Nara Thai is an upscale Thai Restaurant that took over Burger King’s spot at the basement of Ion Orchard. Originally founded in Thailand in 2003 by a group of female entrepreneurs, their dishes draw inspirations from authentic recipes that have been reinvented and modernised. Classy and contemporary interior settings, polished and warm service, the dining experience at Nara Thai definitely leaves a lasting impression and a trail of dust for its competitors to pick up. Pandan Chicken: I have always been obsessed with ordering this dish whenever I’m having Thai food. I think it’s a habit from young I guess. Or maybe it’s just fascinating to unravel the chicken meat from its tightly woven pandan leaf. I am always one to enjoy fried chicken that is seasoned well(marinade goes far beyond the skin) but I thought it would be better if they could retain more moisture. Nobody loves a dry chicken. Green Curry with Chicken: This was the only dish we ordered that was not recommended on their menu. And sad to say, they were right. As a fan of green curry, I was really disappointed. It was too sweet and milky for my liking.Thai Fish Cakes: Glistening under the light, these fish cakes have been given the proper oiling treatment. But ignore the fact that it was deep fried and you will enjoy your meal much better. The fish cakes were a delight. Addictive, tasty and properly spiced, they bore resemblance to our “otah”. Please do not hesitate to use the dipping sauce that comes along. You will not regret it. Stir Fried Soft shall Crab: I vaguely remember having something similar at Thai Express but of course, the only resemblance remains in the taste profile. Otherwise, Nara Thai did it much better. A notch above its competitors. This dish may appear to be just a plate of yellow mess but looks can be deceiving. The highlight of my meal, the soft-shell crab in yellow curry was divine. The lightly battered crab was crunchy and tasty while the yellow curry was rich in flavours and spice, a great companion to a bowl of jasmine white rice. A speciality of the restaurant, the dish was cooked and seasoned perfectly.
It never really occur to me that Thai dishes were generally lacking in aesthetics. Well, not until I started to take a good look of my pictures. (Maybe it is just my mediocre photography skills.) But nonetheless, the Thai cuisine is a reminder to not judge a book by its cover. Beneath their matted appearance are flavours that are wondrously contradictory. Refined yet hearty, traditional yet innovative. Nara Thai maybe more pricey than your usual Thai food joint but it is worth a try, especially for its signature dishes.
2 Orchard Turn
Tel: 6634 5787
Fresh Whole Abalone with Sea Cucumber (Individual Serving): The best thing about eating an entire braised abalone is when your knife slice through the abalone like hot knife through butter. The much-coveted shellfish is braised with perfect fire, timing and seasoning. One of the best whole abalone I’ve ever had. Putting the main ingredient aside, the sea cucumber and dried mushroom are both of high-quality as well. The expensive xiang gu is braised to a tender soft, that you could mistake it for the abalone. Braised Whole Sharksfin with Crabmeat (Individual Claypot): My favourite way of eating sharkskin, the Thai way. Served in a clay pot to keep the soup warm, the bean sprouts and coriander are added specially as garnish to give the soup an extra oomph and flavour. The sharkskin is served in a complete fan shape, giving you a generous and satisfying taste of the cartilage. Live Lobster Salad: I was expecting lobster sashimi like the one I tried at a seafood restaurant at Pioneer. But to our disappointment, we were served pieces of overcooked lobster mixed together with fruit and a weird-looking sauce piped all over it. Hmmm. Baked Whole Crab with Vermicelli: This was the surprise of the menu. The vermicelli or Tang Hoon was delectable and rich with flavour. It had us wanting for second rounds or more. In addition, the crab pincers carried juicy fresh meat within the cracked shells. Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs: Cooked to a perfect tenderness, the meat peels off easily from the bone. The sauce is tangy and yet appetising, rendering this dish not too overwhelming.
If you’re in the mood for abalone and sharks fin, this is the place to try. Not all the dishes in Ramathai may score with you but the most coveted abalone and controversial sharks fin soup would not let you down.
Rama Thai Sharks Fin Restaurant
81 Tanjong Pagar Rd
11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm
The land of smiles have not only been a hot tourist location for Singaporeans but the source of one of our favourite cuisines. Thai Food. From Thai steamboat to typical Phad Thai, our fussy taste buds are in for a treat at this small Thai eatery. Situated far from the bustling Orchard Road at Shaw Towers, Ah Loy Thai still faces long queues on weekend dinner service. So what sets them apart from modernized restaurants like Thai Express and Bangkok Jam. Authenticity. Manned by true Thais(they were conversing with each other in Thai language), the dishes all carry a oomph that is similar to the food they serve in Thailand. Phad Thai: If there is one dish that you must order from every Thai restaurant, it is the Phad Thai dish. Like pizza to the Italians, the Phad Thai is one of the most iconic national dishes of Thailand. Flat and thin rice noodles cooked in a savoury and sweet sauce, coupled with a squeeze of lime, this is my favourite Thai dish. Ah Loy Thai uses the right amount of wok fire and seasoning, rendering an authentic-tasting Phad Thai that is much closer to the country of origin.
Garlic Chicken: This was one of the dishes that were recommended by patrons. The chicken cubes are well-marinated and carries the aroma of fried garlic, whetting our appetite.
Pandan Chicken: The name does not imply chicken meat coated with pandan flavouring but simply fried chicken meat wrapped in pandan leaves. The fragrance of the pandan leaf is infused to the chicken meat during the frying process, resulting in a savoury chicken dish that appeals not only to your taste buds but your nose as well.
Butter Calamari: One can never have enough of fried calamari. The perfect combination of the chewy squid rings on the inside with the fried batter surrounding it is just phenomenal for our palates. The batter is well-seasoned and the flavour not too overwhelming.If I were to continue talking about how great the food taste at Ah Loy Thai, there would be no end to it. Yet, it is naive to say that this eatery is flawless. Patrons would notice that their service is disorganized and unpredictable. Waiting time for dishes does not depend on which table orders first. It seems to me that the kitchen is lacking a system. Chefs are unaware that diners have been waiting for half an hour for their last dish. Protein arrives before the starch dishes. Waiting staff are serving the same dishes twice. Ah Loy Thai just needs to implement a new system in their kitchen, and they will be on their way to greater success.
Ah Loy Thai
100 Beach Road
Mon – Fri: 12:00 – 20:00
Sat – Sun: 13:00 – 19:00
Rumor has it that a Mediacorp artiste ventured out of acting and opened a restaurant in 2011. Yes indeed, Porn’s Sexy Thai Food is founded by none other than the Thai-Chinese actor, Pornsak Prajakwit. Since my trip to Bangkok last year, I’ve been an ardent fan of authentic Thai food, especially the green curry. So not only am I on a quest to satisfy my insatiable cravings, I wanted to find out whether Porn’s is just a popularity restaurant.
Lemongrass Juice: For someone who is trying lemongrass juice for the first time, I found it mildly sweet and yet refreshing. This beverage choice would sure to whet your appetite for the flavourful meal.
Seafood Phad Thai: What’s Thai food without Phad Thai? A common food staple in Thai cuisine, Porn’s Seafood Phad Thai might not blow minds, but it is definitely comfort for the tummy.Chicken Green Curry: I will never forget my first encounter with this dish. Our first night in Bangkok, adults had to settle some baggage matters and we the kids get to order in room service for dinner. I decided to give green curry a try and that first spoonful got me mesmerised. From then on, green curry became my next “phad thai”. Fortunately, the green curry at Porn’s was not disappointing at all. Instead, it is rich, smooth, creamy and full of flavour that excites my palates. In addition, the chicken and brinjal cubes have absorbed the essence of the gravy and are extremely delectable on its own. A must try I would say.
Pandan Chicken: Another common face you can find in the menu of a Thai Restaurant. Boneless chicken meat is marinated, rolled or wrapped in pandan leaves and then fried to a nice and golden brown colour. I didn’t have enough of this dish. The chicken meat was well-seasoned, tasty and fried to perfection.
I love how Pornsak did a word play with his name to create the name of this Thai Restaurant. With such a witty name and delicious food to hold, this restaurant does not need its celebrity status to be successful. I definitely recommend Porn’s and would return again.
Porn’s Sexy Thai Food
28 Liang Seah Street