Korat Thai Cafe

Thai food—you either love it or you stay the hell away from it. If you’re in the camp of the former, do us a favor and drop by this tiny yet bustling eatery. The location itself is enough of a conversation starter; the infamously seedy Orchard Towers, and Korat is a great spot to indulge in some entertaining people watching as you eat (neighboring Wai Lee Saloon offers an endless parade of swishy tranny patrons and the men who come trailing). Just so we’re clear, the set-up is strictly low-key; just ten or so plastic tables, but we aren’t here for the décor. Food’s the focus, when we aren’t distracted with the colofrul surrounds, and a good appetizer is Korat’s glass noodles with mixed seafood salad ($10). A hefty pile of fresh juicy prawns, cuttlefish, tomatoes and carrots smothered in glass noodles with a dash of chopped parsley that looks and tastes amazing. We’d have preferred a cold version though. If you’ve found yourself tossing a wok of instant cereal prawns into the fryer when peckish, you might enjoy their chu chee prawns ($7). The flavor is a tad OTT for us (Thai basil, curry leaves and sambal oelek?) but it’ll serve those who like rich food well. We almost left their red chicken curry ($10) untouched. It wasn’t as spicy as we’d hoped, more pungent than anything with far too much coconut milk. Of course, it wouldn’t have been a fair trial if we hadn’t tried the tom yam soup ($10) and we’re glad we did. It’s all you could ever want from the quintessentially Thai dish—there are generous helpings of everything including fresh (notice how often we say this?) prawns, shitake mushrooms and cuttlefish, and the soup offers just the right tang. Don’t let the location put you off, this is some mean Thai grub.

If you’re craving Thai curries, papaya salad or just stir-fried pad ka prao (basil leaves and minced pork), this list of what is arguably the best Thai restaurants in Singapore got you covered.