Hearty Thai fare at a coffee shop
If you like Thai food that packs sufficient heat without bringing tears to your eyes, head to Ying Thai, a coffee shop stall in Ang Mo Kio.
With generous ingredients, plentiful portions and reasonable prices, the dishes offer great bang for your buck.
My favourite dish is the pad sii yew with pork ($5.50), the Thai version of fried kway teow. The flat rice noodles are tossed in Thai dark soya sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce until they are beautifully caramelised with hints of a smoky wok flavour.
Try the noodles on their own first before squeezing the wedge of lime over them.
The well-marinated slices of lean pork are tender. Carrot slices with serrated edges, crunchy bean sprouts and fried egg lend bulk and texture to the dish.
The best-value dish is the basil pork with rice ($6) which comes with a sunny side-up egg.
It is a common offering, but Ying Thai keeps it as authentic as possible with the use of Thai holy basil (krapow) instead of the more commonly available Thai sweet basil (horapha). The hefty portion can easily feed two if you also want to try other dishes.
The tom yum seafood soup ($7) is punchy with spice and tang, but will not set your tongue on fire.
Each bowl comes with three unshelled, fresh and sweet sea prawns, though they have been deveined and their heads removed.
Fresh squid and slices of toman swim in the soup that is thickened with a splash of evaporated milk. It would be perfect if not for the slightly fishy odour from the toman, though lemongrass and Thai lime leaves add a citrusy aroma. White beech mushrooms elevate the dish.
Do not let the creamy green curry chicken ($6) lull you into thinking that it is harmless. It packs heat, along with the rich flavours of spices such as coriander and galangal. You get substantial chunks of boneless chicken thigh meat, with carrots, long beans and brinjal.
Even the mango salad ($5.50) is served in a hearty portion. It is well-balanced with savoury, sweet, tangy and spicy flavours, and the topping of cashew nuts adds a touch of opulence.
Where: Ying Thai, Stall 1, 01-1771, 122 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
Open: Tuesdays to Sundays, 11am to 3pm and 5 to 8.30pm. Closed on Mondays