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Blog: Mooks Thai Bistro food review

Authentic and reasonably-priced Thai food haunts are increasing in numbers, although not particularly easy to find outside of the Golden Mile. It’s fairly easy to ascertain if an outlet is authentically Thai: the cooks slaving over the hot stoves tend to be Thai and the ingredients appear to be imported from Thailand with the table condiments being the usual giveaway.

In Singapore, the location of the joint rather than the authenticity of its food would determine the price point and I’ve had the good fortune to have enjoyed several excellent and inexpensive Thai meals prepared within the constraints of a hawker centre stall. However, if you are looking for a more comfortable dining experience near the CBD — especially if you tend to perspire at the first hit of birds-eye chilli — Mooks Thai Bistro at Chinatown should be top on your list.

Thai Mooks Bistro has the usual suspects on its menu like the seafood “tom yum”

At 35 Smith Street, Mooks Thai Bistro is right smack in the middle of the Uniquely Singapore construct that is the Chinatown Food Street. Your Uber driver will drop you off next to the Hong Lim Market Food Centre — a no-entry sign will prevent him from venturing any further — and you then have to make the rest of the way on foot. You know you are nearing your destination when you find yourself surrounded by establishments offering chilli crab and roast duck at exorbitant prices with tourists enjoying them at round banquet-style tables.

Mooks’ air-conditioned interior is unpretentious, which makes it more suitable for a casual lunch with your closest teammates than a first meeting with a potential client. The menu lists the usual suspects you would expect at any self-respecting Thai joint such as “tom yam” (either red or clear), pineapple fried rice, Thai fish or prawn cake and green curry chicken with a decent enough beer list to help extinguish the heat (although personally, I prefer the sweet Thai iced tea for this purpose).

The clear “tom yam” with prawns was outstanding. Priced at only $10.90 for over half a dozen medium-sized prawns, the broth had the distinct flavour of prawns (or seafood?), a delicious layer to the usual aromatic infusion of lemongrass, galangal and kaffir leaves.

The Thai prawn cake is made from scratch and not from a packet.

Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, the Thai prawn cake ($9.90) did not have that “frozen-out-of-the-packet taste” as every patty was freshly made. In fact Mooks are happy to demonstrate how fresh their Thai prawn cake is by offering to teach your kids how to make exactly that, in addition to mango salad and mango sticky rice cake which are also on the menu. At $25 a head, the cooking class is open to children aged five to 14 and there are only two classes left before the end of the school holidays to enrol your little ones: on the 10th and 17th of December from 11am to 1230pm.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the generously apportioned “pad thai” ($10.90). Although a little sweet it was a respite from the glass noodle seafood salad ($9.90) whose refreshing chilli and lime acidity awakened my taste buds in such a way that I found myself returning to it as a sort of palate cleanser in between courses.

The Thai green curry is fragrant and tasty.

The green chicken curry ($8.90) also deserves special mention; it was fragrant, and probably extra tasty when enjoyed with hot steamed rice.

As I tend to develop a headache after consuming a meal containing MSG, I am happy to report that I went about the rest of my day headache-free which means that all the flavours are real! I will certainly be back for more knowing that my sensitive constitution is in good hands!

Mooks Thai Bistro is at 35 Smith Street. Call 62228928 for reservation.

All photos are courtesy of Mooks Thai Bistro.

The Thai green curry is fragrant and tasty

The Thai prawn cake is made from scratch and not from a packet

The chili-lime dressing of the glass noodle seafood salad primes your taste buds for more flavours

Thai Mooks Bistro has the usual suspects on its menu like the seafood “tom yum”

The fried kangkong is done with fermented soy beans and chilli

The Thai basil chicken is great with or without rice

The “pad thai” is very generous and sweet to counter the heat in some of the other dishes

The mango in this quintessential Thai dessert is painstakingly sourced by the chef

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