Established in 2001, Sawadee Thai Cuisine at Tan Quee Lan Street is just a few doors away from the more well-known and perhaps more popular Ah Loy Thai.
I haven’t been to Ah Loy Thai in years but in my memory, it seems that Ah Loy’s food is more dynamite whereas Sawadee uses better quality ingredients. An edge Sawadee has over Ah Loy is that Sawadee allows Chope reservation. In this day and age, ain’t nobody got time to queue.
Many people comment that Sawadee’s food isn’t spicy enough but for us, it is plenty of spicy until we detox-ed on the toilet bowl the next day.
Their signature soup is tom kha gai (Thai coconut chicken soup, $14 small / $22 medium), served in a coconut. But we ordered the tom yum which comes in an earthen pot. You would think the bottom is hot but really, they only put a tealight there, so the furnace bottom is just for show.
For the small portion, it is enough to fill four to five small bowls of soup which is loaded with ingredients or about 4 pieces of prawns and 4 pieces of sutchi(?) fish.
Tastewise, it is adequately spicy and sour—no complaints.
For curries, most of us are more familiar with green curry ($14), but Sawadee’s signature curry is the Gaeng Phed Ped Yang (red curry roast duck $18) which comes with lychee and pineapple.
Even if you don’t like your mains to be sweet, this dish isn’t that sweet. The curry is thick, creamy with coconut milk, and spicy, with just a tinge of sweet aftertaste.
However, there are only a few pieces of duck meat floating sadly. And they don’t seem to interact with the curry.
The pla nueng ma-naw or spicy steamed seabass is what we came here for. While this dish is common in many Thai restaurants, they usually use a cheap fish like tilapia; we wanted seabass.
I saw on Chope’s website that Sawadee’s seabass costs $32 but when we were there, the updated menu states $38. That’s an increase of almost 20%. Wah, big jump. Wish my salary can jump 20% in 1 or 2 years too.
But the fish is good and has met our expectations. Usually when you desire something for so long, it lets you down. But this fish does not. It is very fresh. The spicy and sour sauce is exciting enough.
Besides the delicious food, the service is great. The Thai servers are cheerful and very attentive. They refill water promptly without being asked. And they scoop soup into bowls and cut fish into portions.
When we were there, 4 tables were celebrating their birthdays. With the good food, comfortable setting, and excellent service, it is little wonder why groups of people want to eat here.
We spent $86 for two.
Sawadee Thai Cuisine
9 Tan Quee Lan Street, #01-01, Singapore 188098
11am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm
t: +65 6238 6833
Price / value: 6/10
You may be interested in…
–Baan Ying Original Siam Kitchen, Royal Square @ Novena: 20 Year-Old Thai Restaurant Comes to Singapore
–Som Tam, Orchard Central: Waiter! There is Durian in my Curry!
–Un-Yang-Kor-Dai, Boat Quay: Authentic Northeastern Thai Cuisine with a Side of Philanthropy
–Kra Pow, Far East: Popular Thai Restaurant Moved, Expanded, and Added More Dishes
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.