CLOSED: Sweet Salty Spicy, Rail Mall Singapore

Location, location, location. Nestled in verdure, Sweet Salty Spicy (SSS), a Thai restaurant, is found at Rail Mall, a row of shophouses more like a sleepy town than a shopping centre. You’ll find black cats sleeping on the alfresco chairs in the lazy afternoon sun. Hookerlily said, “The food is surprisingly good and if SSS is located in town, it would be bustling.”

But part of the charm of SSS is the lazy town, al fresco sitting. Can you see the defunct railway in the background? People jogged on the tracks while we feasted.


For appetizers, the tasting platter ($26), serves four, includes miang of prawns and pomelo on betel leaves with tamarind dressing and garlic; crispy rice cakes with chicken and prawn chili dip; soft shell crab with chili jam and lemongrass dressing; and  tofu rice rolls with sweet tamarind dressing. These dishes can be ordered individually and if you do, skip the soft shell crab (not crispy enough). But the other three items are quite divine. The rice rolls are light, subtle and titillating; the pomelo on betel leaf–you roll it in and eat–is sweet, spicy and slightly bitter, very appetizing; and while the crispy rice cake is a calefare, the thick, spicy curry dip hits the spot. As Hookerlily quips, “We like our curries thick, like our men.”

(Note: the photos depict tasting portions.)

When Wise Guy first had a taste of Thai Cuisine by an authentic Thai hawker years ago, his favorite Thai dish was–and still is–deboned, stuffed fried chicken ($3.50), food for lazy people. SSS’s version is indubitably up to the mark. The moist stuffing, spiced with lemongrass, ginger and Thai basil, is contrasted with the oh-so-crispy fat skin.

Rice Dishes

If you’re eating alone, you may want to order the spicy (green) papaya salad ($10/$14) that comes with coconut rice and sweet salty pork. The julienned papaya salad–texturally similar to cucumber–is so-so (sourish, spicy, thus appetizing) but the coconut rice is one of the best we have. Each gleaming grain is discrete, and they give such a strong, fragrant coconut taste. The pork is equally good, deep-fried, crispy and savory.

Individual Dishes

If you’re eating in a group, it’s advisable to order a few dishes to share.

Jungle Curry of scallops and prawns ($12/$17)

Panang curry with Angus beef ($12/$16)

We tasted three curries, including green curry with snapper ($10/$14). They each have something lacking: jungle curry watery, green curry too salty, and panang curry too sweet. If you must order a curry, order the chicken and prawn curry dip ($10) under the appetizers section.

The tumeric-and-lemongrass marinated chicken ($14) may look bland but it is grilled to perfection–very tender and savory. One of the star dishes for the night.

Hookerlily commented that this salted egg yolk squid (not on the menu, ask for it) isn’t salted-eggy enough–which is true–but she proceeded to eat most of it. The reason? The squid is cooked perfectly: it is not too tough and not slimy. It has a bite but isn’t overly chewy. This squid can rival any slow-cooked squid from fancy restaurants.

Never one for bland tofu, even Wise Guy was impressed by this deep-fried tofu ($18) with a layer of fresh crab, coriander and minced pork. The exterior is so crispy while the tofu is silky and the meats add depth to the dish.


Leave stomach space for the mango sticky rice ($9), which has one of the best sticky rice–moist and sweet–we have had.

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by the high standards of the food. Both Hookerlily and Wise Guy travelled a bit to reach SSS but we felt the trip worthwhile. As the saying goes, sweet salty spicy and all things nice!

Sweet Salty Spicy Singapore

392/ 394 Upper Bukit Timah Road
The Rail Mall
Singapore 678046
T: 6877 2544

Lunch: 11am-2pm
Dinner: 6-10pm
Cakes, tea and pastries: 11am-10pm
Sat, Sun, PH:
Lunch: 11am-4pm
Dinner: 6-10pm
Cakes, tea and pastries: 11am-10pm

Rating: 3.701/5 all things nice 

ps: Thank you, SSS, for the invited tasting.

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