Among Labim Mall’s many restaurants, Mango Chilli is the first to greet you as you ascend to the third floor, with its warmly lighted and relaxing atmosphere.
Among Labim Mall’s many restaurants, Mango Chilli is the first to greet you as you ascend to the third floor, with its warm and relaxing atmosphere. The charm in Mango Chilli’s take on Thai food is the balance of flavors, sweet, sour, and spice, without the overpowering flavors of lemongrass or coconut, presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
I meet up with Srijana Regmi, beauty queen and model, and her boyfriend, for a meal, along with the restaurant's general manager, Ujjwal K, Joshi, and public relation officer Sarina Shrestha. ”I’ve been to Thailand once. I was a vegetarian then too, and so mostly stuck to steamed vegetables. A favorite of mine is papaya salad; the people in Thailand taught me how to make it, and it was nice.” Srijana reminisces, as we sit down on the wooden furniture.
We have a round of Thai tea, served in little shot glasses. Bitter at first, but drinking slowly, it has an interesting flavor of cinnamon and other herbs. "It’s a bit creamy, and it’s different. It’s a bit bitter, but not overpoweringly so," Srijana comments.
To begin our meal, we have the papaya salad, and dig into the fragrant salad immediately. Since we had the vegetarian version of the famous salad, we didn’t have any shrimp, but the flavors were still drawing us in. "It looks wonderful. It’s very fresh tasting, with a lot of flavors going on," Srijana comments.
We also had Chicken Satay, a Malaysian dish of crispy and tender chicken pieces skewered onto a long wooden stick and covered in delicious curry flavored gravy. Accompanying this was the shrimp cake, fried round balls of shrimpy goodness, with a crispy golden outside and a chewy, tender, and juicy inside. To achieve this consistency was a challenge for Ujjwal, who reveals, “It is took me 45 minutes of banging against the bowl to get that level of oxidization for it to be hard on the outside and soft inside.”
Both of which Srijana could not try out herself, but luckily, her boyfriend speaks on her behalf. ”That is a very crispy outer layer there, wow that’s delicious,” he comments, as he digs into the golden ball of shrimpy goodness.
In addition to these dishes, we also have a re-creation of Tam Som-o, the famous Thai pomelo salad, but with a twist. Instead of pomelo, at Mango Chilli, they serve you this salad with watermelon. Mixed in with spices, the watermelon adds a nice sweetness to the sourness and saltiness of the spices, and the spices themselves enhance the watermelon’s flavor and texture.
Next came Drunken Noodles. Spicy noodles served with crunchy veggies, this dish has an interesting story behind its creation. Thai people love to get drunk, right up to the tipsy level, and the noodles were created to sober them up with its spice. ”This is so good, I think these are the best thing I’ve had till today," Srijana gushes.
In addition to Drunken Noodles, we also have Pineapple Fried Rice. A yellow dome of fragrant and alluring yellow rice and chunks on pineapple with fried onions on top, resembling a pineapple itself. "Pineapple and fried rice, that's a pairing I would never think to work, but it does," Srijana says. Accompanying this is Kra Pao, a dish with spicy minced meat and rice. It is known for its heat, you cannot have a mild Kra Pao. It wouldn't be a Kra Pao if it was mild.
We are also served Thai Green Curry and Massaman Curry. The first is a vegetarian curry, whereas the second is non-vegetarian. Massaman Curry paired with Fried Pineapple Rice is absolutely divine, the creaminess of the coconut milk and the tenderness of the chicken melding perfectly with the flavors of cardamom, curry powder, and cashews of the Pineapple Fried Rice, leaving you digging in for more.
The Thai Green Curry didn't have the overpowering flavor of the coconut, rather a sweet mellow flavor, paired with a vibrant mint green and soft yet firm tofu chunks. With authentic Thai food, the coconut flavor would overpower the rest, but at Mango Chilli, the flavors are in harmony with one another, making an irresistible meal.
After that, we try Pad Thai, Thailand's national dish. A dish with historical roots, we’re also taught the proper way to have it by Ujjwal. Taking up a fork in one hand, with the other squeeze the lime over the noodles, then sprinkle the peanuts over the noodles, followed by the chili powder, and then mix it all in, tossing it like a salad.
Crunchy, fresh, and delicious, none of us could stop feasting on the Pad Thai. With beautifully cooked shrimps and crunchy bean sprouts and spicy chewy noodles, no wonder it is the national dish. "I wasn’t expecting this to be so good," Srijana gushes.
To finish our meal, we share a Strawberry Coconut Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert with a Thai twist. It came to us as a small white dome of coconut goodness drizzled in strawberry syrup, and topped off with strawberries. Cutting into it, it maintains its gelatinous form, reflecting the light around. The perfect dessert to accompany all of the spicy food we had, we left the restaurant with full stomachs and happy faces.
A wonderful place for a casual sit down, Mango Chilli adds a casual, charming atmosphere with delicious high quality food that will leave you wanting for more. Definitely a place worth checking out.