– Media Tasting –
Thai food lovers may now rejoice as you can savour some of Bangkok’s famed grilled street food in Singapore without having to buy an air ticket 😉
Nara Thai, voted as one of Thailand’s best restaurants since 2007, has recently rolled out a new menu with the addition of 15 street food favourites like Neam Moo (Barbecued Fermented Sour Pork Sausage), Pla Kra Pong Yang (Street-Style Grilled Whole Sea Bass with Thai Herbs), Kung Yang (Barbecued Black Pepper Tiger Prawns), Lod Chong (Chendol Agar and Atap Seed with Coconut Milk) and more.
For those who had been here before, you would already know Nara Thai isn’t just another regular Thai restaurant that serves up classics of tom yum soups, green curries or pad thais. Real Thai food is really beyond this list and you would likely to be fascinated by the less common finds you’d see on their menu.
I was invited to a media tasting (hosted by The Entertainer App & Nara Thai) last week to try out some of these new dishes.
The Kai Jiew Cha Om (Cha Om Omelette, S$12.90) was a humble-looking, home-style omelette which I thought was quite tasty when paired with the given chilli sauce dip. Cha Om a.k.a. acacia shoot is a well-loved vegetable that’s regularly consumed by the Thais. While I didn’t think the Cha Om had any special taste or flavour to it, I did like the slight crunch when I bit into it so it gave dimension to an otherwise, flat and unexciting plain omelette.
The Moo Yang Jim Jaew (Barbecued Pork Neck with Tamarind Dip, S$13.90) was one of my favourite dishes of the evening. The pork neck is a favoured cut of the Thais because it has a 50:50 fat-meat ratio. This pork neck had a lovely smoky flavour on the outside and tasted really intoxicating because unlike pork belly where the fat could be greasy and cloyingly rich, the pork neck fat tasted somewhat firm, crunchy and slightly chewy. If you’ve tried the Tontoro Pork from Tori Q before, it’s the same cut I’m talking about.
The Gai Tord Gra Tiem (Crispy Fried Chicken with Garlic, S$10.90) came with a generous topping of finely chopped Thai garlic that was fried to a crisp and crunch. Piquant and not overly pungent, the garlic was definitely the star of the dish because it imparted a deep aroma to the fried chicken. Might be a little too greasy for some but this was highly addictive!
This behemoth was a gorgeous sight to behold! The Ruam Mit Talay Yang (Assorted Grilled Seafood Platter, S$88.90) would be perfect for diners who would like to sample all of their grilled seafood at one go. Good for 2-3 persons (or more for smaller eaters), this platter included grilled squid, skewered scallops, mussels with chilli lime marinate, barbecued black pepper tiger prawns and a huge grilled sea bass with Thai herbs. Of all, I liked the sea bass the most because it was so meaty, moist & fresh and didn’t taste fishy at all. The fish meat was also nicely infused with the flavours of lemongrass, kaffir lime and galangal and tasted really appetising. I wished the skin could be a little more charred and crispy though. Do not miss out on the greenish-coloured sauce that’s made with coriander, lemongrass, fish sauce, galangal, kaffir lime and Thai palm sugar – it’s a perfect accompaniment with the seafood and it really whets your appetite!
How can we enjoy all that delectable Thai dishes without having rice? The beautiful blue colour of the Kao An Chan (Blue Jasmine Rice, S$2 per bowl) came from the blue pea flower which actually did nothing to enhance the flavour of the rice in any way. It was really just for colour or aesthetic effect but the rice itself was nicely done and fluffy.
The Ma Muang Khara Mel (Caramelised Mango with Coconut Ice Cream & Basil Sauce, S$7.90) was an interesting dessert which I had never tried before anywhere else. The mango had a crispy caramelised top just like a creme brulee that somewhat deepened the sweetness of the fruit. But as the mango wasn’t fully ripe and soft, it was quite hard to scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Perhaps it would be better if the flesh was scored into cubes for easy removal. The coconut ice cream was rich in coconut milk aroma, creamy, smooth yet not saccharine sweet. The basil sauce was good on its own as it had the fragrance of chopped basil leaves which could be a little overpowering but I loved it. Normally I would associate basil with savoury dishes only so I didn’t get used to that flavour on a sweet dish. If the sauce was served separately, it would have been perfect.
Overall, I was impressed with Nara Thai’s new offerings that were all honest food that epitomised the down-to-earth essence of Thai street food cuisine. What I really liked about these mouth-watering dishes was that they still retained that authenticity of Thai cooking by using ingredients from Thailand (eg. cha om & Thai garlic) and having assorted dipping sauces made with different herbs & spices for most if not all of the dishes. All of these could be enjoyed in the comfort of an air-conditioned restaurant in Singapore. 🙂
Enjoy one complimentary Main Menu Item when a Main Menu Item of equal or greater value is purchased at Nara Thai when you redeem this offer on The Entertainer App that gives you unbeatable value and savings with an array of Buy One Get One Free deals for Singapore’s hottest restaurants, bars, spas, activities, attractions and more. Do note however the seafood platter that was featured above in my review is not valid for this 1-for-1 offer.
Nara Thai Cuisine @ ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn #B3-21
Tel: +65 6634 5787
Opening hours: 11.30am to 10.00pm daily
Nara Thai Cuisine @ Westgate
3 Gateway Drive #03-07
Tel: +65 6710 5867
Opening hours: 11.30am to 10.00pm daily
The Entertainer Singapore App
From cafés to fancy restaurants and upmarket bars, the Entertainer Singapore got it all covered. Expect buy one get one free offers at popular joints like Bacchanalia, Brewerkz, Hard Rock Café, Fat Cow, Ben & Jerry’s and more. You can also enjoy spa deals at Aramsa Spa and Spa Rael, work out at True Fitness or book an indulgent getaway with hotel deals from Banyan Tree, InterContinental and Marriott in destinations like Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia, Dubai and Cape Town. Yes, it’s one-for-one deals at hotels as well so you’ll essentially be staying two nights for the price of one, 4 nights for the price of two and so on.
The Entertainer Singapore app retails at SG$75 but you can get it before the end of December at an early bird price of SG$60. It is available for purchase on their website (www.theentertainerasia.com) or via your app store. Alternatively, you may prefer the Entertainer Singapore book (SG$75) which contains the same vouchers in paper format. Receive a 10% discount if you use the promo code 2015ALVIN when you buy the app or book on the Entertainer’s website.
PS: Thank you Alvin, Jeanne and Janice for the invite and hospitality.