“Bringing Street food with air conditioning”
Imagine all the best of Thailand’s street-food congregated in a posh, air-conditioned restaurant, and you’ll get Nara Thai. The restaurant prides itself on providing authentic Thai cuisine through incorporating only the highest quality of ingredients in their age-old recipes.
Customers who frequent Nara Thai Singapore include the modern urbanite, expatriates and also Asian tourists who would prefer to indulge in Thai cuisine without the heat and the crowd.
The interior of Nara Thai is fancy but not intimidating; the service crew are highly attentive without bordering on overwhelming. It was impressive. I thought it was rather clever for Nara Thai to include chairs with backs of rattan-design. It did remind me of The Land of Smiles. The ambiance in the restaurant was homely and friendly, perfect for a catch-up session with old friends you haven’t met in a while.
I know, you must be thinking that I’m crazy. Why would anyone introduce the rice of all food? Well, Nara Thai’s rice is definitely no ordinary rice. Named Kao An Chan (Blue Jasmine Rice, $2), this plate of rice is fragrant and soft, much more appetizing than the normal variant of rice I eat at home.
It’s no wonder that I kept shoveling spoonfuls of this pleasurable, delightfully purplish-blue rice in my mouth. There’s no such thing as “I’m cutting down on my carbs intake” in the presence of Blue Jasmine Rice.
For all those who fly over to Bangkok and gorge themselves silly on the grilled seafood available in the streets, they’ll be happy to hear about Nara Thai’s Ruam Mit Talay Yang (Assorted Grilled Seafood Platter, $88.90). Good for two to three persons, this seafood platter offers great value for those who cannot live without seafood.
The platter features the Pla Kra Pong Yang (Street-Style Grilled Whole Sea Bass with Thai Herbs, $32.90), Kung Yang (Barbecued Black Pepper Tiger Prawns, $28.90), grilled whole squid, skewered scallops and mussels. Did I mention the platter also comes with two sauces, a chili lime marinate and the Nam Jim (an exciting blend of coriander, lemongrass, fish sauce, galangal, kaffir lime and Thai palm sugar) Seafood Sauce.
The Sea Bass was absolutely tender, a testament to it having been slow-grilled to aromatic perfectness in the presence of lemongrass, kaffir lime and galangal. I am personally a huge fan of fish skin; any crispy skin actually – chicken skin, duck skin etc., and I was fell in love with the Pla Kra Pong Yang’s crunchy and smoky skin. It provided a nice contrast with the soft fish meat. The fish was polished down to its bones at the end of the meal.
The Kung Yang (Barbecued Black Pepper Tiger Prawns, $28.90) were coated with a copious amount of crushed peppercorns and minced garlic; it definitely packed a punch. The texture of the prawns were slightly rubbery, they might have been overcooked a little but the seasoning still kept me going for more. Mmm, pepper.
Nara Thai’s Moo Yang Jim Jaew (Barbecued Pork Neck with Tamarind Dip, $13.90) was my favorite out of all the other dishes. The neck had an excellent distribution of fats, meat and muscle; when dipped into the savory tamarind sauce provided, it felt as though it was melting in my mouth. It was heavenly and it deserves to be placed on the Must-Try list.
Anything with salted egg in it can never taste bad to me, which would explain why I immediately reached for the Som Tum Kai Khem (Salted Egg Spicy Papaya Salad, $12.90). For those who are unable to take spicy food, this dish is definitely not for you. Even though the salted egg softens the spiciness a little, the dish still caused me to reach out for several glasses of water. Well, I am not a particular fan of fiery food so spice-lovers might very well enjoy this dish.
What reminded me the most of my days in Chatuchak Market, Bangkok was Nara Thai’s Kai Jiew Cha Om (Cha Om Omelet, $12.90). It was simple, understated and yet tasted very homely to me. The sauce provided was sweet and it paired well with the earthy taste of the cha om which was encapsulated by the omelet.
Overall, Nara Thai’s effort to bring in authentic Thai street food is commendable. Even though some of the dishes have been tweaked to suit the palate of international and local diners, these dishes have managed to retain their classic Thai charm. If you’re craving for some Thailand street food and don’t have the time to travel over, Nara Thai is surely your next best bet.
Nara Thai: 2 Orchard Turn, #B3-21, ION Orchard, Singapore 238801; Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive, #03-07, Singapore 608532| Tel: 6634 5787 (Orchard) Tel: 6710 5867 (Westgate) | Opening Hours: Mon to Sun: 1130 – 2200 | Website