As the Chinese saying goes, a mountain tolerates not two tigers. At Northpoint Yishun, there exists two Thai restaurants, Sakon Thai and Sanook Kitchen, fighting for the same piece of pie.
They share many similarities.
Both offer affordable Thai food.
Both are chain restaurants. Sakon Thai has another outlet at Tiong Bahru Plaza whereas Sanook Kitchen at Parkway, Bedok, Suntec, and Centrepoint.
Both target families.
Both are halal-certified.
Both names are similar that a dyslexic like me may confuse them.
So the question is: which is better?
Northpoint City South Wing #01-129, 1 Northpoint Drive Singapore 768019
10.30am – 10.30pm
Price / value: 7/10
Decor / Ambience: 5.5/10
Sakon Thai’s schtick makes it attractive. It draws its name from the original Sakon Town located in Northeast of Thailand but strangely the food is inspired by Chiang Mai.
The boss is a regular donor to the Gau Yuak Temple in Chiang Mai . He was impressed by the dishes cooked by the locals for temple visitors and has since brought these special flavours to Singapore in 2008.
Unfortunately, the food is not as “authentic” as they claim. Although the papaya salad ($6.80) is sour enough, there is a weird unpalatable pungency.
The green curry is neither spicy nor creamy. It is water-downed.
The Thai basil chicken is passable, but it could do with more basil and more salt.
Only the tom yum fried rice is good. Flavourful with a nice wok hei. Well balanced of spiciness and sourness without being too heavy on one side.
We paid $44 for two persons.
Northpoint City North Wing, #B1-01, 1 Northpoint Drive Singapore 768019
11am – 10pm
Tel: +65 6555 9112
Price / value: 6.5/10
Decor / ambience: 6.25/10
Despite not being particularly well known, Sanook Kitchen has slowly invaded the island with at least 4 other outlets. Their experience has put them in good stead.
Although the sambal of kangkang is weirdly sweet and not savoury, it remains crunchy.
Although the prawn omelette doesn’t follow the Thai style with filaments fraying at edges, and although it is oily, it is full of shrimps.
The seabass with chilli, lime and garlic is fresh although quite small, perhaps 600g. It could be spicier but the lime is on point. However, the broth comes across as bitter, probably because they put the lime too early and the rind has affected the broth. It should be the last to go in.
Ignore the red ruby, which is one of the worst I have had. Instead of fine shaved ice, it’s hail.
We paid $55 for two persons.
As you can see from the scores, Sanook Kitchen scores higher in most categories although I really wanted to like Sakon, it being the underdog and I root for underdog.
Ambience is really quite important here. Sanook is bright and clean and tables are placed at a good distance to provide a private conversation. Sakon, on the other hand, is dark and not as clean. It’s cramp and patrons don’t have any sense of privacy. As a result, patrons feel more comfortable at Sanook.
In terms of service, Sanook is slighter better. Both servers are about the same but Sanook’s servers are fast and efficient and attentive. We didn’t have to wait for service at Sanook.
Although I wouldn’t claim that both restaurants are authentic, Sanook’s flavours agree better with me.
You may be interested in…
–Chalerm Thai, The Capitol Kempinski Hotel: Classic Thai Food
–Sawadee Thai Cuisine, Bugis: Excellent All-rounder
–Enjoy Eating House & Bar, Kam Leng Hotel, Jalan Besar: A Tze Char and Thai Food Combination
–Go-Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice, Nex: Bangkok’s Michelin Bib Gourmand Chicken Rice is now in Singapore
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.