Sri Sawadee

Special thanks to Sri Sawadee for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

The former Sri Sawadee was one of the oldest Thai eateries in Penang. Just recently, this restaurant was given a new lease of life with a complete makeover. The new restaurant is now called Sri Sawadee Thai Fusion Café (ศรีสวัสดีร้านอาหารไทยฟิวชั่น). The brand new store facade is a stark contrast to the faded one just several months ago.
The dining hall of the restaurant has evolved beyond recognition. Decades-old furniture has been replaced with new ones with a modern touch. The ceiling has been heightened to give an airy café-like ambience.
While there are standard-size dining tables for typical groups of customers, there is also a large communal table for single diners who wish to mingle around with other like-minded individuals. A heated bowl of pandan water provides soothing aroma which permeates throughout the entire hall.
The menu of this new restaurant has been completely revamped. Although several classic favorites such as Pad Thai (ผัดไทย) are still available, the menu places more emphasis on Thai fusion cuisine. Assimilating well-known Thai delicacies with contemporary cooking styles, Sri Sawadee is among the pioneers in this unexplored niche in Penang.

We started the meal with an order of appetizers, Thai Spring-Rolls (RM9.90). This Chinese-style spring rolls is made from chopped jicama and carrots, with a crispy layer of deep-fried wrapper skin.
In addition, the spring rolls are served with deep-fried water spinach (ยำผักบุ้งกรอบ). Mixed with flour batter, the leafy vegetable has delicate yet addictive crisp which does not wane even when cooled.
For the Pandan Chicken Wrap & Roll (RM17.90), one half of this dish is the traditional Thai delicacy called Gaw Haw Bai Toey (ไก่ห่อใบเตย). Chicken cutlets are marinated various herbs and oils, wrapped in pandan leaves, then cooked in a steamer.
As if the bursting flavor of well-seasoned chicken is not gratifying enough, check out what's in store at the other half of this dish: tortilla wrap with chicken, onions, lettuce and salad dressing! The cool-sweet sensation of dressing complements well with the marinated chicken, making these rolls delectable beyond measure.
For the Thai Crispy Fishcakes (RM13.90), Thai-style fishcake (ทอดมันปลา) and garlic chives are wrapped in bean curd skin, then deep-fried in hot oil. This finger food snack is reportedly very popular among Thai restaurants in Taiwan.
Somtum Mamuang (ส้มตำมะม่วง, RM8.90) is a popular Thai salad made from julienned green mango, onions, carrots, roasted peanuts and bird's eye chili (พริกขี้หนู, cili padi). Unripe mangoes yield the desired tanginess, while roasted peanuts provide added crunchiness to the salad. The amount of bird's eye chili is less than expected, but the preferred amount is rather subjective and varies by individual.
On the side are several sheets of dough skin wrapper, similar to the ones used to make deep-fried wonton (云吞). To enjoy this salad dish, simply place a spoonful of vegetables on top a wrapper and hold the sheet à la tapas style.
An order of Buffalo Wings (ปีกไก่ทอด, RM12.90) comes in 3 pairs of wings and drumettes. The chicken has been marinated with Thai spices, then deep-fried to golden perfection. A small saucer of Sriracha (ศรีราชา) is provided as spicy dipping sauce.
This dish is best consumed while hot, otherwise the chicken loses its crisp and becomes greasy. In terms of taste, I think Patsa Thai Thai Shop has a slight edge when it comes to this dish.
Since its opening, the most popular dish in this restaurant is Sawadee Crab-Cake Burger With Het Tod (RM18.90). This burger features a patty which is crafted from Thai-style crab cake (ทอดมันปู). Along with onion rings, sliced tomatoes and dressing, the grilled patty is sandwiched between two halves of a buttered bun. The burger bun features a dense layer of grated coconut kernel on top.
On the side are mixed vegetable salad and two pieces of deep-fried shiitake mushrooms (เห็ดหอม). The tastiness of this burger is heavenly beyond mortal words. I have not encountered such lovely burgers for a very long time.
Next, the Dry Green Curry Chicken Capellini (RM18.90) is a fusion between Thai green curry and Italian pasta. This dish is served with chicken cutlets, long beans and eggplant (aubergine or brinjal).
Capelli d'angelo, also known as angel hair, is looser and has finer strands compared to spaghetti. Originally plain in color, the angel hair has been inadvertently dyed green by a sauce based on Thai green curry (แกงเขียวหวาน). Overall, this pasta dish has creamy consistency similar to carbonara. Its mild spiciness makes it recommended for diners who are new to Thai curries.
For adventurous diners who like to spice things up, the Tom Yum Stir-Fry Seafood Spaghetti (RM20.90) is a decent choice. Similar to the previous dish, the pasta is given a twist of Thai-style sour-spiciness of tom yum (ต้มยำ). However, it is better to tone down the level of saltiness to allow spicy and savory flavors to manifest more prominently.
Served with the spaghetti are large shrimps, mussels, squid, several slices of toasted garlic bread and a lime wedge. A shower of parmesan cheese and parsley are included for enhanced appeal.
As for rice dishes, curry lovers may want to try the Tom Yum Goong With Turmeric Rice (RM18.90). This red Thai curry with shrimps (ต้มยำกุ้ง) includes a generous serving of squid, fish, and various Thai spices.
The curry has moderate spiciness, but is a far cry from truly authentic, tongue-numbing tom yum. The pungent aroma is certain to boost appetite of diners who thrive on fiery flavors of this popular Thai curry.
A heap of rice is provided on the side, dyed yellow due to turmeric (ขมิ้น). Unfortunately the perception of turmeric is not as prominent as it should be. I feel that white rice would not have made any noticeable difference.
Dining couples may want to consider another signature dish at Sri Sawadee: Glasspot Jumbo Prawns Goong Woonsen (RM28.90). This dish is served in a large glass pot, and is kept warm by a candle below.
Meant for two persons, translucent glass noodles (วุ้นเส้น) are served with rich, milky gravy. Although the glass noodles appear plain, the gravy does a great job in saturating them with savory flavor. Quite surprisingly, the texture of noodles is still fine even after the gravy has dried out.

As if this is not impressive enough, four exquisite pieces of jumbo shrimps are provided for our indulgence. I cannot commend this dish highly enough. If you are still single, I suggest that you use this dish as an excuse to get a date! Remember the large communal table that I mentioned earlier? It is high time to use those pick-up lines that you learned from TV!

As for drinks, Sawadee-Cup Drip Hazelnut Coffee (RM10.90) and Sawadee-Cup Drip Salted Caramel Coffee (RM10.90) are prepared using Vietnamese-style metal drip filters (cà phê phin). The coffee is brewed from Doi Chaang Arabica beans, cultivated from the highlands of Thailand.
Each cup of coffee includes a piece of nut brittle. This candy is made from assorted nuts and seeds, held together by caramelized sugar. This confectionery is similar to the local candy called Kong Th'ng (贡糖).
Cold beverages include Honey Ginger Tea (RM6.90) and Salted Ice-Coffee (RM10.90). The former has a respectable dose of ginger extract. Fortunately, the sharp taste of ginger is balanced by mild sweetness of honey. As for the latter, its salted nature is not prominent since most food dishes have strong flavors already.
Overall, Sri Sawadee provides a unique blend of Thai fusion dishes unlike any seen before. The use of classical Thai ingredients with infusion of modern elements makes the food here rather distinctive. In the near future, the menu of Sri Sawadee will be expanded to include the café facet of this eatery.

Name: Sri Sawadee Thai Fusion Café (ศรีสวัสดีร้านอาหารไทยฟิวชั่น)
Address: 17, Jalan Sri Bahari, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-263-1492
Business hours: 11:30am-3:00pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm, closed on Wednesdays
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sri-Sawadee-Thai-Fusion-Cafe/571175969686932
Coordinates: 5.42088 N, 100.33223 E
Directions: From either direction of Transfer Road (Jalan Transfer) turn to Jalan Sri Bahari. Sri Sawadee is approximately 150 meters ahead on the right. It is located several doors after Foong Wei Heong. Street parking is available on both sides of Jalan Sri Bahari.

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    1. Hope you enjoy it! Please share your thoughts after trying it. :-)

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