At one end of Purvis Street (next to North Bridge Road), there’s Yhingthai Palace, serving exquisite Thai food with elegant furnishings and impeccable service to match. That’s where you go if you’ve got a big, fat wallet. For those with shallow pockets (yup, that’s me), walk down to the other end of the street, where you can satisfy your craving for Thai food at friendlier prices.
I’ve heard lots of good things about First Thai Food. Wanting to beat the queue, Rick and I came early at 6.45 pm for dinner.
Let’s start with the tom yum soup. Almost every table had a tureen of this, but Rick and I opted to share an individual bowl, which at 7 bucks isn’t exactly cheap. But I enjoyed it. There’s prawns, squid, fish, and straw mushrooms (lots!), the soup stock had a full body, and the flavors well-rounded – sour and spicy but not overwhelmingly so, though Rick felt it was a little too tart for his liking.
Now, I love pandan chicken but hate prying the bones outta them. Here, they are convenient little pyramids of boneless chicken leg wrapped and infused with the aroma of pandanus leaves. Not bad, definitely worth a try!
Another winner, I like it that the kailan stems here are crisp but just soft enough to bite easily — the perfect, al dente texture, unlike some places that try to play safe by undercooking the kailan.
Everything was going along well till this point. The minced pork with basil is average, nothing spectacular, in fact slightly too salty for my liking.
I was still hungry, so we shared a small serving of pad thai. Big mistake. While the rice noodles had a lovely firm texture, the sauce was waaay too sweet! Not enough fish sauce and tamarind to offset the sweetness. Also, the large prawns, which were thoughtfully peeled, were overcooked and tough. What a shame. I might even dare say that Thai Express does a better version. Maybe the cook was having an off day??
Prices here are reasonable, and with no GST or service charges to inflate the bill, we paid a total of S$42.00 for the two of us. A couple of the dishes were hit and miss, but it was a very filling dinner indeed. Rick aptly described this no-frills, no air-conditioning coffee shop as a Thai zi-char joint.
One thing to note, I think the food here is laced with MSG. We were both very thirsty after the meal, and after downing three mugs of water when I got home, I was still thirsty!
Interestingly, one of the walls was adorned with portraits of the late King Chulalongkorn, the Buddha, the current Thai royal family, and…Keanu Reeves.
Total bill: food + rice (2 x S$1.00) + water (2 x S$0.50) = S$42.00
First Thai Food
23 Purvis Street
Tel: (65) 6339 3123