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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Nakhon Kitchen

Nakhon Kitchen

Address:  Hougang Street 21 #01-341 S530212

Operating Hours: Daily: 12:00 – 15:00, 17:30 – 22:00

Introdution

I won’t term Nakhon Kitchen as a restaurant but more of a neighborhood eatery situated in the heartland of Kovan. This place serves considerably good Thai food at an economy price. Each dishes range from $5.00 to $8.00. Some say the food is great, but some said it’s overrated so i gonna it out myself! I visited this place twice, once on 8 August ’13 during the afternoon and a second time on 9 August ’13 during the evening. Both times, Nakhon Thai is crowded and there’s always a queue forming outside the place.

Pandan Chicken

Apparently the best seller at Nakhon Kitchen is the Pandan Chicken, with every table ordering at least one portion. It was sold out during lunch! We only manage to have a taste of this dish on the next day when we came back during the evening. I can already smell the fragrance of spices-infused chicken while unwrapping the pandan leave. Although it’s deep fried, but it’s not dry at all, and in fact it’s really tender. i can see why some customers ordered a second or even a third portion and why it’s sold out.

Pad Thai

Like how my friend will normally judge a good dim sum by it’s Har Gow and Siew Mai, i would judge a Thai food place by it’s Tom Yum Soup and Pad Thai, then i realize that there are exceptions. The Pad Thai of Nakhon Kitchen is OK. Not bad, not spectacular, but OK. There’s a lack of the typical fragrance or the “kick” that a Pad Thai has when you munch on them. I thought this is something that i can skip and save my calorie for some other more awesome stuff offered on their menu.

Clear Tom Yum Soup with Prawn

I would really like to mention this Tom Yum Soup. This really really suit my taste as i love my Tom Yum soul to be sour, and it must be spicy, and Nakhon Kitchen’s version got it all. I was not exactly ready for this soup when i took my first mouth and i almost got choked by it’s spiciness. In my opinion, this Tom Yum Soup is gotta be in my top 3 favorite Tom Yum Soup.

Stir-fry Minced Pork in Basil

The stir fry pork is decent, taste like a typical Thai restaurant dish. I actually particularly like the long beans which adds an overall crunchy texture to the dish.  Too bad this is not one of the outstanding dishes of Nakhon Kitchen so if i have to choose, i would choose to order other dishes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s just that other dishes are better and i only have limited stomach capacity, and money.

Cashew Chicken

Oh… I like this.  Cashew Chicken. This is a very crispy version with a thin layer of sweet and sour sauce coated over the chicken. Some restaurants offer another version that is actually wetter with loads of cashew nuts but i like this version better.  One of my favorites that comes after the Tom Yum Soup and Pandan Chicken.

Deep fried pork

I mistook this for the cashew chicken that was served to another table but who don’t like deep fried crispy pork strips? Actually to be frank, this pork strip is a little bit tough on the teeth, but is really crispy. You can literally hear the crunching sound in your ears when you sink your teeth into one of these. Those who  like garlic will favor this dish because it is so full of it.

Kangkong Belacan

This Kangkong surprises me a little. Chilli is not too overpowering with it’s generous portion of dried prawn and garlic. I particularly like the way the veggies are cooked till it’s really soft, unlike some Kangkong when I had a hard time munching and chewing on them.

Thai Tapioca with Sugar Syrup and Coconut

Love this dish cus most importantly, it’s not too sweet, and i love the taste of smooth coconut milk and soft Tapioca, and it’s only S$3.00. The only down side is – this dish is really sinful and fattening!

Mango Glutinous Rice

The glutinous rice is actually tasty by itself even without the coconut sauce. Too bad the price is a little expensive (S$5.00) for it’s portion. Can’t get enough for sharing 1 portion.

Conclusion

Apparently i have no problem with Nakhon Thai Kovan branch. I heard from my friend that they served cold dish at the Bedok branch, taste is only so-so, overrated etc. But i am rather satisfied with the overall experience. Despite waiting in the queue, you can place your order first so that your dishes can be served to you soon after you get yourself a seat. Those who live nearby queue up at the take-away queue to save yourself from waiting in the long queue. Initially, I was a little surprise to see their staff allocating only two people to a four pax table. They could have earned more if another couple can share this table. But i think they do have a certain service standard to maintain like how a restaurant will never ask a couple to share a table with another couple. Their service is considerably fast for it’s crowd and price is very reasonable for it’s quality. I can see myself going back to this place soon.