Alright, I confess I am not a Thai cuisine enthusiast, but somehow, all of sudden, I’m patronising two different Thai restaurants over a span of two weekends, and I wasn’t even a regular restaurant goer in the first place!
Dad was grumbling, “Thai again?” Ahem.. let me remind him, it was his wife (well, ok, my mum!) who called for a Thai fanfare last weekend when we could have savoured others. And I certainly had to utilise these Thai Express vouchers in my possession before expiring end Feb.
To begin with, we were the first customers stepping into their JCube franchise a little after 11.30am, attending to us was this plump expressionless mainland waitress who looked disinterested. I courteously asked with a smile to be seated at the inner seats of the restaurant, but she declined without giving a reason! To be fair, at that point of time, she had not yet been informed of my intention to pay via vouchers, so it’s not that she behave ignorant due to that. Being a reasonable Singapore citizen, I didn’t want to kick up a big fuss over this, but really, the very least she could do, was to bring up a smile, and that’s really a bare minimum I’m asking for of any waitress, regardless of nationality. Erm, at least the other waitress was showing a little more enthusiasm.
I quickly settled for one of their set meal on offer, the Sa-nook Seafood in Jade Green Curry. This set meal comprised of Kaeng Khiew Wan Talay (Seafood in Jade Green Curry), Tou Hoo Tod (Fried Tofu with Crushed Peanut Sauce served with Thai Hom Mali Rice), and supposingly, Som Tam Krob (Thai Crispy Papaya Salad). I was enticed by the picture of their seafood soup from their menu, nevermind I found the Tofu too plain for a main course. However, after I placed order, the waitress came back and informed me they didn’t have papaya salad, could I do with mango salad instead? Quite frankly, I didn’t care, I won’t eat it anyway, I hate mango & papaya! 😛
The kitchen took very long to cook (we were the first patrons afterall), so long that the old folks took turn for toilet break (on another level of the shopping mall) and we even had time for a little chat before the food was served. But I ain’t complaining, I’d rather they took effort to prepare my meal rather than half-hearted attempt by simply pre-cooked and stuff it inside microwave.
Once my order appeared on my table, I could smell the fragrance (from the soup apparently), everything except the soup looked appealing! Oh, I’m not saying the soup was bad, but the picture on their menu looked more impressive. And let’s begin with it! The soup comprised of prawn (just 1), squids, fish, lemongrass, and some green soaked inside the rich coconut curry. It wasn’t spicy at all, but seriously, the ingredients alone was more presentable than what we had from Absolute Thai (AT), not to mention this whole set meal cost cheaper than a bowl of soup from AT.
I didn’t touch the salad, but I reckoned it looked appetising. I found nothing special about the Tofu, the accompanied sauce was a little mild for my taste bud.
Mum didn’t order this, I did. She had wanted the set meal with roast chicken, and left for the wash room before the waitress could take her order. Upon learning that they didn’t have the chicken, I switched to this, thinking that she could have my Tofu meal instead if she didn’t like this one. However, what a masterstroke this turned out to be!
Comprising Pla Makram (Tamarind Fish served with Thai Hom Mali Rice), Tom Yum Hed Nam Daeng (Red Tom Yum Straw Mushroom Soup), and supposingly, Som Tam Krob, which was replaced by a mango salad as well, the Sa-nook Tamarind Fish meal was sensational! Mum couldn’t stop praising the Tom Yum soup, in comparison with what we had a week ago from AT. I took the chance to chide her that it was her who insisted for the clear broth in the first place at AT. Seriously, if you are not prepared for spicy food, better not thinking of stepping into a Thai restaurant in the first place. I stole a spoonful of soup from her, and the taste was sophisticatedly tantalising. It has the right amount of sourness and spiciness, along with the onions, straw mushrooms, squid, fish etc, and together with the tamarind rice and salad, overall it was pretty enjoyable. Mum even found the appetite to finish almost all of my salad as well!
Dad didn’t want a set meal, he opted for the Khao Kluk Kapi Talay (Fried Shrimp Paste Rice with Seafood). I tried the rice, can’t say I love it. In my opinion, the shrimp should be minced, and that every rice should be wrapped with egg coating, and then of course, with pork floss and pineapple. That’s my understanding of a nice Thai fried rice.
Anyway, we left Thai Express with so much satisfaction than we had at AT, if we could have a better waitress, our experience could be so much merrier.
On 20 Feb, I revisited Thai Express, this time, with my friend at their Raffles City outlet. I had intended to try their roast chicken set meal, which is a good bargain, but somehow, Raffles City’s Thai Express carries none of those set meal promotion here.
Instead, I ordered their Pineapple Fried Rice (Khao Phat Supparod Talay). Having mentioned this previously, I feel obliged to elaborate, I probably was wrong to relate their Khao Kluk Kapi Talay with pineapple fried rice. It certainly wasn’t the right heir to one of Thailand’s most notable dish (I confess I didn’t look into their menu in detail). This one here is.
With the ingredients of coriander leaves, prawns, fried fish, squid, raisins, and egg, this fried rice did look interesting. But personally, I would have preferred the pork floss, pineapple fragments, and cashew nuts to be blended together as well. Putting them aside might have enhanced its outlook a little bit, but I’m sure they could have decorated the plate with something else. Nevertheless, I’m not taking the spark away from this wonderful dish, with the rice not too oily, and portion not exaggerating, one can almost feel the seafood in every bite. Promotion or not, this has got to be one of their star dishes, and I struggle to understand why this was not listed as one of their popular dishes.