Food Travels In SG (Part 3): Thai

Tantalise your taste buds with the fresh and spicy fare served up at these Thai restaurants on our isle.

By Chris Ong        19 December 2021

Why is traditional Thai cuisine a top favourite in Singapore? It checks all the boxes for sweet, spicy and sour – sometimes, all within the same dish – at the just-right levels, suitable for most palates of the foodies here.

Another plus point? You don’t have to pop over to Thailand to get your hands on the country’s authentic grub.

Aromatic, complex and fresh are the hallmarks of great Thai food, which is exactly the kind of fare dished out at these 4 dining hotspots listed here, in the 3rd instalment of our series on global eats to find on our Little Red Dot.

(And, if you want to go Korean and Mexican, click here and here, respectively, for where to get your fill. Plus, look out for the final part in the series, where we put the spotlight on Singapore-based restaurants offering oiishi Japanese cuisine!)

1. ahan Thai by XJG

Though it is a new entrant to the F&B biz here (it only opened in April 2021), it’s already got some glowing testimonials from diners.

“Very authentic Thai food” says one. “Food portion sizes are super generous!” goes another. And, the best yet, “The closest you’ll get to Bangkok-standard Thai food in Singapore.”

Which means, you really need to go try the dishes of this modern, minimalist resto, stat.

Aroi Mak Mak!

According to some reviews, these are the stars of the menu to make you exclaim “very, very, delicious!”, or as they say in the Thai language, “Aroi mak mak!

The Fried Garlic Pork (Moo Tawd Gratiem; $15); Spicy & Sour “Tom Yum” Seafood Soup (Tom Yum Thalay; $16); and the Thai Suki Pork Glass Noodle that’s part of its daily lunch set ($13.80) that comes with a side dish of either Grilled Pork Skewer or Stuffed Chicken Wing, and a dessert of either Tapioca with Coconut Milk or Mango Sticky Rice.

Other interesting dishes that caught our interest: Grilled “Waterfall” Pork Collar (Kor Moo Yang Nam Tok; $15); Salt-Crust Baked Roasted Duck Red Curry (Gaeng Phed Ped Yang; $18); and Curried Custard “Otah” with Seafood (Ho Mok Thalay; $20). All with a little fire, in them of course.

And, if you’re in a bit of a celebratory mood, there’s also Cognac, whisky and wine, served by the glass or bottle (from $45 and up).

371 Beach Road, City Gate Mall, #01-29/30, 199597, https://ahanthai-xjg.business.site; www.facebook.com/ahanThai.XJG; www.instagram.com/ahanthai.xjg

BONUS: SAFRA members enjoy $10 off a minimum spend of $50 at ahan Thai by XJG. Click here for more information.

2. Time for Thai

Not all restaurants that serve authentic Thai food are halal-certified (partly, because pork does feature widely in Thai cuisine) – this one is. Plus, its two outlets open till late (but, do check ahead with them for the exact timings, given the current dining restrictions).

So, if you want to jio your mates for supper time (for Thai), head to either the Cheong Chin Nam Road outlet (near Beauty World Centre and Beauty World Plaza) or Simpang Bedok outlet to chow down.

Aroi Mak Mak!

Let’s go with some of its own recommended dishes. All of its salads – Mango, Papaya and Seafood (from $5.90) – get the thumbs up and are spicy to boot. Carbo load on either the Shrimp Paste Fried Rice ($6.90), or Beef Noodles with Tendons ($9.90), both flavour-packed.

Bring on more heat with any of its Tom Yum soups – choose either clear or red, normal or large (from $9.90 and up). Kick the spice-factor up a notch with the meats and vegetables: Stir Fry Basil Chicken ($6.90), Steamed Sea Bass with Spicy Lemon Sauce ($24.90) and Sambal Kang Kong ($6.90) are the kickers.

Finally, cool down with some Thai Fresh Coconut ($5), Thai Iced Green Tea with Gula Melaka ($3.50) or Iced Nom Yen ($3) that’s kinda like a Thai-version of bandung. Then head home, straight into a food coma.

15 Cheong Chin Nam Road, 599739; and Simpang Bedok, 282 Bedok Road, 469438, www.timeforthai.com.sg; www.facebook.com/timeforthaisg; www.instagram.com/timeforthaisg

3. Took Lae Dee

Nothing attracts and unites us foodie peeps in Singapore than “cheap and good”, which is what this restaurant’s name translates to from Thai.

There’s substance behind the clickbait-y name. It’s supposedly Bangkok’s oldest (its tagline does say “Serving Thailand Since 1972”) and super famous 24/7 restaurant chain with multiple outlets found across its home country. Unfortunately, there’s only one in Singapore (it’s the first outside of Thailand, which opened in 2018) and it does not operate around the clock.

But, yes – to answer everyone’s topmost FAQ – the dishes here are indeed tasty and wallet-friendly. You win some, you lose some.

Aroi Mak Mak!

While you may have come for the low prices and the name, you will stay (and return) for the meals.

It’s all about comfort food here, so keeping your choices safe and familiar is all good.

For rice, pick the Minced Chicken or Pork with Chilli and Basil Leaves (Khao Pad Krapow; $6) and Green Curry Fried Rice with Chicken or Pork (Khao Pad Keaw Wan; $6.80). For noodles, the traditional soupy Boat Noodle with Chicken or Pork (Kway Tiaw Reua; $6) with options of a plain Noodle, Kway Tiaw or Glass Noodle is a favourite.

For sharing: the Fried Fish with Green Thai Chilli and Sweet & Sour Sauces and Papaya Salad (Pla Tot; $21.80). For sides: Pandan Chicken (Kai Bai Thei; $6.80) and Thai Fish Cake (Tot Maan Pla; $4.80).

Drinks-wise, pick the Iced Butterfly Pea Tea (Naam An Chan; $2.80) or Thai Grass Jelly Tea (Cha Chao Kuey; $3.50). And, for a sweet finale, the Red Ruby with Coconut Ice Cream (Tap Tim Krop Itim Gati; $3.80).

18 Tai Seng Street, 18 Tai Seng building, #01-34/35/K9, 539775, www.facebook.com/TLDSingapore; www.instagram.com/tooklaedeesg

4. Tamarind Hill Singapore

Want to splash out for some fine dining? Then this is your top pick.

Imagine savouring the finest heirloom recipes of Thai chefs and sipping on House-infused gins or cocktails, while ensconced in a historic colonial bungalow, within the lush surrounds of Labrador Nature Reserve.

That dream-scene would be set in Tamarind Hill, a Thai fine dining haven with its rustic-luxe furnishings and the modern-meets-traditional, Thai and Burmese Shan epicurean delights of the experienced Executive Chef Wanthana Nikonsaen. Save this for swoon-some dates and special occasions with your sweetheart.

Aroi Mak Mak!

Not being evil, but we will leave you to enquire with the restaurant about your dinner options (what’s love without a little effort and mystery?). However, we will clue you in on what could await you by presenting some choice picks off its delivery menu (click here to order).

Here’s your gourmet world of possibilities. There are the recent additions: traditional pickled leaf-wrapped snacks called Mieng Kham (or Miang Kham; $20), and Barbeque stingray with tamarind relish ($38).

Then, there are the hearty faves like Red Tom Yum with tiger prawns, seabass and squid soup ($34); Massaman Beef Curry with roasted potatoes and cucumber relish ($34); and Climbing Wattle Omelette with stewed pork belly, egg with caramelised palm sugar, cinnamon star anise and galangal ($22).

If you prefer the company-of-just-you at the resto, then try its Work from Tamarind Hill package (from $55++ per person on weekdays) or the Friday-exclusive Friday Thai Thali Banana Leaf Lunch (enquire for price).

Or, opt for its Afternoon Tea ($35++ per person) when you are in the mood for a tête-à-tête. Curated and presented, are savouries such as Smoked Duck Fresh Roll and Prawn and Lemongrass Salad, and sweet delectables like Young Coconut Jelly and Mango Sticky Rice, for you and your social date’s peckish pickings.

30 Labrador Villa Road, 119189, www.samadhiretreats.com/tamarind-hill-singapore.htmlwww.facebook.com/TamarindHillSG; www.instagram.com/tamarindhill.sg