish Cake –RM2.50/pc). The ones served here was not as spicy and thick as those I had taken before. I find the whole fish cake rather bland to my liking. Moreover, the amount of vinegar in the chili sauce provided was too strong.
A Thai meal would not be complete if you do not try out the Gai Bai Toei (Fried Pandan aka Screwpine Chicken – RM2.50/pc). This was another let down as I could not really bite out the toughness of the chicken pieces. There were just too much of spices in each wrapping than the actual meat. Moreover, the meat was over marinated until they became over soft like minced meat.
As for dessert, I ordered the Tub Tim Krob (diced water chestnut in colored starch and jackfruit strips served with thick coconut milk –RM2.50). The dessert was rich with coconut milk but was too sweet to my liking.
Maybe I could have ordered the wrong dishes from the drastically reduced food list compared to the previous ones I had at the original house but if the basic dishes from a Thai cuisine had failed my taste bud, it would mean that the rest would not be as interesting anymore. The damages were RM55.35 for all the food ordered with drinks, optional wet towels and 5% service tax. I hope that the new management would try to improve further with the food quality. I also hope that I don’t get to see the good image and reputation of the former heavenly Yellow Light tarnished and vanished from the face of Penang.
If you are driving down from Komtar into Jalan Macalister, you will see a petrol kiosk on your left and then Grand Paradise Hotel. Immediately after the hotel and before the traffic light, there is a left turning, Jalan Krian (Krian Road), where the 8 Row heritage restaurants are situated. The restaurant is occupying the first two shop houses.
Name: YELLOW LIGHT RESTAURANT
Address: 2-4, Jalan Krian, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-227 6072 (Mr. Ooi/Ms. Wong)
Bistro & Karaoke (upstairs): 9.30pm-2.00am (min 3 tables)
GPS: 5.416714, 100.322076
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7.5/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)