NOTE: Rochor Thai has moved to Novena Regency.
Previously located at Rochor Centre building, Rochor Thai serves food without MSG. Pastes and sauces are made from scratch. Rochor Thai is one of the few restaurants in Singapore to have an experienced Thai chef. Chef Padungpong Chuthongchai graduated from Dusit Thani College in Western-Thai Cuisine, and has worked at 5-star hotels such as Dusit Thani and Amari Orchid.
All four of us had different favorites that night. Mine was pla krapong neung ma nao ($24.80), an extremely fresh, wild seabass that was steamed lightly and had a juicy, sweet, bouncy flesh. The limey-refreshing sauce with just a tinge of heat complemented and did not overpower the delicate sweetness of the fish.
Ms Atas’s favorite, and my second favorite, was Rochor Thai’s speciality, hoey pad prik pao ($14.80 Small portion shown above, $22.80 L). The flower clams, flambeed in wok, were stir-fried with chilli jam and chef’s homemade stock, giving it a sweetness before a slight spicy and pleasantly pungent aftertaste set in.
Huccalily’s favorite, and Ms Atas’s second favorite, was the Thai classic, tomyum talay ($8.80 S, $15.80 L). The tomyum broth was fiery and 14K sweated on first sip. It had a kick like Solange, but mellowed into a seafood sweetness. I couldn’t take spice but still found it shiok.
The kalam pad nam pla ($8.80 S, $11.80 L, above), stir-fried cabbage with fish sauce, was liked by all: a simple dish, it was flavorful and crunchy with a hint of sweetness.
So it seemed like the fish, the clams, the tomyam, and cabbage were winners that night.
14K’s favorite, gaeng som goong sod ($16.80), was a dish served only during festive seasons. Acacia omelette was topped with poached sea prawns in orange curry: it tasted like a tomato-y tom yam. Some of us, who were dictators in our past lives, overruled his preference because we prefer our omelette dry.
The pad thai talay (seafood, $7.80 S $14.80 L, pictured above) was okay. At first, we didn’t quite like the gaeng kaew wan gai ($11.80 S $16.80L) as the too milky green curry didn’t seep into the chicken. When we let it sit and returned to it, the chicken now had the flavor of green curry, and the curry itself had thinned, making it more palatable.
Only 14K enjoyed the tub tim grob ($4.80); the rest thought the red ruby, though crunchy, didn’t go well with the coconut milk. If you’re sharing, go for khao niew ma muang ($7.80). As it was the mango season, the sweet mango evaporated in the mouth. And the slightly hard rice, doused in coconut, had a wonderful bite and a beautiful balance.
A good mix of Thai food that Singaporeans like, and dishes that are less known to us, Rochor Thai does not disappoint. Worth visiting if you stay in the East.
340 Joo Chiat Rd Singapore 427592
T: 6440 3270
M-Th: 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.45-9.45pm; F & Sat: 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm; Sun, PH eve & Ph: 11.30am-9.45pm
Closed every 2nd and 4th Monday of the month.
Rating: 3.267/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
ps: Thanks, Joel and Kenny, for the hospitality.