PETALING JAYA, Aug 13 — The last time we featured Isan-born chef Piyanat Yowabut, known affectionately as Chef Gugs, he was running Homm Homm The Project, which delivered home-cooked Thai food right to people’s doorsteps.

Two years on, he’s flipped it into a one-man-show supper club titled Homm House No. 8, keeping the Homm name (he explains that in Thai, it refers to both an appetising fragrance as well as his mother’s name) and combining it with his house number, which is where he runs the supper club out of.

The food is still nothing less than remarkable, and still represents an incredibly eye-opening journey into the rich and exceptionally complex gastronomy of our northern neighbour.

Now, you get the unique opportunity to dine in the man’s home, giving you an insight into who he is.

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The dining room, all set for dinner.
The dining room, all set for dinner.

The walls of the dining area are adorned with pictures, some of the chef himself.

Eagle-eyed diners may even spot one with the proprietors of Frame Thai, a renowned Thai restaurant/grocer located in Happy Mansion nearby.

The key feature of what makes his food so compelling prevails: Each dish tastes like a trip through the sights, smells and tastes of Thailand, more so than most other Thai restaurants in town.

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One dish takes you to the side of the street, sitting on a plastic stool next to the bustling traffic, and the next, a quiet rural spot surrounded by paddy fields, all while you’re sat in the middle of his dining area.

Whatever corporeal form you inhabit may be in Section 17, but your mind and soul are a thousand miles away having the time of your life.

Pictures all over the walls in the dining area tell parts of his story.
Pictures all over the walls in the dining area tell parts of his story.

Small bites and starters (from left): 'Mue ying namliap', 'Mieng mangkhoot' and sour mango topped with chili jam.
Small bites and starters (from left): 'Mue ying namliap', 'Mieng mangkhoot' and sour mango topped with chili jam.

The deliciously fatty, crispy and smoky grilled pork belly (left). It doesn’t look like much, but the 'Kao kayam bpuu' is a small bowl of rice that packs a flavourful punch (right).
The deliciously fatty, crispy and smoky grilled pork belly (left). It doesn’t look like much, but the 'Kao kayam bpuu' is a small bowl of rice that packs a flavourful punch (right).

A little bit of sour mango with chilli jam is a sweet, savoury and tart way to tickle the palate as you head into the starters.

Mieng mangkhoot is a small, sweet mangosteen topped with belimbing, a little piece of sour starfruit, and a mieng sauce consisting of dried prawns, peanuts and tamarind.

A perfectly composed bite, Mue ying namliap is a chunk of crispy, fatty and smoky pork belly, grilled with Chinese black olives for a funky and savoury touch.

Rounding out the starters is Kao kayam bpuu, a bowl of rice seasoned with crab meat, fish sauce, lime juice, birds-eye chilli and galangal, served with a fritter of sorts that’s done in the style of a Thai crispy omelette and topped with a fish sauce-cured egg yolk.

It strikes a delicate balance between spicy, savoury and acidic, and is incredibly fresh on the palate for a bowl of rice.

'Pla gung bai liang': if all salads tasted like this, I’d eat nothing but salad every day.
'Pla gung bai liang': if all salads tasted like this, I’d eat nothing but salad every day.

This point in the meal is an intermission of sorts for this whirlwind tour of the senses, as the dishes move away from small bites and starters to sharing-style family plates served with rice.

Pla gung bai liang is a salad of prawns, cured in the juice of calamansi limes, tossed with Melinjo leaves charred in prawn oil, and is truly unlike anything I’ve ever eaten.

Lon naem is a similarly fascinating dish. The eponymous naem is a type of Thai cured pork sausage, and here it is simmered in coconut cream, served alongside an assortment of dipping vessels: Deep fried smoked fish, and an ulam-like presentation of raw vegetables and fruits including but not limited to cucumber, jambu air and okra.

Khua kling is a fiery plate of stir-fried prawns in yellow curry paste, with a heat that shoots up the insides of your mouth and leaves you in a spice-induced daze.

All this heat leaves something sweet, sticky and rich to be desired and the Mue houng duly steps up.

A mountain of deep fried smoked fish and leaves to dip into the 'Lon naem' (left). The full family spread of dishes (right).
A mountain of deep fried smoked fish and leaves to dip into the 'Lon naem' (left). The full family spread of dishes (right).

Described as Hokkien-style braised pork belly from Phuket, the dish resembles hong bak in its dark, glossy appearance, but is far sweeter and is the perfect tonic for the intense heat of the Khua kling.

Desserts arrived when we were just about ready to roll off our chairs, wholly and comprehensively delighted with the rest of the meal.

Dainty little "cupcakes” resembling apom and topped with Thai kaya and slices of longan were the perfect way to cap off the meal, alongside a refreshing mangosteen sorbet.

Chef Gugs rotates a seasonal menu every few months throughout the year: Currently, version 8 will continue to be served until the end of August.

He hosts dinners five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday at 7pm each day, by bookings only.

Parties can vary from a minimum of 2-4 to a maximum of 8-10, and it is RM160 per person.

Just desserts: Thai 'kaya cupcakes' that look and taste like crisp 'apom' and mangosteen sorbet.
Just desserts: Thai 'kaya cupcakes' that look and taste like crisp 'apom' and mangosteen sorbet.

Booking inquiries can be directed to the Homm House Instagram account or Chef Gugs on Whatsapp, both included below.

Homm House No.8

Section 17, Petaling Jaya

https://www.instagram.com/homm_houses_n8/

Whatsapp: +60 16-789 5602

* Follow us on Instagram @eatdrinkmm for more food gems.