You don’t need to jet off to Thailand to reward yourself with authentic Thai cuisine. Sceptical of that statement? Don’t be— the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government itself says so! This department certifies the authenticity of Thai cuisine through a rigorous vetting process before awarding deserving restaurants the coveted Thai SELECT award.
Bangkok Jam in Singapore is one such restaurant. They are accredited ‘Thai SELECT Signature’, indicating recognition for serving “authentic Thai food with a taste of premium quality, refined decoration and excellent service.” It is the most prestigious of the 3 SELECT awards for international Thai restaurants, with the others being SELECT Classic and SELECT Casual.
I was fortunate enough to sample the fare at their first branch at Great World City which opened 15 years ago in 2007, but they have outlets in Plaza Singapura and Marina Square as well. With a Thai team that ideates dishes before they are rolled out, you are assured of a culinary experience so intimately reminiscent of the Land of Smiles that it will put a smile on your face.
Make a reservation at Bangkok Jam outlets: Great World City | Marina Square | Plaza Singapura
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What I tried at Bangkok Jam
Soft and sweet fresh mango with crispy and savoury cashew nuts – has there ever been such a tantalising appetiser? There is no better way to launch your foray into your Thai escapade than with the Spicy Mango Salad (S$10.90) here.
As with many other foodies out there, I feel it is almost an obligation that I try tom yum whenever I’m dining Thai. Bangkok Jam’s Clear Tom Yum (S$11.90) hot and sour soup has a deep, resounding flavour. Its seafood base is formed of prawns, sliced fish and sotong, then rounded off with Shimeji mushrooms.
I savoured every spicy drop from my bowl, enjoying the intricate hints of lemongrass, red chilli, coriander, galangal and lemon leaf immensely. They really elevated the soft fish and prawn flesh and it helped that the sotong wasn’t chewy.
A reliable main in most Thai restaurants is their phad thai and Bangkok Jam is no exception. You have the option of seafood, chicken or pork when you order the Signature Phad Thai (S$14.90) here. My wok-ful of crunchy peanuts and bean sprouts atop al dente noodles was especially notable for its lack of oiliness.
Going meat-free or just curious about the vegetarian craze? Perhaps the Ka Pow OmniMeat (S$15.90), one of 10 meat-free mains at Bangkok Jam may offer some insight. OmniMeat is a plant-based alternative to meat that I find quite accurate in terms of taste and look (it even ‘bleeds!). Its sweetness is a natural companion to the subtle savoury taste of the black olive rice served here.
The standard version of this dish also comes with egg but vegans may ask for it not to be included. One of the indicators of a good restaurant is the ability to recognise and then respond to evolving customer preferences. Bangkok Jam has an ear to the ground and will introduce a host of vegan dishes to their menu in September 2022.
My favourite part of the Ka Pow OmniMeat, aside from the mock pork, was the addition of mushroom and diced carrot. Together, they introduce a combination of softness and firmness in every spoonful that serves to keep your palate entertained.
There are also long beans, Thai basil and chilli padi. It reminded me of basil pork rice, which is certainly a good dish to try and emulate.
We went for the Grilled Pork Skewers (S$12.90) as a side dish. This dish would appeal to diners just fine on its own but is made that much more shiok by Bangkok Jam’s Jaew sauce. Both the skewers themselves and the sauce are homemade.
I loved how the red specks of chilli flakes, sprinkle of green shallot bits and glimmer of yellow kaffir lime flesh created this mouth-watering kaleidoscope of colours and flavours. Every mouthful of the tender pork made me wonder at how much effort must have gone into preparing it to that level of perfect texture and bite.
For drinks, I figured a Classic Milk Tea would be the appropriate choice and opted for the Thai Green Milk Tea (S$5.90). My dining companion went for the Specialty Tea instead, ordering the Lemongrass Cooler (S$6.90). Pretty presentation aside, they were delicious!
After the overly-sweet renditions of milk tea at other Thai eateries, I was pleasantly surprised at the refined and restrained version here. Even the lemongrass drink attained the right balance between infusion of flavour and overpowering I’m-drinking-grass taste.
Dessert time brought with it Thai Milk Tea Cream Cake (S$9.90), served with vanilla ice cream for a memorably sweet ending. Moist and dense, the sponge had the perfect consistency and bite. Topped with sticky sweetness in the top layer and flanked by rich cream, it pleased me to no end.
It’s easy to see why Bangkok Jam has been conferred the Thai SELECT Signature certification. They adhere closely to their culinary traditions and elevate the experience with the wonderful hospitality for which Thailand is known.
Our meal was one punctuated by ‘ooohs’ and ‘aahhhs’ as we rediscovered the flavours which we had first encountered on jaunts to our Asean neighbour. The casual dining setting is pleasant and welcoming but the authentic food would easily be right at home in a fine dining establishment, too.
I was blown away by how exquisite the pork skewers were! To produce something so wonderful at such an affordable price requires phenomenal attention to detail and a true mastery of the culinary arts. Similarly, the tom yum soup gave me deja vu of trips to Thailand, the last of which was just a month ago.
It was an eye-opener that most of us tend to bunch all “Thai restaurants” together when so much effort is invested by the Royal Thai government to help us tell the cream of the crop. It is definitely a Thai place that foodies will want to check out.
*This article was brought to you in partnership with Thai Select.
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