If you’re ever in the neighbourhood of Subang Jaya, and hankering for local cuisine, Serai should be at the top of your list. Located in Empire Shopping Gallery, the restaurant might appear rather small from the entrance, but it’s cozy and inviting ambience certainly makes up the lack of space. The décor is classy and simple – white walls and furniture with potted plants thrown in for good measure, and together with the warm lighting, it sets the perfect mood for a great meal.
Located on the lower ground floor of the trendy neighbourhood mall Empire Shopping Gallery, Serai pulls in a steady stream of diners and it can get quite busy during the peak hours, so make reservations if you plan on dropping by at those times. Families and working professionals mainly fill up the place, and it’s great for either a catch-up session with friends, or to grab a quick lunch. The Empire Shopping Gallery mall is within a 10-minute walk of the nearest train station, Komuter Subang, and plenty of parking spaces are available within the mall with reasonable parking rates.
The menu offers choices of Malay, Thai and Western dishes, with portions large enough for two. Local fare such as nasi ambang, nasi kerabu, and nasi lemak are the usual favourites here, but the signature dish of the restaurant is the Serai platter. A combination of rice and fried chicken, honey squid, oxtail asam pedas, and acar (pickled vegetables) might be a little too much for some, but this is a prime example of a great local dish if you’re eager to try something new.
The steamed fish in lime sauce is another must-try; the sour sauce complements the freshly steamed fish beautifully, and it is enough to be shared with a group of friends. Popular pasta servings such as spaghetti carbonara and spaghetti seafood marinara add to the variety of the menu, and are available in kids’ portions.
As for drinks, Serai mixes local flavours with well-loved thirst quenchers, such as the Serai iced tea (lemon sorbet, lemongrass extract and fresh mint in a tea concoction), and minted calamansi soda (crushed mint leaves blended with soda and calamansi). Those with a sweet tooth will be delighted to find that Serai has a healthy (or sinful?) choice of desserts. The berry pavlova is highly-rated, as it has just the right amount of sweetness and tangy flavours, and pandan banana fritters are served with a scoop of ice cream – a refreshing take on the local teatime favourite.
Serai’s well-thought-out menu has a few surprises here and there for locals and tourists alike, and is maybe the number one winning charm of this petite but welcoming eatery.
Serai, Empire Shopping Gallery
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 22:00
- Address: LG37, Empire Shopping Gallery, Jalan SS16/1, Subang Jaya, Selangor
- Tel: +603 5611 3200