I’ve barely taken a step into Long Chim, and it feels like I’ve been transported to the streets of Thailand. The restaurant is perfumed by a faint aroma of wok-tossed dishes, chefs engage in a lively chatter as they clang ladles and woks, and the walls are brought to life with murals painted by Thai artists.
The restaurant, located at Marina Bay Sands, barely needs an introduction. Not when the chef behind it is David Thompson, a gourmet nomad who’s lived in Thailand for over 15 years, travelling from north to south, learning from the locals and perfecting their family-taught recipes.
The unpretentious restaurant invites diners to sample the best of Thai cuisine in a casual setting. The spiciness has been toned down just a notch, but marketing director, Kong Kum Hoong, is quick to defend its stand. “Our food may be a little less spicy than what you’d get in Thailand, but our chefs won’t agree to remove certain flavours or spices from a dish to suit the customer’s taste buds."
The Thai milk tea ($10), unfortunately, isn’t as sweet or dense as I’d like it to be, but the mellowed version pairs perfectly with cured pork fritters ($18) and dried prawns and coconut in betel leaves ($14). The former feels much like a dish you could snack on nonstop, while the latter is an acquired taste, with its crunch and complexity of flavours whetting the appetite.
The sour orange curry of snakehead fish ($29), similar to our local Assam dish, packs a punch with sour and firey flavours. Its signature Pad Thai ($30) costs much more than what you’d pay on the street and reminds me of a certain dish that made headlines years ago (Chatterbox’s Chicken rice, anyone?). Of course, what you get is a generous serving of crunchy beansprouts and prawns tossed with rice noodles. This version is also slightly wetter compared to what you get in Thailand.
That said, it’s worth heading back to the restaurant just for its Chiang Mai chicken curry noodles (only available as part of its lunch menu). My dining partner confirms that this is the closest as he remembers the dish to be, as he reminisces devouring the it after a day of cycling through Chiang Mai’s mountainous areas. The noodles, imported from Thailand, are similar to Chinese flat yellow noodles (Mee Pok), but thinner and without the taste of alkaline water. The crisp egg slices and noodles absorb just the right amount of curry, and the hint of lime keeps the flavours light.
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands