Friday, March 19, 2010

Ah Loy Thai at Shaw Tower

Seriously, I struggled for some time whether I should share this place with everyone else… Located at Shaw Tower Beach Road,  Ah Loy’s Thai-food eatery is definitely Singapore’s best kept secret.  
In my opinion, Ah Loy is a good eatery place that any food reviewer would definitely recommend. If they don’t, they probably do not want you to find out about their secret hunt. In the name of sharing good food hunts, I reluctantly share it with you all.
You know you are in for a good treat when you see the quarto-condiments jars which contained of sugar, chili sauce, fish sauce and chili flakes powder. They just screamed ‘Sawadeeka!
Some people had already knew about the place, thus it was often quite packed during meal times. Look at the queue today! I waited for like 10 minutes for a seat. It was only 10 minutes because some of the lunch crowd could not wait any longer and gave up.
Anyway, I just want to whine about this incident that I had with Ah Loy. Weeks ago I was actually snubbed twice by them. They turned down my business because they were packed to the brim. They were supposed to be closed at 8 PM, but their last order was like 6 something PM. I was so disappointed to be turned down like that.
Then it make me madder because those eaters were not even sympathetic. They were eating heartily. They looked at me nonchalantly and I imagined that they were laughing at me in the heart that “Na nana boo boo…Yeah! We got to enjoy the food, but you were turned down.

Well, Ah Loy served delicious, authentic Thai-Food at unbeatable price!
Good food eateries generally do not need much publicity in Singapore. They are known through word of mouth. As long as it fits two criteria, Singaporeans would patronise the place – Delicious food and good price.

I brought my mum along today. She loves spicy food, thus I know she will like the place and indeed she does. After we were seated, we need to wait for like 40 minutes for the dishes to be served.

Finally, first served was The Papaya Salad or Som Tom in Thai ($4). It was good~.Crunchy, well drenched in sauce. I like that they use whole peanut and that it was roasted before adding in which give the dish a nice smoky flavour.

I personally think it was more spicy than normal Papaya Salad in food court or any other places. However, my mum who can take more heat said that it was not really spicy. For those who cannot take spicy food, be careful with this dish.

Second up was the Pineapple Fried Rice ($4). Ok, it wasn’t as what I imagined yellowed rice in pineapple boat, but this is good stuff! In fact, I would recommend it is a must-order. 
How to tell apart a good plate of fried rice? Firstly you will noticed that the rice grains do not stick together. It is also not too oily that all of it were covered with oil. Thirdly, it must have “Wok Hei” – a smoky flavour which comes from stir-flying food in high temperature.
The thing about Ah Loy is that they do not just scrimped on the quality of the ingredients just because the dishes are cheaper. I must really say the ingredients used is very fresh too. Look at the prawns – plump and succulent - hardly any odour. I must also praised them for the excellent skills for cooking squid. For once, the squid pieces were not rubbery at all! Best of all, it was cut in thick pieces.

Another must-order! Fish Maw soup. Before I described the taste, guess how much does it cost?
It comes in a relatively big soup bowl. My mum and I had two servings each. Again Ah Loy generously filled it full to the brim with fresh ingredients – comes with pretty big pieces of fish maw some more.
It cost only $3.90! For a moment, I really thought I was in Thailand. Did they direct convert the currency from baht? How do they earn profit?

Look at Ah Loy’s generousity! Fish Maw soup is a thicken mock-sharkfin like soup. It contained big dried mushroom slice, big tender chicken meat,big bamboo shoot slices.
Amazingly, the stock does not tasted like it contained MSG. It is a slightly sweet, light but flavourful chicken stock. Heaven-sent!

The dish which I have been dreaming of for weeks - Phai Thai, Thai-style fried rice noodles ($4.50). Like the fried rice, they had the “wok-hei” and is not overly greasy. It is not those sickeningly sweet type that you get from food court. Authentic Phai Thai should taste seafoody savoury, with crunchy bean sprouts, chives, big succulent prawns and squids.
This might looked daunting. Rather spicy, it is deep fried tilapia fish with spicy sauce ($8.90). The spicy sauce had a strong herby taste and might not be for everyone.
But if you like thai herb flavour, this is for you. There is the kaffir leaves, basil, curry leave as well. I didn’t manage to taste much as my mum almost eaten three quarter of it. Not my favourite, but ironically, I even accidentally swallowed a fish bone. (Shall not write what happened here)
Fried Sweet Potatoes Leaves ($4). Again, the cook is very good at preserving crunch of vegetables. However, it was a little too salty and would probably be ok if paired with white rice.
Business Operating Hours
Mon to Thurs - 12 Noon to 8.30 Pm.
Fri – 12 Noon to 8.40 Pm.
Saturday – starts from 1 Pm
Sunday/PH – Closed
(Be warned, last order usually is at 6 something.)
Verdict – Excellent food! Very worthwhile but still maintaining the use of good quality ingredients. Food served is also authentic Thai. Definitely a must-try!
However, promise me that when you all read about this entry, go in batches. I still want to go back to that place. There are many other dishes which I had yet to try.

Ah Loy Thai is located at Shaw Tower Beach Road - #01-39/40. Enter from the entrance near the traffic light. It is located at the pathway to Ah Yat Seafood restaurant or the walkway to Suntec City.

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