When I first asked if they wanted to be interviewed for my programme on radio, the lady boss of First Thai said “We don’t need Interview.” The phone hung up in the manner of seconds, and it took me a while to recover from that. Wah, so proud I thought?

It is not hard to imagine why. The little coffee-shop-like restaurant is perpetually packed. They don’t need any more publicity from me! Opening hours are short. Reservations cannot be taken. It is closed on alternate Mondays. There are always queues in the evenings and weekends. So you better be there early!

The last time I was there 6 plus in the evening, I met Xiao Ming (from Radio1003) helping to serve (and he was the one who strongly recommended me First Thai). But sorry no special privileges, and my friends still needed to wait about 50 minutes for a table. Some dishes were sold out, some dishes didn’t come.

If you ask around for recommendations of authentic Thai food, First Thai would probably be one of the first places to be mentioned. The décor is very ‘Thai’ – lime green painted walls, lined with plastic pink orange flowers, Chinese paintings with random framed photos of Thai royalties and celebrities (Dd I see a young Keanu Reeves photo somewhere?).

My favourite thing in First Thai is not really any of the food, but a green (!) Bandung which is suitably milky. I always find the pink versions a little too sweet and artificial, and I know I am contradicting myself because green is not any less artificial. Strange I have never seen this during my numerous trips to Thailand.

The mango salad was rather refreshing, and I liked that it came with crunchy peanut and onion silvers.

Xiao Ming also said that the Tom Yum Gong was a MUST TRY with its big fresh prawns. Expect a bowl full of a variety of ingredients and spices. While the stock seems rather clear, the Tom Yum is really potentially potently spicy. Sweating is guaranteed and do get ready your tissues.

Some may find that some of the Thai food in the malls feels rather refined and adapted to local taste buds. If you wish to have a selection Thai cuisines that tastes more home-cooked and street-like, this is it. Of course, the service is also rather… er… street-like?

First Thai, 23 Purvis Street Tel:+65 6339 3123
Opening Hours: Daily 12–3pm (2.15pm last order), 6–10pm (9.15pm last order); (Sometimes Closed on Mondays)

Other Related Entries
Porn’s (Liang Seah)
Suan Thai Restaurant (Killiney Road)
Thaksin Beef Noodles (Clementi)
Thai Noodle House (Coronation Road)
Flying Chillis (313 @ Somerset)


  1. I first visited First Thai about 6 years ago and became their fans since then. But their food getting pricier and food portion getting smaller. Food quality also dropped and they don’t accept booking so you have to wait for very long. I thought, it’s time to find another alternative. After searching online, i found this restaurant called Jai Thai, at Bishan. Honestly, i prefer Jai Thai. Nicer food, bigger portion but cheaper price, good service and better environment, best of all, they accept booking. 🙂

  2. I think the prices and the general food standard at First Thai are reasonable. I like the stir fried basil chicken and the tom yum. Though I would say that a better albeit pricier option is A-roy Thai at Funan Center.

  3. I had A-Roy Thai a few times, though didn’t bring my camera. Yes, I like the exquisite taste, especially the chilli. But it is very pricey. Was also recommended one Thai place at Shaw.

    So any other Thai food places to recommend?

  4. Awesome review….however the newer reviews at HGW just about did it all to discourage me from giving it a try. FOr other Thai food recs, there is one at Pasir RIs downtown East that comes highly raved about my my Thai addict friends, The Basil Inn. They serve a really mean Steamed seabass with lime sace and very fragrant Goong op woon sen and potent Tomyum talay. Definitely worth making a trip down from wherever you are considering the tom yum and pad thai are only 6 and 5 respectively. Cheers!

  5. I have always enjoyed the food here and decided to take a friend there to have birthday lunch. The quality of food has deteriorated, it's no longer as authentic and ver much sweeter than before. At the payment counter, I gave my frank feedback to the man at the counter. His response is the restaurant can't please everyone. His last comment really irks me. He said if you don't like the food, you don't need to come back here. Arrogant b. You can forget about me coming to this restaurant ever again


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