Kin Cow at Chinatown Point puns on the common Thai phrase, “kin khao,” which means “eat rice.” But here, they are more known for their noodles than rice. Kin Cow serves traditional kuay teow neua (Thai Beef Noodles) using beef imported from US, Japan, and Australia.
The shop is opened by two partners, an ex-journalist and someone who used to help run the E-Sarn Thai restaurant chain, but the traditional recipe is from Mr Ruud and his wife in Bangkok. The Thai couple has 11 Sud Yod Kuay Teow Reua (boat noodles) outlets in Thailand.
When they sat us down, Mr Fitness asked, “Are they new? The shop smells of turpentine.” Yes, they are about 3 weeks old, and yes, the smell was quite unbearable. We moved away to the counter seats, which face the corridor of the mall. This was quite strange because there were no glass panels separating the shop from the mall area, resulting in passersby watching us as we watched them. I guess we need to share our beauty with the world.
We were given the menu but not informed how to order. This is how: You choose your beef part first, and then you choose the type of noodles. You can zng your beef bowl by adding extra beef. You can order dry or soup, but go for the dry, because the dry version has the noodles in a sauce with a bowl of soup, whereas the soup version only comes in soup.
We love the beef here. The Japanese wagyu ($22.90) is the most expensive thing on the menu, so we didn’t order it. The Australian brisket ($10.90, above) is one of the cheapest, and it is very delicious. The chunks are tender and rich. The slow-cooked Australian short rib ($12.90, below) comes in thin slices, a little overcooked, but you can taste the fatness in them (and fat in beef is always delicious). We also added tendon ($3), which is nice.
The beef comes with their hand-made beef balls, so don’t need to add any more balls, unless you like balls. (Then again, who doesn’t like balls?) The balls aren’t as springy as other places, and we like it because it means there is less flour and more meat in them.
As for the noodles, they come in a lardy sauce, aromatic of shallot oil. I bit into a huge piece of what I assumed was ginger, and spat it out immediately; it was lard. I had not see a thumb-sized lard before. The photo above shows HALF a piece of lard, so you can imagine how big it was before I bit it.
At first, the sauce seems to be in need of salt, but as you eat more, it becomes more palatable. Mr Fitness preferred the Thai thin rice noodles because it has the fragrance of rice, adding a dimension to the sauce, whereas I liked the Thai glass noodles because it’s so thin and pellucid that it soaks up the sauce easily, making it very flavorful.
The broth, simmered with beef marrow and chicken bones, is very tasty although after a while, it gets jerlat. It’s more tasty than Vietnamese pho but less herbal than Chinese beef soup. It’s slightly sweet, with a sharp aftertaste of a spice. After a while, we got very thirsty and couldn’t drink the soup anymore.
Speaking about thirsty, I’d prefer that they serve water to all customers. Right now, they only serve to those who request for it. From a business point-of-view, I understand that by withholding water service, they want customers to buy drinks, but serving water on their own initiative adds points to the service.
Perhaps because they didn’t have enough staff that they didn’t want to provide the water service. There were only 2 waitresses (+1 boss) handling the crowd.
We also ordered an appetizer, payaya salad ($9.90), which is also delicious. Quite spicy, and had a wicked tinge of hae bee.
Because we started with the salad, we thought the salad portion was small for the almost $10 pricetag. When the beef came, they were drowning in a gigantic bowl of soup; and that cemented the notion that the portions were indeed small.
Actually, what they could have done is to make the bowls smaller, so that the portions appear adequate, and offer to top up the soup if the soup isn’t enough. But then again, they did not have enough staff, and if they couldn’t even offer water to customers, it’s even harder to handle both water- and soup-pouring.
While there are some areas that require improvements—more service staff, get rid of the smell of turpentine, and portion sizing–the food is spot-on delicious. We were contented and would return. We paid $43 for two persons.
133 New Bridge Road, Chinatown Point #02-34 Singapore 059413
T: +65 6514 9265
T-F 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-10pm, Weekend 11.30am-10pm
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.