Tasty grilled Kurobuta pork collar at Sawasdee Thai Cuisine

Sawasdee Thai Cuisine may be celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, but the restaurant in Tan Quee Lan Street has kept a rather low profile until recently.

That is partly because it used to be a neighbourhood eatery in Sembawang. And even after it was taken over by its current owners and moved to the Bugis area more than two years ago, the buzz level stayed low.

I dined there last week, drawn by a revamped menu that included new dishes to celebrate its 15th year, and the cooking was so good that I wish I had discovered the place earlier. The menu lists what look like typical Thai dishes, but they boast flavours that are more well-balanced than what I find at many eateries here.

New dishes such as Grilled Kurobuta Pork Collar ($22) boast premium ingredients that you do not find in many Thai restaurants. The pork is succulent and the spicy sauce goes very well with the meat.

Another new dish that I like is the Superior Seafood Fried Rice ($18), which comes with crab meat, prawns and conpoy. I usually like to add freshly cut chilli padi to Thai fried rice, but the version here is so tasty that to do so would be a travesty.

I also enjoy the Thai Coconut Chicken Soup ($13), which has just enough coconut milk for aroma but not to overpower the delicious stock or feel too rich.

The Mao Shan Wang Durian Sticky Rice ($12) is an attempt to refine the Thai dessert with premium durian. But I am not sure it is an improvement. I like the original version where Thai durian pulp is cooked in coconut cream and adds warmth to sweetened rice. Here, shreds of fresh durian pulp are placed over the rice and topped with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. It is not bad, especially if you like the more fragrant Mao Shan Wang, but I miss the creamy richness of the Thai version.

WHERE: Sawasdee Thai Cuisine, 9 Tan Quee Lan Street
MRT: Bugis
OPEN: 11am to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm daily
TEL: 6238-6833

This article was first published on Nov 11, 2016.
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