[Updated Sep 2015] Rochor Thai has moved from Joo Chiat to Thomson Road opposite Novena Church. (Read about Rochor Thai Novena here.)
[Original Entry] We should be careful to use the word “authentic” to describe Thai dishes. When a friend described that a Thai-cuisine chain restaurant as “authentic”, I went “seriously”? You see, we never know. So many Thai restaurants in Singapore have modernized and muted their recipes to suit our local palates.
Rochor Thai aims to be as authentic as what you can get in Central Thailand, plus they are going for a strictly MSG-free policy in their dishes.
If you think you are going for a spicy time at Rochor, do not go to the wrong place. The Thai bistro is now located at Joo Chiat after a two months stint at Rochor Centre. Ah, Joo Chiat. With entire rows of conversation shophouses dedicated to Vietnamese cuisine and some seedy places, Rochor Thai may just stand out.
Thumbs up for the Som Tum ($7.80), the Thai appetizer of Green Papaya Salad made Central Thailand style (Central Thai’s food is generally not as spicy as Northern because culturally the rich, royalty and more influential people stays there). Made with shredded unripe papaya, this dish strikes a balance with being sour, spicy, salty, savoury and sweet at the same time, with peanuts and dried shrimps adding an agreeable crunch. Can it be more zesty and spicy? Perhaps.
Whenever I go to a Thai restaurant, I would almost always order the Pad Thai. The Pad Thai Talay ($7.80), the classic stir fried rice noodles with seafood is quite different from other local versions I had. The noodles are thinner, flatter and cooked more al dente than usual, yet cooked in a moist savoury matter. Thoroughly enjoyed Rochor Thai’s take on Pad Thai.
The other recommended dish is the Kor Moo ($12.80), grilled pork neck with an accompaniment of spicy sauce. Rochor Thai’s rendition of the popular street food scores in its tenderness and balanced flavours without being overpowering.
There are some misses in the menu though. The Tom Yum ($8.80) felt slightly one-dimensional and needed that ‘punch’ to provide that additional kick. I also wished for a more ‘seafoody’ flavour. Perhaps it is because the chef insists on making their own stocks, pastes and sauces, and therefore would need some fine-tuning.
Rochor Thai is a humble Thai restaurant that definitely deserves some support, especially for its passion and dedication to using no-MSG in their dishes. Somehow caught in between traditional and modern, I think they can try pushing towards a certain direction, and be bold about it.
275 Thomson Road, Novena Regency #01-03 (Opp Novena Church) Singapore 327645