One of the requisites when I was hunting for a place to live was: It must be near FOOD! Nothing beats the convenience of walking down your apartment to find a good variety waiting to satisfy the hunger when it strikes. I imagined residents living around Blk 151 in the heartlands of Bishan would be happy for this reason alone because, not only do they get a decent selection from the coffeeshop, they're now pampered with more choices from the casual eatery next door, Chang Thai at 151, which serves delicious and affordable Thai cuisine!
Chang Thai is founded by three young lads, John, Mitsu and Ian (they're only in their late 20s to 30!) who are brought together by the passion for Thai food and fueled by a desire to share quality Thai cuisine at reasonable prices.
They entrusted the kitchen to Head Chef, Alex (also known as "Somkid"), who started cooking since age 12! Wow, we're talking about more than 13 years of culinary experience!
Chef Alex's repertoire of dishes is nothing less than mind-boggling, with over 50 items on the menu!
Comprising of appetizer, salad, soup, curry, mains of chicken, beef, pork, seafood, fish, vegetables, as well as noodle and rice dishes, we can expect to find perennial favorites such as Mango Salad ($6), Tom Yum Seafood Soup (S/$7, M/$10), Green Curry (S/$7, M/$10), Phad Thai (S/$6, M/$9), Pineapple Fried Rice (S/$6, M/$8) and Pork Basil with Rice (S/$6.50, M/$8.50).
Nothing is priced over $10, except for fish dishes such as their signature Steam Whole Seabass with Lemongrass ($25). Still, it's a steal when there is no additional service charge or GST.
It can be dangerous in an indulgence way when my friends left me to do the ordering, because I always tend to over-order. Lol! Between the four of us, we shared and finished all the 10 dishes + 2 desserts you see in this post here. The reason is simple: Overall, all the dishes we had were delectable, albeit to varying degree. We know it's unrealistic to expect every single dish to be executed to authentic perfection, but also wondered if flavors of some dishes are purposely muted a level down to better suit the heartland crowd it's targeting.
Standouts include the Prawn Cake (3pcs/$5.80) with a thin crispy batter enveloping fresh bouncy prawn paste, tender and succulent Thai-style Grilled Pork (S/$7, M/$9), deep-fried golden nuggets of Garlic Honey Chicken (S/$6, M/$8) tossed in a lip-smacking sweet sauce, and nondescript-looking Thai-style Kangkong in Garlic & Chilli (S/$6, M/$8) which surprise! surprise! has the elusive smokey wok-hei flavor and beautiful crunch in each mouthful! These are simply delightful!
If I have only tummy space for a simple one-dish meal, I will choose the Beef Noodle Soup ($7). A sip of the broth imparted a robust beefy flavor that wonderfully filled the entire mouth, warm and inviting the chunks of meltingly tender beef to come right in. Beef balls did taste a tad generic but nevertheless enjoyable. The skinny rice noodles were thin and smooth, definitely worth every carb-calories! All in all, it was an utterly slurpilicious combination!
There's only 3 type of desserts available, Red Ruby with Jackfruit ($5), Mango Sticky Rice ($6) and Tapioca with Coconut Milk ($4), but we thought three might be too much of a crowd in the tummy and went for the former two only (regretting now).
Chang Thai's rendition of chilled red ruby is one of the best I've tasted, homemade water chestnut balls with a nice balance of starchy and crunchy bite, nicely complemented with sago, coconut milk, and the refreshing taste of jackfruit. The paring of sweet ripe mango and evenly cooked soft sticky rice is one classic which you wouldn't wanna miss either.
My friends enjoyed the food that evening and had no complains about the place I've chosen either (phew!). In fact, they love Chang Thai for its homely cosy ambience in air-con comfort (there's al fresco seating too), a place where they can dress down, totally relax and eat without worries of fitting into the pretentiousness of hipster joints. They even suggested we should go to another neighbourhood gem for our next makan outing again!
A neighbourhood gem. Chang Thai at 151 certainly is!
Chang Thai At 151
Address: Blk 151, Bishan Street 11, #01-195, Singapore 570151
Contact: +65 8556 6899
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10pm / Fri-Sat 11am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm