I dropped by Jai Thai for dinner recently since I've read so much about them being one of the most wallet friendly Thai joints around with fairly authentic, delicious food. There are three locations in total, all pretty accessible, along Purvis Street, East Coast Road and Clover Way. We headed to the Purvis Street outlet since it was the most central location. The decor may be basic but there is a hint of Thai influence (in the chairs, perhaps?) which works. Reminds me of some cosy little restaurant along Bangkok's streets. I have plenty of imagination so I actually really enjoy places like these - makes me feel like I've somehow found myself in Bangkok!
Clear Seafood Tom Yum Soup (small), $5
The prices were indeed wallet friendly for the most part. The Red Curry Prawns ($8) was the only exception, simply because the use of de-shelled prawns exactly identical to the ones in the soup for a dish like that really doesn't sit well with me. The Tom Yum Soup ($5) was great though! The ingredients included all my favourites - straw mushrooms, prawns, fish slices and squid. It does look incredibly mild, doesn't it? But as they say, looks can be deceiving. There were only a few seconds of lag time, or tranquility, before my brain registered the fact that I've just ingested something wickedly spicy and forced me to wonder why I was still drinking spoonfuls after spoonfuls of it. I don't know about you, but sometimes, I feel that my relationship with my brain is a little bit like that between Mars and Venus. We don't always get each other.
Pad Thai (small), $5
I really enjoyed the Pad Thai ($5) here as well. It was the perfect balance of sweet, sticky and savoury. Also, the noodles were not clumped up together! I've read a few poor reviews on their fried rice being on the bland side, so I'll definitely recommend sticking to their Pad Thai or just plain rice. If you're thinking of getting the noodle sets, go for it only if you want a drink, the desserts of the day (which were two mango puddings in the adorable shape of small pineapples during our visit) were okay but seriously puny.
Prawn Cakes, $2/pc (min 2)
The Prawn Cakes ($2/pc) came next. These were deep fried to a golden brown, which was a huge relief, since they looked really pale in the photos. I'd prefer it to be a little thicker as opposed to being stretched out like this but it was a good serving size and very tasty.
Pandan Chicken, $2/pc (min 2)
Our last dish was Pandan Chicken ($2/pc). It's a bit different from what I'm used to since the chicken looked more like it was adorned with pandan leaves than wrapped in it. Consequently, the chicken gets deep fried as well, which adds a ton of other flavours, though you'll be hard pressed to detect any fragrance from the pandan leaves. Tasty, no doubt, albeit just a tad tough, and not the style of pandan chicken I'd vote for.
Overall, Jai Thai's a decent place for Thai food, especially if you're too far from Nakhon (Hougang and Bedok) or too pressed for time to join the queue at Ah Loy Thai. Prices among these three are similar. Since the place is small, I'd definitely recommend making a reservation for a table inside the air-conditioned area. If you're thinking of something more fancy and refined, the widely raved Yhingthai Palace is just down the road!
Recommendations: Tom Yum Soup (Clear), Pad Thai, Prawn Cakes, Kang Kong, Pandan Chicken (not my cup of tea but might be yours)
I'll skip: Pineapple Fried Rice, Red Curry Prawns, Green Curry (way too milky)
Jln Pemimpin Branch
7 Clover Way
Tel: 6 258 0228
East Coast Branch
205 East Coast Road
Tel: 6 346 4940
Purvis Street Branch
27 Purvis Street
#01-01 An Chuan Building
Tel: 6 336 6908
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