KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — Thai food may be available everywhere but some places can be a complete miss. Or a total hit.

Eating at all of them to find the gems will take forever so I usually check out the recommendations of friends. That's how I found Pinto Noodle in Kepong.

This little gem serves up the most unique Thai fish balls.

Most times, fish balls resemble ping pong balls. Not here.

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Instead, they're so tiny, the Thais coined its naughty nickname, as they're better known as "nipple fish balls".

From what I see on the Internet, there's a shop in Chiang Mai that is famous for this type of fish balls.

You have a choice of eating it with Thai noodles or just soup. Since I wanted to sample other items, I got the Nipple Fishball Soup or luhk jinn huo nam for RM12.90.

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Braised Pork Kuey Chup has a light tasting broth paired with tender meat and offal.
Braised Pork Kuey Chup has a light tasting broth paired with tender meat and offal.

The fish balls are served with bean sprouts and vegetables in a clear, sweet broth. The bean sprouts don't look like our usual short ones either, instead they are long and skinny.

On its own, the fish balls have a nice bite and went well with that comforting broth. You get a garlic chilli sauce on the side too.

If you prefer more oomph to the fish balls, dip them into the sauce for a tangy, slightly sweet taste, making it an appetising bite that I couldn't stop eating.

The menu has many temptations like braised pork with noodles, braised pork knuckle with rice and khao soi. You also have one-dish meals for a quick lunch where Thai curries, Thai basil fried with chicken or pork, are paired with rice.

Snack on the Northeast Porkball with the salad and fresh chillies (left). Classic Mango Sticky Rice is the winner here with fluffy, light glutinous rice that is served warm with coconut cream and fresh mango (right).
Snack on the Northeast Porkball with the salad and fresh chillies (left). Classic Mango Sticky Rice is the winner here with fluffy, light glutinous rice that is served warm with coconut cream and fresh mango (right).

I opted for their Braised Pork Kuey Chup or kuey teaw kuey chup (RM14.90).

Here, the broth tends to be lighter with herbs and spices. It's still pleasant to drink, especially with the tender pieces of meat and offal inside the bowl.

I also spied the unusual Northeast Porkball or sai krok isan (RM12.90) on the menu.

These fermented pork sausages are my all-time favourite so I had to order them. They're served piping hot from the grill. Eat it like a snack with cabbage and fiery chillies.

The place offers a pleasant dining experience making it a good stop for lunch.
The place offers a pleasant dining experience making it a good stop for lunch.

I couldn't wait till they cooled down to taste all that juicy goodness.

But the knockout winner was the Classic Mango Sticky Rice or khao niao ma muang (RM12.90)

I usually avoid this dessert since it's too rich for me. Especially after a heavy meal. Moreover, most places tend to serve stodgy sticky rice too.

This version won me over as the texture of their glutinous rice is unbelievably fluffy and light. The difference is also that extra step to warm the rice before serving it, hence it's a nice contrast with the coconut cream and sweet mangoes.

Find the place at the shophouses near the Kepong Baru MRT station.
Find the place at the shophouses near the Kepong Baru MRT station.

I shamefully polished off the whole plate by myself! What was just going to be one bite to taste test it became a full dessert, all because I couldn't get enough of that fluffy rice.

It's actually the only dessert on their menu, which makes sense since no other desserts can possibly hold a candle next to that superb rendition.

This area is accessible via the MRT as I spied the Kepong Baru station next to the shophouses. If you're stuck at home, they also do delivery via GrabFood, FoodPanda and ShopeeFood.

Pinto Noodle, 62A Ground Floor, Jalan Rimbunan Raya, Laman Rimbunan, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur. Open: 10am to 9.30pm. Closed on Monday. Tel: 012-7468 653. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pintonoodle/

* This is an independent review where the writer paid for the meal.

* Follow us on Instagram @eatdrinkmm for more food gems