Haha Thai @ Ngee Ann City

Haha Thai @ Ngee Ann City

Haha Thai was previously Hahaha Thai Seafood that was situated at Foch Road. They had rebranded themselves and moved to Ngee Ann City with a soft opening on 1 April 2015. Thank you Serena and Terence from Haha Thai for hosting us.

Unlike most Thai restaurants that go for a traditional Thai style design, Haha Thai went for a very modern cafe look, probably to attract the younger crowd. The price of their food ranges from $4.80 to $49.80. A plate of Pad Thai and bowl of Tom Yum soup cost $10.80 and $9.80 respectively while the pork knuckle and salt baked sea bass cost $38.80 and $49.80. The total cost of the bill can varies quite a lot, depending on what you order.

Haha Thai Menu: Click to enlarge

Thai Sashimi Oyster ($2.80++)

These so-call Thai Oysters are actually air-flown from Japan and to eat it the Thai way, remember to eat it with their Thai style chilli. Their oysters are very fresh, thick and fat and juicy. The chunky texture of the Oyster is the best part of it.

As for the chilli, i thought their chef is quite something to come out with a blend that goes so well with the Oyster. It’s like a 60% sour, 30% spicy and 10% sweet and exceptionally tangy should be the best way to describe the chilli.

Buttercorn Tiger Prawn ($18.80++)

Instead of normal size prawn, Haha Thai uses big tiger prawn. These prawns are lightly fried, such that the shell gives off a delightful flavour,  and are stir fried in a thick and creamy butter sauce.

It’s almost similar to a salted egg prawn sauce but not as salty and with added sweet corn. The texture of the prawn is bouncy and the meat is very sweet. The only complain is instead of three, four prawn should make it easier to share. It also adds up to $6.27++ per prawn.

Tom Yum Talay ($9.80++)

Haha Thai’s Tom Yum soup did very well in the sour aspect and lacks a little on the spicy aspect but i still find the soup enjoyable. This soup has all the sweetness from the seafood and manage to eliminate the unpleasent odour associated with it. It probably has something to do with the freshness of the ingredient.  The soup packs a punch, with just the right balance of lemon grass flavour and sweetness. For a spicy food lover like me, an even spicier version would be great and will increase the “shiok” factor.

Thai-ramisu ($9.80++)

This dessert is Haha Thai’s proud creation, whereby the espresso is replaced by Haha Thai’s signature Thai milk tea. This dessert is layered with a blend of cream and mascarpone cheese and biscuit soaked in sweetened Thai Milk Tea. Comparing to a traditional Tiramisu, this version is expectedly sweeter but the tea fragrance is not lacking comparing to the espresso version. At $9.80++, i consider the portion is a little small.

Mango Sticky Rice ($11.80++)

The ice cream and the Mango is good and I like the way it’s skillfully presented. Instead of savoury, the sticky rice is actually sweetened, which i don’t really favour since the ice cream and Mango already took care of the sweet portion.

Otah ($8.80++)

The Otah is actually very good, with chunky bits of fish mix in a spice-infused mackerel paste. If not for the price,  it would had been in my favorite list. For the price of  $8.80++, people may expect the portion to be a little bigger.

Himalaya Snow Baked Sea Bass ($49.80++)

At $49.80, this dish is the most expensive item on Haha Thai’s menu. I was actually expecting a lot from this dish however I thought the dish is only okay. i thought it lacks the expected fragrance from baking. As for the fish meat, it’s done properly and well cooked, but it didn’t give people enough reasons to fork out $58.00 for this fish.

Pak Mee ($10.80)

I can’t seem to find information about this Thai Bak Mee from online but apparently this is like a special creation by the chef.  The fragrance is something like our Singapore version of Char Kway Teow, just that it’s not as sweet and a bit more salty. There is a unique fragrance coming from the noodle but i can’t really tell what was it. The chef actually kept the content of the sauce as secret and is only willing to disclose one ingredient, which is tumeric. It’s a pretty interesting option to try instead of the usual Pad Thai.

Conclusion

The general impression of a restaurant situated at high floor at Ngee Ann City must be expensive and taste so-so. Apparently Haha Thai is serving some good dishes like the Oysters, Tom Yum Soup, Bak Mee and Buttercorn Prawn and for most dishes, the price appears to be reasonable. However, there is a catch to it as I noticed that the portion of the food is generally smaller. Probably this is their formula to keep their price reasonable.

If i’m crazily hungry, likely Haha Thai will not be my first choice for a meal. But if i’m still a little full and i dont feel like squeezing with the crowd and also want a decent meal, Haha Thai may be an option at Ngee Ann City.

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Huaplachongnonsea Junior ร้านหัวปลาช่องนนทรี (Central World – Bangkok)

Huaplachongnonsea Junior

Address: Central World, 6th Floor, Unit A 603-4

Operating hours: 10.00am to 10.00pm

Introduction

Since my first trip to Bangkok, i wanted to try out this Huaplachongnonsea (or they called themselves HPC as per their logo), but the main branch is just too far and too inconvenient. Huaplachongnonsea is a non-mainstream non-touristy restaurant that sells traditional Thai food and i have much difficulty looking for it’s information because this place is very little mentioned in Singapore blog or forum. Even their official website and facebook page is in Thai – http://www.huaplachongnonsea.com/

After much research, I realized that they actually have a branch at Central World! Apparently, the branch that i am visiting is a “Junior” version. I have no idea what is the difference but i keep my finger-crossed that their food are as good as the non-junior branch like how some people described online. Here’s the “Junior” website in English: http://www.huaplachongnonsea.com/junior/

My must-eat for Huaplachongnonsea will be their signature Hot Pot Tom Yum Soup (they even use the hot pot in their logo) , Roasted Pork Cheek and the highlight – Thai-style Curry Crab Meat!

Click to see my list of consolidated Bangkok Food Itinerary

Hot Pot Tom Yum Soup

Surprisingly, i didn’t manage to get a really good Tom Yum Soup in Bangkok. If you do have a good Tom Yum Soup recommendation in Bangkok, feel free to share! I heard Ban Khun Mae and Nara Thai serves pretty good Tom Yum Soup. But this Hot Pot Tom Yum Soup from Huaplachongnonsea manage to satisfy my craving for a good soup!

This is the coconut milk version and note that it is slightly oily. So what is better than a pot of spicy and sour Tom Yum Soup? A pot of piping hot, spicy and sour Tom Yum Soup!!

I’ll definitely give my vote to Huaplachongnonsea for the most satisfying Tom Yum Soup in Bangkok till date. Large portion, big fresh prawn, piping hot soup, flavorful, spicy and spices infused Tom Yum Soup, and at a reasonable price of 270 baht!


Roasted Pork Cheek

This is one disappointment for me as I was expecting a char-grilled pork cheek with a little burnt on the surface but there isn’t any. This pork cheek has a tinge of sweet coconut taste which don’t exactly enhance the taste in my opinion. This also has something to do with the way the chef cuts it, which makes the pork cheek rather tough on the teeth. I thought a good way of preparing the pork cheeks is to slice them into thin slices.

Salted Fish Kai Lan

Best Kai Lan dish ever! But provided you like salted fish. The whole dish is overpowered with the aroma of salted fish which makes it rather salty and goes very well with white rice. I can finish the whole bowl of rice with just the vegetable alone. But a word of caution, this dish is really salty, but in a way that I favor.

Curry Crab Meat

This is my favorite dish of Huaplachongnonsea. We have chilli crab in Singapore and the Thais have curry crab! I did a search on instagram for this restaurant and apparently this is one of the most popular dishes in Huaplachongnonsea, which i made this a must-order for my visit. Like the Hot Pot Tom Yum, this cost about 270 baht if i remembered correctly.

Best thing I like about this dish is – there is no need to de-shell the crab as the kitchen had already removed all the shells and stir-fry chunks of fresh crab meat into their special curry gravy. How I wish I have some fried man tou (steamed bun) to go with it.

Some may find this dish a little too oily but I heck it since it’s an overseas trip and won’t get a chance to eat this when I return to Singapore. Like how we Singaporeans say it – “Just whack only!”. I will be back for more of this.

Conclusion

I looked around Huaplachongnonsea and noticed there are not much foreigners in the restaurant. Almost all the guests are locals. Actually even for me, if I don’t already know this place, I probably won’t set foot into this place as there are just too many other tourist-friendly-looking restaurants at Central World.

The total damage is about S$36.00 for Hot Pot Tom Yum Soup, Roasted Pork Cheek, Curry Crab, Salted Fish Kai Lan, Rice, which is reasonably enough for four people. The price seems pretty reasonable for a restaurant located at Central World. If you ask me, I will visit this place again for their Curry Crab Meat and Hot Pot Tom Yum Soup and and other dishes as well.

Map of Central World