Last Updated: April 9, 2019
I don’t know about you, but there always seems to be an unspoken race for the cheapest Thai boat noodles in town.
Granted, those sold in Thailand can cost only mere cents. But in Singapore, it’s tough to price menu items exceptionally low since the F&B industry is saturated and competitive.
But hey, we’ve got another cheap Thai boat noodle place for you — The Thai Society at MacKenzie Road. They also serve a northern Thai platter that’s not really commonly found in Thai restaurants here.
The interior is stripped down and simply lined with metal chairs and heavy wooden tables.
On the walls are large framed English translations of common Thai phrases, which would come handy to those wanting to brush up on their Thai.
What drew me here wasn’t just one of the cheapest Thai boat noodles in town, but it was also their Super Size Boat Noodle (S$19). It comes with all toppings included, from fish cakes to pork skin crackers to extra vegetables.
You also can choose from either glass or rice noodles, pork or beef and you can even pick the soup base. They serve Red Tom Yum, Herb Boat Noodle Soup and Ma La Soup.
What’s fun about the experience is watching them prepare your steaming hot bowl of soup in the al fresco dining area. They have a makeshift pushcart there (like those you spot commonly in the streets of Thailand), and they boil the ingredients on the spot.
We went with a combination of beef, ma la soup with rice noodles.
The serving was as large as my entire face, so we could imagine that this bowl could easily feed four relatively hungry people, assuming you’ll order other sides as well.
The noodles were really springy and slippery, which we suppose is a trademark of rice noodles. We were looking forward to a tongue-numbing ma la broth, but all we received was a mild and subtly tangy soup that did little to bring heat to the table.
My favourite part of the boat noodle was the satisfyingly chewy meatballs and the generous amount of ingredients. It’s definitely worth an order if you’re keen on sharing a large portion, as opposed to having several small bowls to yourself.
If you’re looking for something different from the usual Thai cuisine, you have to order the Khantoke Set (S$15.90). It’s a traditional Northern Thailand dish that you can’t really get in any other region of Thailand. According to my colleague, who’s half Thai, this dish is something she frequently enjoys when she’s home in Chiang Rai.
Families would sit around the tray and use their hands to pick up the sticky rice and eat it with the assortment of vegetables.
The middle would feature a pork dish of some sort. Here at The Thai Society we had braised pork that was succulent and dripping thick with gravy. It was spicy; simply savoury and fatty.
Also, since the Thais know their chillis well, you have to give their two chilli pastes a go. The red one is nam prik ong, a northern Thai chilli pork dip that’s meant to provide acidity and balance to the richness of the fatty pork dish. I couldn’t stop scooping this one up; it wasn’t spicy as much as it was invigorating.
The pronounced tang truly did relieve my palate from the somewhat overbearing feel of fat in my mouth. The green chilli is called nam prik nam, and best enjoyed with the vegetables and glutinous rice, as it’s light and flavourful.
Another pork dish we ordered at The Thai Society was the Grilled Pork Collar With Tamarind Sauce (S$11). Visually it looked dry, but it quickly redeemed itself when we took a bite sans sauce and found it to be tender. When paired with the sauce, it was hard to stop at one bite.
The tamarind sauce had a sweet-sour profile that was mildly addictive and this would serve as an ideal side order to share for the table.
We couldn’t resist it and just had to order the Rainbow Sticky Rice Ball With Fresh Mango Slices (S$9) to close the meal. I know I can’t leave Bangkok without a last-minute attempt at enjoying mango sticky rice, even if it means buying a portion at the airport (which is still pretty good, in my opinion).
The mangoes we had were ripe and satisfyingly sweet, especially when eaten with the colourful sticky rice and coconut milk. It felt really sinful to want to finish everything, especially after all the food we’d just consumed, but it was too good to turn down.
Thai places in Singapore are a dime a dozen and it’s hard to suss out which ones are genuine. The Thai Society isn’t only run by Thais, but the Khantoke Set they offer truly sets them apart from any other Thai establishment we’ve eaten here in Singapore.
Being able to enjoy an authentic northern Thailand dish here is a novelty in itself, so for us, that wins major brownie points.
Expected Damage: S$10 – S$20 per pax
Our Rating: 4 / 5
The Thai Society
116 MacKenzie Road, #01-01, Singapore 228710
116 MacKenzie Road, #01-01, Singapore 228710