As a fellow Singaporean, you yourself or you’ve heard about traveling to Thailand during the weekend just to shop and eat. When you’re walking on the streets of Thailand, you’ve seen, smelled and tasted the food that came from the hands of civilian chefs who are sweating their life away behind smokes and fires. Sitting by the roadsides or in grimy back alley and getting your hands dirty and mouth busy with their food brings a sense a belonging to you, even though obviously you’re a tourist.
Back in the comfort of Singapore, your palettes are dying to get a taste of Thailand’s street food again, so you can take a trip back down the memory lane and imagine yourself back in the land of smiles.
Now you can at Nara Thai restaurant, located in the basement of Orchard ION. Even better: you can do it in the comfort of an comfortable air-conditioned environment with food that are whipped up by chefs especially from Thailand. This hyped restaurant started off in Thailand and was so celebrated that the brand is ranked among the top of Thailand’s restaurants. With two outlets opened (another outlet located at West Gate), your back-to-Thailand adventure just got realized. The 2,000 sq ft restaurant boast a massive capacity of 112 seats, with modestly elegant decor details such as traditional Thai art on its walls and elements of dark wood and deep purple leather.
Similar to the original menu in Thailand, they serve street food with a little tweak to settle for Singapore’s taste buds. Expect sweeter flavors, as most of the dishes come from central Thailand, such as the Stir-fried Soft Shell Crab with Yellow Curry. Soft shell crabs are lightly battered and then deep fried to a lovely crunch and then smothered in an egg-y aromatic yellow curry that resembles the texture of Singapore’s chilli crab. For food purist who thinks that curry should have some level of spiciness, this might not be for you even though it is a waste not to try one of their signature dish.
The yellow curry gravy would be a perfect match to a unique plate of Blue Jasmine Rice. Don’t be intimidated by its strange color – the rice is steamed with ancient Thai herbal plant, Butterfly Pea which attributes to the purplish-blue hue. No unfamiliar taste is detected, and on top of that, the dark-colored plant provides anthocyanin which can help in anti-ageing.
The full-bodied broth flavored with anise and cinnamon is what makes their Ayuthaya Boat Noodles special. With only one pot of broth that is brewed every day, they are literally while stocks last. So if you head there a little later and they are sold out, you’d have to wait till the next day for a bowl. Silky thin noodles that are chewy to the bite are served with broth with a choice of pork with pork balls or beef, dry or soup.
Hors d’oeuvre Nara makes ordering food for a group of people a breeze – a mixed platter consisting of Barbequed Pork/Chicken in Turmeric and Coconut Milk Marinade, Thai Fish Cakes, Pandan Chicken and Pomelo Salad.
For a more refreshing touch to your meal, Pomelo Salad would be ideal. Pomelo sacs are chopped and then topped with toasted shredded coconut, cashew nuts and boiled prawns, then dressed with just the right amount of honey fish sauce.
One of the favorite cuts among Thais, Nara Thai’s Barbecued Pork Neck with Tamarind Dip is a blessing to pork-lover. Adorned with the right quantity of fats and lean meat, the barbequed meat is bouncy and tender. When paired with the carefully replicated traditional tamarind dip, you will first taste a tinge of sourness and then a warm comfortable spiciness that envelopes your mouth.
Overall, you can easily welcome Nara Thai into your list of dinner listing, especially with over a hundred dishes to choose from and a reasonable enough price for the environment. The restaurant celebrates their 2nd anniversary in Singapore during September, and be prepared to head down and try out their exclusive menu just for this special occasion.
Nara Thai Singapore
Ion Orchard, #B3-21
2 Orchard Turn
Tel: 6634 5787
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm (Daily)