“NOTICE: We strive to satisfy! If any dishes need any adjustment, please feel free to inform any of us asap. We will make the necessary arrangements. Thank You.”
is a note found on every table in the casual restaurant. For research purposes, the handsome Taiwanese boss, Mr S.S Wong, visited popular Thai eateries in Singapore and found that although the eateries are good, the standards differ from day to day. He understands the inconsistent standards may be because of variables such as absence of chefs or different quality of ingredients. For his own restaurant, he strives for consistency and to please the customers, hence the note on every table.
The consideration and thoughtfulness shown to customers are at a cost to the boss. He enlists the help of 5 kitchen staff, including a Thai head chef, so that food can be cooked and served promptly to the customers. But having so many staff means that he has to pay their salaries, and lessen his profits.
When we were there, we thought Soi Thai was rather like Nakhon Kitchen but rest assured, Soi Thai has tricks up its sleeves. Soi Thai has dishes that other Thai establishments in Singapore rarely have, such as beef panaeng ($10) which uses stewed beef that melts in your mouth. Unlike the usual sweet green or spicy red curry, panaeng is a mild Thai curry that is salty with a tinge of sweetness. Besides having a broader range of food than other Thai eateries, ingredients are bought fresh from a local market daily and they avoid using frozen meat.
Huccalily liked the sea bass with thai chilli sauce 泰式辣味炸鱼 ($22) so much that she almost finished the entire fish by herself, not leaving much for the tardy Chiobu. The fresh fish was deep-fried till the skin was crispy and then, drizzled with a thick tomatoy sweet-spicy sauce. Very appetizing. The meat was moist and tender within, contrasting beautifully with the crisp skin. Well worth the $22!
Huccalily’s and Chiobu’s favorite dish was egg with Thai raddish 菜脯炒蛋 ($6), eggs scrambled with onions and Thai raddish or chai por, the topping for chwee kueh. The pleasing dish was not salty, but sweet.
Although the basil pork ($6) uses minced pork, the dish reminded us of the Philippine dish sisig, minced pork lard on hotplate. Very flavorful but oily.
The uncommon thai yellow ginger chicken ($8) was stir-fried to a tenderness. Strangely, we couldn’t taste any ginger but rather, the sauce tasted more like sambal stingray with cincalok, limey and spicy, appetizing and exciting.
After four fantastic dishes, the stuffed chicken wings ($6), fat with minced meat and hot from the fryer, was not bad but nothing special. The skin was very crispy but perhaps it could be more decisive on whether it wanted to be a sweet (put more mushrooms) or salty (put more salt) dish. Maybe we should have opted for the more popular pandan chicken ($6) and prawn cake ($8).
The last dish, the quintessential Thai dish, thick tom yum soup ($6), was a matter of contention among us three. It is different from the clear tom yum soup in that it looks more like a curry but the liquid itself isn’t thick or viscous. Chiobu opined it lacked a certain something and didn’t have a full taste. I sat on the fence and thought the initial sourness and spiciness that gave way to a salty aftertaste was interesting. Huccalily defended it, loving it that it was so choking it shot up her nose.
The red ruby ($3) wasn’t too bad. Biting the ice cubes and red ruby together was fun and cooling in hot weather but eating an entire bowl can be surfeit and Chiobu said that the coconut needed to be thicker. Out of the two desserts, mango sticky rice ($5) was better. Just a smidgeon of salt to educe the natural sweetness of the rice, which was paired wonderfully with a firm, sourish mango: refreshing.
Value-for-money, the various interesting dishes on the menu that we cannot find anywhere else make sure that we will return to try them all. We live a 20-minutes’ drive from the restaurant and willingly, we will come again. Worth it!
Soi Thai Kitchen
Blk 824 Tampines St 81
T: 6784 2421
Rating: 3.478/5 stars
PS: Thanks SS for the invited tasting.