There are many new delightful dishes gracing Nara Thai’s all new Bangkok Sois’ Hidden Gems Menu. Ranging from soft shell crab, tiger prawns, grilled scallops to larb, fried sea bass, seafood and coconut otah, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Thankfully, the menu is decorated with pictures of each individual dish to make the decision-making process a little easier (and faster) 🙂
Back in 2013, Nara Thai opened its first outlet at Ion Orchard and it’s been there ever since. Knowing that even the most popular F&B outlets along Orchard Road come and go, the sign that Nara Thai has been around for a while must mean that the food isn’t too bad.
This was my first time visiting Nara Thai at Ion Orchard. Both my parents have been to Nara Thai before me while I was overseas studying, so I’m guessing it must be pretty well known. Ever since it came to Singapore, Nara Thai has expanded to the west of Singapore at Westgate. Nara Thai’s also branched out into the catering industry with its authentic Nara Thai Fine Banquets, so that’s good news if you are planning a Thai-themed event any time soon!
According to Nara Thai, their bestsellers are their Kway Tiew Rua (Boat Noodles) and Phunim Phad Pong Karee (Stir-Fried Soft Shell Crab with Yellow Curry). They also told me that their head chef is Singaporean but trained in Thailand, so you know the food is made with only the best, most authentic Thai recipes. (Not surprisingly, in 2014, Nara Thai was featured on Tatler Singapore’s Best Restaurants List.)
Something else that I learned that evening was that Nara Thai originated in Bangkok back in 2006, bringing Thai street food and air-conditioned dining together.
I got the chance to dine at Nara Thai’s Ion Orchard branch, and the ambiance was casual yet cosy, and you don’t get the feeling of being chased away. The food came quite promptly too, and the waiters always took note of when to refill my water without interfering. So I’ld say that the service at the Ion outlet is quite good.
Nara Thai’s a great restaurant for family dinners or a meal with friends after work. The traditional Asian style of cooking would be especially suitable to bring more conservative eaters like the
older pioneer generation, as well as tourists looking to try some delicious Thai street food in Orchard Road while still being able to sit down in a dining atmosphere.
TL;DR you don’t need to book a weekend getaway trip to Bangkok to eat good Thai food.
So what’s on the new menu? What should I order? What did you eat?
Well, there’s a whole lot of seafood dishes on the menu, and I’ll elaborate more on my favourites at Nara Thai.
Fried Century Egg with Chili & Hot Basil Beef, Pork or Chicken, $16.90/$15.90
This was my favourite dish! It was highly addictive and I kept helping myself to more, it was soo delicious. This is a must-have if you like century egg. It was quite funny, during dinner, the century egg kept getting mistaken for aubergine.
Grilled Scallops with Asparagus, $17.90
I didn’t get the chance to try this one, but this stunning dish is on their new Bangkok Sois menu 🙂
Black Glutinous Rice with Coconut Milk, $6.90
We didn’t get to taste this beautiful dessert, but I’ll be sure to order this next time I visit Nara Thai with my new Nara Rewards membership! (more later on their brand new loyalty card program!)
This drink isn’t part of the new menu, buuuut I ordered this super refreshing young Thai coconut! It was so fragrant, and so sweet, and the coconut flesh was so soft and tender. Yum!
Mushroom Salad, $14.90
The Yum Hed or Mushroom Salad features oyster mushrooms and brown clamshell mushrooms. While mushrooms are rare in salads and typically found in Thai soups like tom yum, this one works! The salad is tossed with lemongrass, shallots, and mint leaves, all chopped up to give that extra punch.
Yes, they serve BLUE RICE at Nara Thai. Can you believe it! How cool, right? The colour of the rice comes from blue Butterfly Pea flowers. Here’s a video on how they make the rice at Nara Thai!
I found the rice a little dry at first since I’m accustomed to eating Japanese rice and not other types of rice. On top of that, based on appearances I was expecting it to be a little sticky – like glutinous rice, since you usually get blue rice in the form of kuehs. Especially my favourite pulut inti (glutinous rice with coconut) which my dad always gets for me. But in retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise that the rice alone was dry as it meant that the rice could really absorb the flavour of all of the other mains and dishes, which all had plenty of sauce!
Seafood & Coconut Otah, $16.90
I don’t normally rave (or crave) about otah ‘cos I’m not an otah fanatic, BUT THIS WAS AMAZING. The flavour is very subtle but you can be sure to taste the coconut infusion in the Hor Mok Ma Praw On. Also, this is the first time I’ve seen otah presented this way in a coconut. Apparently, it’s how they do it in Thailand (according to hearsay at least!). There’s also plenty of seafood (prawns, fish, squid) in this dish. The otah was uni-coloured and so so so delicious and tasty without being overwhelming. It’s hard for me to describe the exact flavour. Not fishy, tastes like scrambled eggs, a subtle flavour, and has a hint of coconut. Ok it sounds strange and I’m at a loss for words, but it tastes good, trust me. It tastes like how I think otah should taste like! Not overwhelmingly seafood-like in flavour. To sum up, the otah wasn’t too heavy so you can eat plenty of otah with no regrets!
Fried Whole Sea Bass with Basil Sauce, $32.90
I had a few mouthfuls of this fresh, yummy sea bass. The fish was well cooked, not too soft and not too hard and not dry at all. They’ve even deep fried the fish skin (for those of you whom can’t get enough of fried fish skin). It was really easy to eat (I didn’t get any bones) and definitely something to order if you have a large table or family gathering at Nara Thai.
Stir-Fried Soft Shell Crab with Basil Sauce, $17.90
Here’s a close-up of the soft shell crab! As someone who doesn’t eat shellfish, I must say it looks quite tasty! And look at all the fried basil! *heart eyes*
Stir-Fried Tom Yum Tiger Prawns, $28.90
Again, I didn’t eat this one, but it looks really scrumptious and well-seasoned and tasty! The tiger prawns were hugeeee. The tiger prawns are fried in a huge wok with kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, and finally topped with with tom yum flavouring.
North-Eastern Spicy Minced Pork, $13.90
Otherwise known as larb, this is another one of my favourites on the Bangkok Sois menu at Nara Thai, and my first time eating larb. Simply fill the boat-shaped butter cabbage leaves with this mildly spicy minced meat and enjoy!
Yam and Pumpkin in Lychee Coconut Cream, $7.90
This deliciously warm dish was quite the surprise. I was expecting something traditional but there’s an unconventional twist to this new dessert from Nara Thai. Perhaps owing to the variety of ingredients used here. Bite-sized pieces of pumpkin and yam float in this creamy lychee-infused coconut cream dessert, and I really love the lychee flavour and the sweet and tasty pumpkin pieces. I think this one will be a hit with the older folk who might prefer a warm and hearty dessert like this!
For the quality, I think the prices for the new menu are reasonable for a meal with family and friends. Plus, with more people, you have the opportunity to try out a lot more dishes on Nara Thai’s new Bangkok Sois menu!
Oh, and I had the opportunity to become one of Nara Thai’s newest Nara Rewards members, yay!
Their newest membership program, Nara Rewards, comes with so many benefits. When you register for $20, you get $25 worth of credits, one 1-for-1 dining voucher (valid on the lowest priced item), 10% rebate, and a 20% discount during your first visit to Nara Thai during your birthday month. Whoo hoo! Compared to other restaurants, this is a really great deal cos (1) it’s affordable, and (2) there are so many more benefits! Get signing up today and do go out for a meal with the fam at Nara Thai! 🙂
Nara Thai @ Ion Orchard
Ion Orchard #B3-21,
2 Orchard Turn,
Tel: 6634 5787
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10.00pm
Nara Thai @ Westgate
3 Gateway Drive,
Tel: 6710 5867
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10.00pm
[Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Nara Thai, who kindly sponsored this food tasting opportunity.]