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Korat Thai Cafe

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  • Orchard
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Korat Thai Cafe - Tom Yum Mama Ultra Hotpot
Photograph: Korat Thai CafeKorat Thai Cafe - Tom Yum Mama Ultra Hotpot

Time Out says

When cult-favourite Thai Restaurant Korat Thai Cafe announced its intentions to sell the shop last June, bidding wars ensued. Frankly, this comes as no surprise. But for the uninitiated, the casual eatery is a certified icon in the infamous Orchard Towers, known to dish out authentic Thai flavours at value-for-money prices for the past 16 years. 

Going once, going twice, sold!

Uncertainty is in the air for every fervent fan of the stalwart because takeovers can be nerve-wracking. Today, almost after a year, the business is finally sold for upwards of $200,000. The takeover comes with the recipes for 80 over dishes and the guaranteed commitment of the current chef. And the new owners are Class 95’s radio DJ duo of The Muttons, made up of Justin Ang and Vernon A.

The Muttons are quick to assure that the menu offerings and their respective prices will remain essentially unchanged. Even the interiors are kept the same with bright yellow plastic furniture giving off the inimitable folksy vibe. They expressed that they would want to maintain the legend that is Korat, as part of its charm is that it’s a hole-in-the-wall place.

The pair are ambitious as they revealed that they want to eventually open a few more outlets to make Korat Thai more accessible to the masses. And their intention is pretty simple – have more people try this amazing Thai food.

Confessions and decisions

The Muttons confessed that it wasn’t until only a year ago that they first visited Korat Thai Cafe. But it didn’t take long for them to fall head over heels for the food – talk about love at first bite. “You never forget your first! The crispy omelette was the dish that floored us first. Then came the creamy tom yum soup, Paneang curry, basil pork, and crispy sea bass. It’s one of those ‘how have I never had this’ moments,” exclaims the duo over a chat conversation with us.

Indeed, it was the best Thai food they’ve ever had. Naturally, when they heard about the sale, they were extremely keen. Raymond Ong, the Singaporean owner, hoped to retire in Thailand (where his wife is originally from) along with his family. But only if the 58-year-old could find a buyer that will operate the joint.

“We told a few close friends about it and they all exclaimed, ‘Oh, I love Korat!’ and that’s when it hit us that so many people know about Korat and remember it with great fondness. It just felt right,” shares the dynamic duo.

Not their first rodeo

From co-owning Fook Kin, a trendy Cantonese restaurant that specialises in roast meats, to venturing into fusion Japanese with the now-defunct Itchy Bun, the pair aren’t exactly strangers to the restaurant scene. But one thing’s for sure, you won’t find them behind the woks.

“We have had a few restaurants over the years, and our involvement has always been the same – we are the chief food testers and picture takers,” says Justin. Leaving the food and operations to the experts, the pair assures that all cooking will be executed by the Korat team, who have all stayed on, while the superstar team that runs Fook Kin will be in charge of operations. “The last thing they need is us taking up space in the kitchen,” he adds.

Korat Thai Cafe - Tom Yum Mama Ultra Hotpot
Photograph: Korat Thai CafeKorat Thai Cafe - Tom Yum Mama Ultra Hotpot

Instead, they have been grinding hard in the R&D department, looking to zhuzh up the menu with hip new Thai favourites. “You know the type, Singaporeans flock to Bangkok to eat,” says Justin. Think spicy yet comforting tom yum Mama ultra pot, herbaceous Leng Saap (pork spine soup), creamy Khao Soi (coconut curry egg noodles), garlic cereal prawns and plenty more.

Dawson Tan
Written by
Dawson Tan


Orchard Towers
400 Orchard Rd
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