Nakhon Kitchen

This trusty gem of a neighborhood eatery is what most of us Hougang peeps turn to when we’re looking for a quick Thai fix. That the restaurant is staffed entirely by Thais should be an obvious sign of authenticity.

At dinnertime, there’s almost always a 30 minute wait to be seated at Nakhon Kitchen, even on weekday evenings. I wouldn’t dream of coming here for dinner on weekends, so I don’t know how crazy a Saturday or Sunday queue can get. Once you’re seated, however, service is prompt and your dishes are served in no time. Besides, without giving too much away, let me just say that we derive great entertainment from watching one of the servers go about his business. Mm hmm.

Pineapple Fried Rice, $6.00.

One of the few non-spicy dishes on the menu, the pineapple fried rice here at Nakhon Kitchen is lightly curried, sweet, and nicely complemented by raisins and a light sprinkle of pork floss. Pretty average, but nevertheless useful to have this on hand if you’re ordering the tom yam soup.

Black olive fried rice with minced chicken, $6.00.

If you’re not a believer of fruits in your rice, you’ve got another carb option in the form of olive fried rice. I actually prefer it to the pineapple rice, as the salty fragrance of olives and siew dam (a dark, syrupy Thai soy sauce) pervades every grain of rice in on that plate. The accompanying chopped raw onions and cashew nuts add a welcome crunch to each spoonful of rice as well.

Tom Yam Soup, $6.00

Ah, the tom yam soup. Where do I even begin? If you’re one of those people who have no problem at all with spice, by which I mean you’re capable of eating baby red chillies without breaking into a sweat, then you’ll enjoy this. Objectively speaking, this is very good soup – it’s filled with the distinctive aroma of lemongrass and has a satisfyingly tangy taste due to the addition of tomatoes. Generous serving of fresh seafood within as well.

It’s said that tom yam soup works wonders in getting rid of sinus. Well, this bowl of soup is going to do that and more. Beads of sweat will form on your temples, your eyes will water, your nose will run. If there had been an infra-red camera present at the scene it would have caught the steam coming out of my ears. I had to eat four mouthfuls of rice after every spoonful of soup to put out the fire.

I’ll be ordering the (hopefully less spicy) version with coconut milk next time.

Thai vermicelli salad with seafood, $6.00.

Don’t be fooled by the deceptively mild appearance of the yam talay here. I used to find this salad incredibly spicy, but after drinking the tom yam soup this yam talay seems to possess the spice level of a Happy Meal. That metaphor doesn’t even make sense, but I trust you understand what I mean. Sour, fiery and refreshing, this vermicelli salad functions as an excellent palate cleanser and whets your appetite for the dishes to follow.

Kang Kong Belachan, $6.00.

When my conscience is niggling from all that pigging (wa I’m a poet), this stir-fried veggie dish is something I always order to try and make myself feel better. Like oily vegetables will negate the effects of the other dishes from hell that I’m eating. The kangkong served at Nakhon Kitchen is crunchy and nicely infused with the fragrance of fried garlic as well as the shrimpy flavour of belachan. Only gripe is that it could be a little less oily.

Stir-fried minced pork with basil leaves, $6.00.

This dish is a must-order for me every time I visit. Basil leaves are an acquired taste for most, and to me they taste wretched when consumed in isolation. They remind me of liquorice, which I happen to be terrified of. I do, however, think they’re excellent when they lend their flavour to stir-fried meats. Nakhon Kitchen‘s rendition of pork and basil is one of the best there is.

The more observant among you would probably have noticed that the dishes reviewed in this article all cost $6.00. Split between three, it works out to a reasonably priced dinner. Plus the food’s great, which makes this place is one of my favourite Thai eateries in Singapore. Just a gentle heads up, in case you haven’t realised what I’ve been repeatedly driving across – the spice level here isn’t for the faint-hearted. This is value-for-money Thai food that packs a lethal punch, and I’d advise you to come prepared for your stomach lining to bear the consequences of your meal.

Nakhon Kitchen
Block 212, Hougang Street 21
#01-341
Singapore 530212

Opening hours: 12 noon to 3 pm; 5.30 pm to 10 pm daily.
Tel. no.: 6286 8785

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