Sbai Thai Mini Mart & Restaurant: Authentic Thai food hidden in a mini mart

A wise friend once told me, “If you spot a Thai grocery store, it’s very likely that you will also discover authentic Thai food being served there. The two simply go hand-in-hand.” So when I came across Sbai Thai Mini Mart along Jalan Besar Ampang, I knew it was time to put her theory to the test. 

Sbai Thai Mini Mart & Restaurant - exterior

From the exterior, Sbai Thai Mini Mart & Restaurant reminded me of the regular neighbourhood Speed Mart. The shelves are stacked high with endless packets of instant noodles, Thai condiments of every kind, snacks and toiletries. I felt like a kid in a candy store, unable to control my excitement. 

Sbai Thai Mini Mart & Restaurant - mini mart

But first, it was time for lunch. It headed past the shelves containing toiletries and  found  the restaurant. The staff is Thai, so when you step into Sbai, you may feel like you’ve somehow ended up in Bangkok. It’s simply marvellous.

What I tried at Sbai Thai Mini Mart & Restaurant

The choice on the menu is staggering— from street food to soups, curries, noodles and meaty mains, they have a great variety to choose from! To start, I opted for a staple Thai street snack and my personal favourite, the Thai Pork Satay (RM3.50).

Sbai Thai Mini Mart & Restaurant - food

A visual sign of an irresistible pork satay is the lightly charred appearance on its exterior. I took a bite of the succulent piece of pork and happily welcomed the well-marinated, fatty meat. I loved how the sweetness was just right and did not overpower the other flavours. 

Before I knew it, I had vacuumed two sticks of the pork satay down, wanting more. Make sure to consume your Thai Pork Satay hot off the grill when the flavours are most alive and that’s actually when the meat melts in your mouth. 

Food - pad thai

For my main course, I ordered the Pad Thai (RM9.50) and was truly impressed with its portion. The dish could easily feed 2 hungry eaters. Along with the giant plate of Pad Thai was the customary side of crunchy peanut garnish, for extra texture.

I took a bite of the perfectly-cooked noodles tossed with beansprouts, eggs and juicy prawns and the flavours again, were spot on. Unlike my disappointing experience at Cosmo Thai where I encountered really sweet pad thai, Sbai’s pad thai possessed a good balance of sweet, salty and sour. Finished off with crunchy peanuts and a healthy squeeze of tangy lime, the pad thai was lip-smackingly good. Of course, I washed it all down with a tall glass of creamy, refreshing Thai Milk Tea (RM6.80).

Malaysia Food Village: Old-school hawker centre with steamed chicken dry horfun, oyster omelette & dim sum

You would think that by now I had my fill of Thai food. Well, not just yet. How could I dine at a Thai restaurant and not order their Mango Sticky Rice (RM10)?

Sbai Thai Mini Mart & Restaurant - food

The Mango Sticky Rice consists of a bed of sticky rice topped with toasted sesame seeds, in a pool of coconut milk and fresh mango chunks by the side. The customers who were dining in front of me did a double take when the dessert was brought to my table and wanted to know if it was as good as it looked. 

I scooped the sticky rice along with the mango and took a bite. The sticky rice was sensational— sweet and drenched in the coconut slurry, it practically melted in my mouth. It was so creamy and good. I wish I could share the same positive sentiment about the mango but unfortunately the fruit wasn’t very ripe. But it was still juicy, so there was some justice done to the fruit. I finished the entire plate in minutes. 

Final thoughts

Restaurant - thai food

On my way out, I couldn’t resist checking out the fantastic array of Thai snacks, especially since I have a weakness for their exotic potato chip flavours. This was how I found myself at the cashier paying for a bag of Chili Crab flavoured potato chips.

A friend who stays close to the restaurant  shared with me that many of the Thai expats have their dinner here so you know it cannot get any more authentic than this. 

So if you’re ever wanting a taste of Thailand, head over to Sbai Thai Mini Mart & Restaurant. Don’t forget to check out the mini mart after your meal. If you’re anything like me, you’ll leave with a whole bunch of snacks. And that’s not a bad thing!

Expected damage: RM15 – RM30 per pax

We tried the best-rated prawn noodles in KL

Price: $

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

Sbai Thai Mini Mart & Restaurant

57, Jalan Besar Ampang, Pekan Ampang, Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia 68000

Our Rating 4.5/5

Sbai Thai Mini Mart & Restaurant

57, Jalan Besar Ampang, Pekan Ampang, Ampang, Selangor, Malaysia 68000

Telephone: +6016 696 2040
Operating Hours: 10am - 10pm (Mon to Thu & Sun), 10.30am - 10pm (Fri & Sat)
Telephone: +6016 696 2040

Operating Hours: 10am - 10pm (Mon to Thu & Sun), 10.30am - 10pm (Fri & Sat)