Mai Thai

How apt that after a recent sojourn to Bangkok for work, we arrived back in the office to find ourselves landing another similar assignment: To review the new Thai joint Mai Thai, which has replaced Sistina in Holland Village. So with our fiery tongue in place (after all the spicy food that we had lapped up in Bangkok), we enthusiastically trotted down here. We liked the place immediately—there’s ample alfresco seating coupled with soothing lights that set a cool mood. The ambiance was serene and peaceful, and the vibe reminded us of the more posh (and expensive) restaurants back in Bangkok thanks in large part to the solid teak chairs. Thankfully, the prices here are very reasonable—in fact, it’s arguably the most affordable restaurant in the area—with mains starting at $10 (bearing in mind that this is Holland Village after all). So we were still reeling from all that spice from the City of Angels, and decided to try the less spicy dishes here, which meant that the requisite tom yum goong was out of the question. To go with our staple of fragrant rice, we ordered the moo ka poo (stir-fried pork with chili paste, basil leaves and onion); pad pak ruom (stir-fried baby kailan with cabbage, baby corn, carrot and mushroom); gooong obb mor din (claypot prawn vermicelli) and pla merk pad kai khem (cuttlefish with salted eggs). The moo pa koo was fantastic—the basil leaves complemented the tender minced pork perfectly—although it was admittedly a tad too spicy, something that we didn’t quite expect. Too bad about the pad pak ruom though, as it lacked any aroma that was distinctively Thai and tasted like any other stir-fried vegetables found in local hawker centers. But our two seafood dishes were very good: The combination of cuttlefish with salted eggs was a perfect union, while the vermicelli was delicately braised and fragrant, topped with five giant king prawns! We were deeply satiated (the portions were generous), so we decided to make do without desserts. But rest assured, we’ll back to try the tom yum goong and something sweet the next time! A posh restaurant setting with café-priced food—what more can you ask for?

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.