Sawadee Thai Cuisine – Hidden Gem at Tan Quee Lan Bugis
Part of a food blogger’s ‘job’ is to discover places that are worthy to try, especially if they are not widely marketed and are considered hidden gems. I found one located within Bugis – Sawadee Thai Cuisine at Tan Quee Lan Street.
Sawadee Thai Cuisine is no stranger in Singapore though, having been around for 15 years at a Sembawang location. And its interior and branding have been given a facelift, from a casual low-cost family restaurant to one which is more mid-end. What a difference it makes. It actually looks expensive and intimidating now.
During a visit on a Friday evening, the restaurant is almost empty (actually it is empty because I was the only customer). Not the best location I must say, hidden in between steamboat buffet restaurants, and an area where popular Thai restaurants are aplenty – First Thai, Jai Thai and Yhing Thai at Purvis, Porn’s and Maggie at Liang Seah, and Ah Roy Thai at Shaw Beach Road.
I told myself “Give them a chance lah”, and I am glad I did.
They have some Thai dishes seldom found in other restaurants locally, such as the ‘Mieng Kham’ Betel Leaf Wrap ($12, $18), a traditional street food and rather labour intensive in preparation.
The appetizer consists of betel leaves wrapped with an assorted of 7 condiments such as dried shrimps, roasted peanut and shredded coconut in a savoury dip. Fun, addictive, plus healthy to eat. Add a dash of chilli and it makes an explosion of tastes with spicy, tangy and sweet all in one crunchy mouthful.
Sawadee’s Thai Style Otah ($15) is a must-have, interestingly cooked and presented in a traditional clay plate named “Khanom Krok”. The otah contains bites of solid fish mousse (and not just flour) with hints of coconut milk, herbs and fish sauce.
While most local restaurant’s rendition of Olive Rice can be disappointing, Sawadee’s Khao Phad Nam Liap ($13, $18) with generous ingredients of chicken strips, fried dried shrimp, lime bits and chilli is a flavoursome dish fried fragrantly.
There are more hits than misses dishes wise, only because some of the food has been muted with a more Chinese-subdued flavour to it. The Thai Coconut Soup ($13 for chicken, $15 for prawns), Spicy Steamed Prawns ($18), Fried Fish Maw with Beansprouts ($12) and Mango with Glutinous Rice ($6) are recommended by the boss.
Sawadee Thai Cuisine is a family friendly restaurant with lovely ambience, which definitely deserves more support.
Sawadee Thai Cuisine
9 Tan Quee Lan Street #01-01 Singapore 188098 (opp Bugis MRT) Tel: +65 62386833
Opening Hours: 11am-2:30pm, 6:00pm-10:30pm