There is definitely more than one Chef Lai restaurant in Adelaide. This one is located in Chinatown and it is opposite Thuan Phat supermarket. It is on the left hand side just before you enter into the Adelaide Central Market. The previous owners used to be the owners of Kopi Tim on Grote Street. This is only a small place and as you can imagine, no bookings required. There is no such thing as take your time in this restaurant. It is pretty much sit down order your food, eat and go. Simple menu, Malaysian cuisine, some say authentic and some say not so. I guess with the number of Malaysian Chinese restaurants around town and the different varieties you can choose from in the food courts near by. This is not bad.
Scallion pancakes (Cong You Bing) were not as oily as we thought it would be, but the dipping sauce just didn't go. The chinese doughnut (You Tiao) was fried, I am not sure if these were made fresh or just pre brought and heated up again. These are great accompaniments for congees (chinese porridge).
There were fish fillets in the congee, but there was really no wow factor in this bowl. I think because it's such a simple dish that it is almost like cooking scrambled eggs. It sounds so easy to do, but a lot of the times people would miss the fundamentals. To me the perfect congee is to cook the rice in water for prolonged periods, the rice would just blend in with the water. There was no way that the bowl of congee had achieved that due to the time constraints. It was definitely pre cooked and fish fillets added just before it was served. I guess that is what you would get when you eat congee outside of home.
Tasty Seafood Laksa
The seafood laksa was worth a mention. It just looked amazing and full bodied. The bowl had a lot of seafood. The soup base was full of aromatic flavours. I think it was the only dish I enjoyed on the day.
If you feel like quick Chinese Malaysian food and don't mind the service, then give this place a go.