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Food

Som Tam: Black Massaman Curry & Spicy Basil Chicken With Korean Rice Cake Along Orchard Rd

Last Updated: March 19, 2019

Written by Wani

When I go to Orchard Central, I always ask myself, “Who even visits this mall?”

The mall isn’t exactly one with a favourable layout for tenants, especially with its winding walkways and hidden corners. You’d only discover them if you take your time to venture beyond the facade of shops that encircle the escalator.

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Som Tam is one of those hidden establishments on the eighth floor, and I only found out about its existence when I heard that they serve black tom yam and black Massaman Curry. I don’t know about you, but that got me pretty intrigued!

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The dining space isn’t very inspiring, as it constantly reminds you that you’re cooped up in a shopping mall, with its narrow alley-inspired seating. My recommendation is to seat yourself at a table that is next to a window, for access to natural light and for better food photography.

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I guess my timing was impeccable, as Som Tam was about to launch several new items which aren’t on the menu right now.

I got first dibs on these dishes, starting with theĀ Deep-Fried Salmon Skin With Tom Yam (S$12.80). The pieces weren’t too small, and the soft crunch of each piece of fried salmon skin was thoroughly satisfying.

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Although I could distinctly see tom yam seasoning sprinkled generously, there was no heat nor strong familiar sour notes that I look forward to when drinkingĀ tom yam soup. This crunchy snack was satisfying, but it lacked punch.

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Extending the theme of black dishes, Som Tam is going to introduce a Black Massaman Curry (S$16.80) as well. Visually, it may not look appetising, especially since the texture of the curry is almost goopy rather than runny.

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Once I looked past its colour, I found beautifully-cooked generous portions of chicken that were tender and juicy. The herbs and spices really came through, and even though it’s a curry, I didn’t feel the need to pair it with rice.

The curry was starchy on its own, and I think they added beans for viscosity. It makes for the perfect sharing dish to order when you come here.

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Their Spicy Basil Chicken With Korean Rice Cake (S$12.80) is an innovative creation, and I wonder why no one else had thought of it sooner.

The chewiness of the rice cake really complemented the tiny morsels of minced chicken, and the spice level was on point.

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To say this dish was addictive would be an understatement, because I finished it in a matter of minutes! It almost feels like a one-dish meal that you could easily have for a quick lunch, especially with the heady scent of basil pulling you in.

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The last dish was this savoury take on the now-famous giant toast. The Seafood Green Curry Toast (S$15.80) is poured into a buttered vertical toast with the core removed. Topped with sprouts of basil, the toast came with generous portions of mussels too.

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Once I cut into the toast, the green curry oozed out onto the plate. They weren’t stingy with ingredients here, so that’s a huge thumbs up from me. The curry itself was on the sweeter side, but it was also robust with plenty of coconut milk.

I know I shouldn’t have eaten too much of the bread, because I was already getting quite full. It simply went so well with the curry, and had a great chewy texture.


I never thought Orchard Road was a place I’d head to for Thai food. Cramped seating aside, if I’m ever in the area and my craving hits, I wouldn’t mind swinging by Som Tam again.

The winner for me was the Spicy Basil Chicken With Korean Rice Cake; it had all I need for a very gratifying meal.

Expected Damage: S$15 – S$25 per pax

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Som Tam

181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central, #08-13, Singapore 238896

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Som Tam

181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central, #08-13, Singapore 238896

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 3pm & 5.30pm - 10pm (Mon - Thu), 11.30am - 10pm (Fri - Sun)

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 3pm & 5.30pm - 10pm (Mon - Thu), 11.30am - 10pm (Fri - Sun)
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