Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thai Lunch & Japanese Dinner


One of the things Wey wanted to eat in Singapore was claypot mung bean noodles with crabs, but it wasn't the crabs that he was after. It was the strips of fatty pork in the bottom of the claypot that he had tasted in Singapore's Amara Hotel's Thanying Restaurant that he'd been dreaming of.

We were in the vicinity of Boat Quay so rather than take a long ride to Amara Hotel, we decided on an elegant Thai restaurant called Sukhokthai. My only reservations before walking into the restaurant was a fear that it was a chain restaurant because there seems to be a Sukhokthai restaurant in every part of the world. It turned out that I should've looked into the syllable "Suk".

The first red flag was the prawn cakes. Each cake was served individually on each of our plate.

It was delicious, with a  springy bite but it wasn't till later that I saw that each prawn cake was S$9/RM23/USD7...

Now I love tom yum but this was a rather bland bowl of tom yum. It just tasted very sour. It was also about S$8 or 9 per bowl. I'm not sure how they are doing now but Thanying makes the BEST tom yum although you need an iron-clad throat to drink a bowl of their version of Thailand's most famous soup.

Papaya salad. Good and refreshing. Can't remember the price.

The water spinach was very tender and fried just nice, not too overdone, but there was just a bit too much sugar in the dish for me.

Green curry. Again, rather bland and ordinary.

I specifically asked the waiter if they make claypot mung bean noodles with strips of fatty bacon and he said yes. Wey dug all over and found two small (spoon size) pieces of lean pork and he was so disappointed. The dish was also very soupy underneath all those noodles and again, bland and devoid of the exotic mixture of pepper, coriander roots and other spices. The waiter had asked if we wanted the noodles with prawns or crabs but since Wey doesn't eat prawns, I opted for crabs. And that's when I made one of the classic mistakes in ordering in a restaurant: I didn't ask the price. I just thought, how much can crabs cost? Since Hub paid, I had no idea of the cost until much later. If I had known, I would've let the waiter know that he's a bad waiter for not warning me because S$110 is outrageous by any standard. A good waiter should ask the customer if she wants to pay for Sri Lankan crab or some cheaper crabs. What a fleecer, SuCkhokthai!

Cassava with coconut milk. The cassava was done well, chewy and delicious but the coconut milk was too thin.

Sticky rice with mangoes.

The meal for 4 at Suckhokthai was S$270/RM690/USD230, the most expensive Thai meal I've ever had. Hang on, make that the most expensive meal I've ever had given the ordinary dishes. It isn't the outrageous prices that guided my rating but really the food was just average to slightly above average, made better because it was 'fine dining' Thai style.

Wey felt so bad after that that he suggested that we skip dinner, to average the cost of our meals I suppose. I have such sweet kids. But we went to Orchard Road and I've always wanted to try the ramen in Ippudo, the restaurant which some people swear makes the best ramen in Singapore. There was a long queue when I passed by the restaurant last year but it has since abated slightly. We got a table easily because we went at 6 pm.


This was oh-so-good, much better than those in New York's famed Momofuku. I think it was S$3, which is cheap compared to Momofuku's USD9 bun.

Potatoes with cod roe. I couldn't taste the roe but this was tasty to although not worth the S$18 (if I don't remember wrong).

As with all ramen, you get a choice of soup base: miso (fermented bean paste) or shio (salt) or shoyu (soy sauce) or tonkotsu (pork bones). We went straight for the richest, heaviest and most delicious stock, the tonkotsu.

Akamaru chashu S$20/RM50/USD16, ramen with simmered belly pork. At first glance, the house-made white straight ramen was a surprise, maybe a slight disappointment, because ramen to us is always yellow and crinkly but it tasted great, so it went down okay. The soup though was thoroughly satisfying--very rich and tasty--and the pork belly was awesome, meltingly tender and full of flavor. Look at the bits of fat floating in the soup.

Ramen with flavored egg, tender pork cubes and bamboo shoots, S$24/RM60/USD19. This is the ramen we ate most in Tokyo and it's still our favorite.

The flavored egg is just boiled egg with soy sauce and other seasoning but I was told each egg is S$3/RM7.50/USD2.50.

I found Ippudo's ramen very good (but not cheap! Meal was about S$70/RM180/USD60 and the 3 of us shared two bowls of ramen) but I don't think that given the high quality of Japanese food in Singapore that Ippudo has the best ramen. My son Wey would disagree though because Ippudo is his favorite restaurant now.


Baby Sumo said...

So many ramen choices in Singapore, it's hard to choose which is the best. I tried Menya and Gantetsu during our last visit there.

Gopal Yadav said...

fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
guest house in jaipur

Blur Ting said...

We like eating at Nakhon Kitchen (one in Hougang and another in Bedok), because the food is authentic and cheap. The service is super fast and everyone working there is Thai. The green curry has many layers of flavours that I wonder what secret ingredients they use. The Bedok branch is less crowded and it is just a street away from the Chai Chee Porridge place.

FiSh. ohFISHiee said...

i love japanese food :) and the porky bun looks great, very similar to the chinese version

Latest: Where to Go for Raya?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting postings. Really appreciate all the delicious food postings especially with prices.
Thanks. Theresa

floberita said...

Ippudo in Japan is tops, cos the atmosphere, food, etc. everything rocks there. Having tried that in Japan, eating the Ippudo here is a tad disappointing. For one, i dislike the loud crashing music at their outlet in Mandarin Gallery which is designed to make you eat and leave quickly, to save your ears from busting.

My favourite ramen shop is Uma Uma Ramen at Forum Galleria, hands down. The soup, 100% pork stock is rich, flavourful and full of umami goodness. The cha shu is meltingly soft. Egg is oozingly delish. My only grouse is the portion is rather small for S$14-16, but on checking with Iggy (of Iggy's, who is a co-owner here) I was told you can order an extra portion of ramen (I have a constantly hungry 15 year old boy). Tops! :)

Kelly@thehungryegghead said...

Sorry to hear that you got ripped off. I hate it when the meal is just average and it costs so much. The crab should have been around $60SGD.

I remember how good the crab with the vermicelli Is in Bangkok's Somboon Seafood for only $10USD.

I love reading your blog because you are so honest about your opinions. Too many people try to sugarcoat. On my blog, I try not to write negative review unless I spent a lot of money on the meal or if it was truly that bad.

terri@adailyobsession said...

babysumo: yes, so many restaurant choices. the city really has come up big in everything.

blurting: i'm noting this, thanx:)

fish, theresa: welcome:)

floberita: how's the food at iggy's? i read smwhere tt they only hv about 6 tables so i ddnt bother to go. but next time i'll try uma uma ramen for sure:)

kelly: oh somboon bkk. we were brought to a different somboon; long story but tt's what i didnt like about bkk. those taxi drivers n tuk tuk drivers were so dishonest. well,tt's me. i hv to write what i think. i've read food reviews tt are always positive n i'm like, gosh, tt's a lie bc everybody knows tt restaurant sucks.

the lunch guy said...

i haven't stopped by since you were posting your California stuff and i had to come to this one first because it said Thai.

IMHO there are some dishes and cuisines that i have never been able to find outside their own neighborhoods that compare to the authentic originals, Thai and New England Clam Chowder (as we discussed a while back) seem to be the epitome of these foods.

i make it a policy to never eat Thai outside of Thailand, and never in a high-priced establishment (even here in TH), its just never good, or a value. many people may argue with me about this, but i can't think of one decent TH meal, reasonably priced or not, that i have had in any other country or here in an "up-scale" venue.

i also find in the States that their is always a tendency to take any original cuisine and tailor it to American tastes, and my fellow Americans, for some unknown reason (maybe its a lack of adventure or worldliness), think all of Asian cuisine is supposed to look and taste like Chinese - American food, should be smothered in gooey sweet sauces, and served in massive portions.

granted, many times you will be served food that tastes good, but authentic ... never.

when i lived in NYC i went to what many consider the #1 TH restaurant in the city. it so happens to be in Chinatown. while i was ordering, and asking if the food would be prepared authentically (papaya salad for one) the owner chuckled to herself and then informed me that if i wanted the real deal to either go out to a small place in Brooklyn ... or go home to BKK. she said that they can't prepare the food as they wish because most patrons will complain or tell them its not prepared properly. she said she didn't even have all the ingredients because there was no reason to.

and relative to what you say about BKK taxi drivers in your reply to kelly, i regret to say that i think that same mindset applies to the owners of the restaurant you are writing about ... everyone's to be considered a mark, not a customer who may actually return for a subsequent visit.

so in closing i invite you to give me a call when you are next here in BKK and we can go on an eating binge for a few days ... or a week, and we can take the SkyTrain, not taxis.

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