Very happy to hear good news of small businesses doing well. The yandao brothers, who own Soi Thai in Tampines, open a new Thai restaurant along Jalan Riang, where Rokeby, Wimbly Lu and Cajun Kings are. Thai food is usually an eat-and-go affair in Singapore but Siam Society offers a casual and relaxed vibe and serves beer, great for hanging out after work or for families.
Besides the decor, what differentiates Siam Society from other Thai restaurants is the food. Mr Wong Siaw Seng, the owner, commented, “When Singaporeans go to Thai restaurants, they order the same things. Pandan chicken, for example, but in Thailand, you can hardly find the dish.” I admit I commit the same mistake, I’d order the standard Thai dishes, tom yum, green curry, pad Thai, etc. So I was glad to educate myself and have a chance to eat a different kind of authentic Thai food, and to eat what Thais truly eat.
According to Mr Wong, Thais are masters of deep-frying food, and Thais love pork. It’s little wonder Thais take the German pork knuckle and make it their own. Instead of oven-baked German style, this deep-fried pork knuckle ($35), which was marinated for a full day, had crackling skin, balanced with moist tender meat, without a drop of grease! I could eat the entire thing without feeling jerlat. It came with a compatible sourish-spicy sauce (more sourish than spicy), very shiok. The mark of a good pork knuckle is that it is tender but doesn’t get trapped between teeth–I think Siam Society can save money and not buy any toothpicks. Sorry, MP Lim Swee Say, no toothpicks for you to kapok. Order German or Singha beer to go with the knuckles.
Besides deep-frying, Thais are experts in grilling; Many Thai food are grilled. Legend has it that Weeping Tiger ($24, grilled sirloin) is named because tigers weep when they eat it. I bet it’s because there is so much heat. The beautifully medium rare sirloin, topped with spices, in a superlative spicy sauce could be a nuclear weapon. The heat was slow rising and didn’t hit us at first. But steadily and steathly, it rose from mid throat and burnt to the tongue. SUPER SHIOK! So spicy our cheeks turned rosy, natural makeup. I can’t take spice but I still found it nice. Sliced to the right size to allow a bite, swallow some rice with it.
Disclosure: I’ve a predilection for steamed fish and although there was a struggle to pick my favorite dish among excellent food, the steamed seabass ($32) won in the end . It was cooked just right, retaining a vibrancy. The natural sweetness of the fish peeked out in the strong, bold broth of heat, sourness and saltiness; the broth tasted, to me, like very salty salted vegetable soup with lots of lime and chilli.
The chefs are hired from Thailand, all masters in their own domains: one specially to deep fry, one specially to grill and one to do the rest. The food took a while to come and Mr Wong couldn’t find help so only he and a part-timer waited on tables. The two-week old restaurant needs time to be fully staffed and operational. But the food was fantastic. It was a different kind of authentic Thai food and the extensive menu is worth many visits. We’ll be back soon, hasta la vista, baby.
15 Jalan Riang, Singapore 358987
T: 6286 8603
11.30am-3pm, 5.30-10.30pm daily
Rating: 3.313/5 stars
Thanks, Shao Wei and Siaw Seng, for the invite.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.