It is undeniable that Singaporeans love love love Thai food, as seen from multiple trips to Bangkok, to the proliferation of Thai restaurants in Singapore.
Okay, so what exactly is a “Thai hipster restaurant”?
I came up with this ‘definition’, and so it has to be modern in concept (as opposed to traditional family style), has quirkiness to its décor (eg a tuk tuk somewhere), and dishes with a mix of the must-haves (Tom Yum Goong, Pad Thai, Green Curry) and instagrammable ones such as Shibuya toast.
Shibuya-Thai? The irony.
12 Hipster Modern Thai Restaurants in Singapore (Note: There are probably a lot more around, but I kept the guide to those 1 year in operation or less.)
80 Telok Ayer Street Singapore 048466 (Telok Ayer MRT)
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm Daily, Last Order 9:30pm.
Express Takeaway Lane Opens 8am – 6pm
Cha Thai (not related to Sydney’s Chat Thai) has already established a name with Loaves Me at SMU, being one of the first cafes in Singapore to offer Shibuya brick toast a few years back.
The selection on its menu is wide, offering salads, tom yum soups, curries, rice dishes, desserts and beverages.
I did express my concerns about the presumably high price tag for some of their dishes. ”Phaeng krub?”
That is because quality ingredients are used, sauces and curry bases are made from scratch (no pre-mixes), fresh seafood are sourced from local farmers, and portions are more generous suitable for sharing.
Usually I would order the Green Curry in any given Thai restaurant. At Cha Thai, I just wanted the signature Tiger Prawn Panang Curry ($28).
33 Mackenzie Road, Singapore 228686 (Little India MRT)
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 10:30pm, Closed Sun
Nung Len means “sit around and chill”, opened by a young Chef Fu Qian Li who graduated from London’s Le Cordon Bleu.
She was inspired by contemporary diners in Thailand that regularly serve Thai classics alongside Western signatures, and you might see that being reflected in the menu.
A white tuktuk parked at the entrance (how much did it cost to bring it in?), a brownish woody interior decorated with a wall of painted tuktuk, and NON-air-conditioned space by the side road with the sound of traffic.
Recommended dishes include the Tom Yum Talay (Creamy Tom Yum Seafood Food $15), Kway Tiew Tom Yum Doran (Tom Yum Noodles with Pork $14), Khapow Moo Sab (Thai Basil Minced Pork Rice $12), Gaeng Som Cha Om Goong (Acacia leaf omelette with spicy tamarind prawn soup $15) as well Spaghetti Pad Kee Mao ($17).
Gu Thai Noodle Café
1 Selegie Road, #01-04, PoMo Mall, Singapore 188306 (Dhoby Ghaut, Rochor MRT)
Opening Hours: 11am – 5am (Mon-Sun)
The menu contains Boat Noodles, Tom Yum noodles, tze char styled Thailand Street food, Appetizers and Side dishes.
Recommended dishes include the Boat Noodle that came in 2 sizes, small palm size bowl ($1.90) slurped down within one mouthful (probably I had a bigger mouth) and large bowl shaped like a boat ($6 for pork, $6.80 for beef).
275 Thomson Road, Novena Regency #01-03, Singapore 327645 (Novena MRT, opposite Novena Church)
Tel: +65 6440 3270
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 9:30pm (Mon-Thurs), 11:30 am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 10pm (Fri), 12pm – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 10pm (Sat-Sun)
Rochor Thai started as a small eatery in 2012 in Rochor Centre. Chef owner Joel Ong spent a year in Thailand living with the locals and studying its culinary art, and aims to serve Thai food that “taste, strong-flavoured yet well-balanced.”
He has three Thai Chefs who were previously from 5-star hotels in Thailand working for him.
Some of their signatures include: Grilled Iberico Pork Collar ($19) marinated with a unique blend of herbs, grilled upon order and served with an Issan-style dip; Cabbage in Fish Sauce ($12), a simple cabbage dish is wok fried with fish sauce, garlic and sugar; and Drunkards’ Prawns ($18).
1A Short Street, #01-03, Singapore 188210
Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm (Mon-Sun)
Thai food has brought me to a student hostel at Short Street. Sixty6 is a small outfit – 2 Singaporean owners, a Thai wife, and a Thai chef. Dishes were pleasantly authentic-tasting.
Prices are friendly, like a Pad Thai cost only $6. No GST and service charge.
The recommended dishes were Thai Fish Cakes ($10 for 5 pieces), Som Tam ($8), Yam Woon Sen ($10), Tom Yam Seafood Soup ($15), Green Curry ($14), Panang Curry ($14), Tom Yam Fried Rice ($6), Green Curry Fried Rice ($6), Pad Krapow Special ($16) and Tom Yam Noodle Soup ($6).
1020 East Coast Parkway #01-01 Singapore 449878
Tel: +65 6604 8996
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 5:30pm – 10pm (Mon – Thurs), 11:30am – 10:30pm (Fri-Sun)
“Gin Khao” means ‘eat rice’ in Thai, which is what my Thai friends will say at the start of the meal.
This is also the name of the Thai restaurant located at East Coast Parkway, in a standalone building, and still exudes a certain ‘kampong’ charm. The main drawback: almost need to drive or cab to get here.
Prices are considered wallet-friendly, with dishes priced between $6.80 for the starter of Paw Pia Tod (deep fried prawn spring rolls) to $18.80 for a main of Pla Cod Tod Nam Prik (deep fried black cod with spicy Thai chilli sauce.)
Most of the mains fall between $10.80 and $14.80, making it a suitable restaurant for group gatherings and friends who are watching their budget, yet want a comfortable setting.
Updated: Haha Thai will be relocating from Ngee Ann City
Haha Thai used to be a family-owned Thai restaurant (previously known as Hahaha Seafood Restaurant) at Foch Road which moved to Ngee Ann City.
Seafood dishes at Haha Thai were priced north, so we avoided them (Snow-baked seabass was $49.80) and went along with other recommendations – the Haha Bak Mee ($10.80), Beef Noodle Soup ($10.80), Phad Thai ($10.80), Haha Fried Rice ($11.80 which came in choice of 3 types of flavoured rice), Haha Otah ($8.80) and Boneless Chicken Wings ($12.80).
181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central #08-13 Singapore 238896 (Somerset MRT)
Tel: +65 6238 6872
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3:30pm, 5:30pm to 10pm (Mon-Thurs), 11:30am to 10pm (Fri-Sun)
The restaurant is opened by the same team behind Gin Khao at East Coast Parkway.
A quick flip of its menu would reveal varied offering, some seemed catering to a younger customer base – Deep Fried Wings with Tom Yum Seasoning ($9.80), Not So Complicated Noodles ($9.80, said to be a less messy version of the popular Bangkok dish), Salmon Tataki ($11.80), Tiger Tear Salad ($10.80, ribeye in green and hot sauce), Tom Yum Koong Burger ($13.80), and Som Tam Style Carbonara Pasta ($13.80).
Thai In Town
244P Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574369
Opening Hours: 12pm – 12am (Mon – Sat), 12pm – 10:30pm (Sun)
This off-the-radar modern Thai restaurant at Upper Thomson stole my heart with its Ba Mee Kiao Moo Dang ($6.90). Some people call it the Thai Wanton Mee. It was THE SAUCE.
Other signatures include Pai Thai Kung ($7.90), Chicken Mid-Wings ($5.90), Thai Prawn Sashimi ($10.90), Glass Noodles with Steamed Prawn ($15.90), Seafood Tom Yum Soup ($13.90), and Honey Toast with Ice Cream ($10.90).
413 River Valley Road Singapore 248311 (near Spize)
Tel: 6732 7707
Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm & 6pm – 11pm
Oh, a Thai restaurant along River Valley, a few shops away from the popular supper place Spize.
And it is also Halal.
GREAThai chefs are 3 sisters from Thailand, who will whip up home-styled Thai cuisine such as Thai stuffed Chicken wings ($9.90), Clear Tom Yum Seafood Soup ($10.30), Shrimp Paste Fried Rice ($10.90), Fried Glass Noodle with Black Pepper Prawn ($13.90) and Phat Thai Seafood ($12.90).
Soi Thai Kitchen
58 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555954
Opening Hours: 12pm – 3:00pm, 6pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Probably one of the newest Thai restaurants in Singapore, in the foodie land of Serangoon Garden (opp Chomp Chomp).
Prices are pretty affordable here, plus no service charge or GST.
The rice and noodle dishes are mainly $6 or $10, so you can eat your fill of Pad Thai, Thai Style Vermicelli, Drunken Noodle, Olive Fried Rice and Thai Kway Tiao Soup.
Seafood dishes, vegetable, appetizers, salads, desserts also available, making Soi Thai suitable for the family to come.
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, #02-02, Atrium 2, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018955 (Bayfront MRT)
Directions: Located at MBS Shoppes “Atrium” above the Casino, near Waku Ghin and Imperial Treasure. Take the lift next to the “Hermes” store on the first floor, or from the Casino entrance next to Prada at B1.
Tel: +65 6688 7299
Opening Hours: 6pm – 10pm
“Long Chim” means “come and taste” in Thai, and surprisingly, in fact very surprisingly, the restaurant has opened in the direction of offering affordable unpretentious street food.
What you can expect is “arh-arn-jaan-dtiao” single-plate foods, rather than those suitable for communal dining.
(This guide will continue to be updated. Feel free to make your recommendations.)
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