Anyone who has lived in the United Arab Emirates for a long time and has intense cravings for Southeast Asian dishes reminiscent of home-cooked food, need not look any further. A new casual restaurant located off Sheikh Zayed Road offers a delicious mix of authentic Thai, Malaysian, Singaporean and other specialties from the region.
We have tasted South East Asian cuisine over the years, but it has always been a pleasure to try dishes that taste like home, and Jade was on the point.
The restaurant was founded by two women who had no experience in the hospitality industry but were armed with a passion for food and wanted to support women, which is why the place has several women in key roles, including leaders.
The self-contained restaurant is located on the first level of Safestway and is easily accessible from the filter roads adjacent to the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Highway. The crescent-shaped interior, with seating spread around the open kitchen, is warm and cozy, the dim lights add to the peaceful ambience. It is a sight to see flames bursting from the wok as the chefs toss dishes with an artistic movement of their wrists.
Today, Southeast Asia is known for its exotic dishes with various ethnic influences like Sino-Malay-Indian-Thai, etc. The main draw of the kitchen is its delicate blend of herbs, spices and other condiments.
As recommended by the chef, we were served a mix of Malaysian and Thai varieties. Although Thai cuisine is more popular around the world than Malaysian cuisine, we have found similarities as the two cuisines share multiple ingredients. Although Thai cuisine is fragrant and rich in flavor due to the generous use of herbs, it is not as spicy as Malaysian dishes.
We started the South East Asian Food Journey with Malaysian specialties like Tauhu Goreng, Mee Goreng (Fried Egg Noodles with Chicken), Beef Rendang (Cured Beef Curry with Rice) and Ang Ku Kueh .
Among the lot, the Beef Rendang, one of the popular dishes of the country, won us over. Strips of tender, boneless meat, coated in a thick, curry-like sauce made from a blend of coconut, chili peppers and spices paired well with steamed rice. Also the Tauhu Goreng or fried tofu which is served with bean sprouts and a Malaysian spicy sweet and sour peanut sauce, makes for a light and healthy appetizer.
The other surprise was the dessert – a tortoise cake or Ang Ku Kueh. We don’t know how many diners would like to nibble on a turtle at the end of their meal. But if you go by the Chinese proverb that says, “Eating turtles brings longevity, luck and prosperity” then you will undo all your reservations about it. Ang Ku Kueh was made from the skin of glutinous rice flour stuffed with a delicious, chewy sweet dough. With that done, we moved on to try some Thai specialties. The Thai menu included crispy chicken drumsticks (the meat was tender on the inside while it was crispy on the outside), fried rice with chicken and eggs, Thai chicken with green curry, and sticky rice in mango (sweet coconut rice with fresh Thai mangoes) and Kha Nom Tom or Thai coconut dumplings (boiled rice flour dumplings stuffed with grated coconut with palm sugar and milk coconut) for dessert.
No one can make a green curry better than the Thais, which has been one of the highlights for us of this meal. The rich and creamy coconut sauce, made richer through the use of aromatic oriental herbs like basil, lemongrass and galangal was divine. Combine it with steamed jasmine rice, and you’re sure to go for a second serving. Tom Yum also deserves a special mention for refreshing our taste buds with its lemony and spicy flavors.
Would we do a round trip? Of course, whenever we would like to break the monotony of our daily meals.
A meal for two at Jade’s costs 150-200 Dh