If you’ve ever wondered if a Thai restaurant is truly as authentic as they claim to be, the Royal Thai Government is here to save the day with its Thai SELECT certification, which recognises and endorses authentic Thai cuisine around the world.
Launched by the Department of International Trade Promotion, which is from the Ministry of Commerce, Thai SELECT is a seal of approval granted to Thai restaurants that serve genuine Thai cuisine. In 2012, this program was expanded to include ready-to-eat/ready-to-cook processed Thai food.
It’s not easy to get this prestigious award. The Royal Thai Government takes the entire restaurant into consideration and assesses its food, hospitality and ambience. Chefs must also have been trained to prepare bona fide Thai cuisine. Inspections, strict guidelines and training ensure that this endorsement is constantly up-to-date.
When I mean seal of approval, I literally mean it— each approved eatery is awarded with an actual certificate of authenticity which you can look for onsite. It’s usually pasted as a decal, though some restaurants also choose to frame up the actual certificate. That’s how you know if the restaurant you’re dining at serves legitimate Thai food.
Based on its authentic Thai food, decorations and service excellence, the restaurants are each given a certificate, which are divided into a total of four categories. In Singapore, three categories are applicable: Thai SELECT Signature, Thai SELECT Classic and Thai SELECT Casual.
At the time of writing, 1,301 overseas restaurants have received this distinguished award. We’ve rounded up 11 authentic Thai SELECT-endorsed restaurants in Singapore so that you can dine to your heart’s delight, knowing that these places serve the real deal.
1. Yhingthai Palace
Nestled along Purvis Street is Yhingthai Palace, an authentic Thai restaurant that was founded in 1993 by a couple passionate about Thai cuisine.
This impressive restaurant specialises in Thai and Thai-Chinese cuisine, with a heavy emphasis on the freshness, quality and authenticity of all its dishes.
It’s no wonder that Yhingthai Palace was granted the Thai SELECT Signature award, which is given to Thai restaurants offering the best of the best. Think premium quality, refined decorations and excellent service.
The Clear Tom Yum Prawn Soup (S$12 per bowl) is an absolute must-try, as it uses a prawn stock that’s made from scratch. With every sip, I could taste the briny freshness of the prawn heads and a tangy fragrance from the lemongrass and spices. It might look unassuming, but it was packed with serious flavour and was incredibly well done.
My dining companions and I fell in love with the Fresh Pomelo Salad (S$20 for small, S$40 for large) for its well-rounded flavours and textures. The pomelo we had that day was surprisingly sweet and paired well with the toasted coconut flakes, shredded chicken and savoury palm sugar sauce.
Last but not least, Yhingthai Palace’s Thai Green Curry Chicken (S$20 for small, S$30 for medium, S$40 for large) deserves a mention because of its homemade curry paste. Its owner shared that its curry and chilli pastes have been blended in-house since the first day they opened in 1993. When coupled with freshly squeezed coconut milk, this thick and fragrant curry made for a real delight.
2. Un-Yang-Kor-Dai Singapore
Un-Yang-Kor-Dai Singapore is a Thai restaurant along South Beach Road specialising in Thai and Isaan cuisine. Isaan is Thailand’s North-East region and its cuisine has sour and spicy dishes that’ll definitely wake your taste buds up.
In recognition of its authentic Thai and Issan cuisine, premium quality dishes, refined decorations and excellent service, it was given Thai SELECT’s Signature award.
If there’s one thing that you need to try, it’s Un-Yang-Kor-Dai’s Leng Zaap (S$33.90), which features a towering mountain of chunky pork ribs that are doused in a spicy and sour clear broth. It’s flambé tableside, so be sure to whip out your phones for that Instagrammable moment!
Another highly recommended dish is PenLaos Signature Grilled Chicken (S$15 for half chicken, S$26 for whole chicken), a flavourful and tender dish that uses fresh spring chicken that is well-marinated with a robust blend of fresh coriander and white and black peppercorns.
3. Bangkok Jam
Did you know that Bangkok Jam first opened in Singapore in 2007? While its first outlet is at Great World City, this well-loved Thai restaurant has since expanded to Marina Square and Plaza Singapura over the past 15 years.
Helmed by a Thai culinary team, Bangkok Jam dishes out both familiar Thai classics and modern dishes, such as plant-based meat and souffle pancakes, and was given Thai SELECT’s Signature award.
To whet your appetite, start off with the Spicy Mango Salad (S$10.90) and Grilled Pork Skewers (S$12.90), served with Bangkok Jam’s housemade jaew sauce (a Thai chilli dipping sauce).
For mains, go for the classics like Signature Phad Thai (S$14.90) which comes with your choice of chicken, pork or seafood. Those who’d like to opt for a meat-free option can try Bangkok Jam’s Ka Pow OmniMeat (S$15.90), which is served on top of black olive fried rice. A vegan option without egg is also available. Last but not least, be sure to get the Tom Yum Soup (S$11.90), which is available in both Red and Clear options, or the Chicken in Green/Red Curry (S$14.90)!
4. Folks Collective
Folks Collective is an eclectic diner located at Cross Street that’s inspired by the nostalgic vibes of a Bangkok night market that grew out of an abandoned railway station, and it was awarded Thai SELECT’s Signature certificate.
This vibrant shophouse is peppered with vintage trinkets and knick knacks that make it a treat for the eyes. From apothecary walls to salvaged train carriage benches, there’s something in every corner that’ll intrigue you.
The Chef’s Menu features bestsellers as well as seasonal dishes popular with local Thais in Singapore.
For finger food, start off with Miang Khum (S$20), a traditional street food bite from Northern Thailand which literally translates to “food wrapped in leaves” (miang) “in one bite” (kham). While it’s typically used as a welcome snack for guests, this made for a great starter thanks to the appetising freshness of the ingredients— lime, onions, dried shrimp, toasted coconut, peanuts, ginger and chilli padi— which are wrapped in a betel leaf and eaten in one bite.
For those dining in a group, Folks Collective’s Trio Pork Platter (S$30) will be a great option, especially if you’re having drinks. It comes with three different types of pork (pork belly, sun dried pork strips and garlic pork), two chilli dips and sticky rice. Personally, I enjoyed its Salmon Sashimi Yum (S$25), which comprised sashimi slices in a piquant and tangy fermented bean sauce.
My dining companions and I were blown away by Folks Collective’s desserts.
Though the Coconut Milk Pudding Cups (S$10) looked simple, it was our favourite dish of the day due to its incredibly fragrant, sweet and comforting pandan pudding. The Tapioca Kueh (S$10), which was freshly steamed and dusted with grated coconut, was wonderfully light and melted in my mouth. Despite being absolutely stuffed, we polished off every single bit of both desserts. These are a definite must-try!
5. Sabai Fine Thai on the Bay
Sabai Fine Thai on the Bay has a stunning view of Marina Bay in Singapore, given its location within Customs House along Collyer Quay. It was given Thai SELECT’s Signature award.
It was founded in 2004 by Ms Jongkolnee Thoboonme, who wanted to offer Singaporeans a genuine taste of Thai fine dining cuisine. In the kitchen is Chef Samlee, a renowned Thai chef who used to be a former cook for Thai royalty!
As the only fine dining Thai restaurant on this list, you can really expect high quality Thai dishes which will make every cent worth it. For example, its Yam Neua Yang, Bpet Yang (S$29.50) comes with grilled U.S. angus sirloin or roasted duck that’s tossed in a salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, fresh lime and chilli dressing. An absolute must-try is the Gang Gwio Warn Neua, Moo, Gai (S$30), which is authentic green curry with your choice of beef, pork or chicken.
Sabai Fine Thai on the Bay also offers weekly lunch sets, so be sure to check its social media pages or website for the latest menu.
6. Sawadee Thai Cuisine
Having been around since 2001, Sawadee Thai Cuisine has certainly earned its Thai SELECT Signature certification with its authentic and delicious Thai food.
Located in the heart of Bugis (specifically, along Tan Quee Lan Street), Sawadee Thai Cuisine uses fresh ingredients from Thailand and each dish is cooked à la minute upon order.
Sawadee Thai Cuisine’s knockout dishes include the Seafood Phad Thai and Tom Yum Soup. Those feeling adventurous can try their Thai Red Curry Roast Duck, which includes roast duck, lychee and pineapple for a zesty yet spicy kick.
If you’re dining in a group, we recommend you try Sawadee Thai Cuisine’s signature Spicy Steamed Seabass. It’s also known as pla nueng manau, and features a housemade spicy sour sauce that’ll leave your taste buds tingling. For other small bites, try the Crying Tiger Beef or suea rong hai, which is grilled black angus ribeye beef served with a Thai chilli dipping sauce.
Before you leave, be sure to try the Mao Shan Wang Durian Sticky Rice, which marries premium mao shan wang durian with glutinous rice.
For the latest menu and dish prices, check out their website.
7. Kinnari Thai Cuisine
Opened in 2019, Kinnari Thai Cuisine is a family-run Thai restaurant that’s nestled along Joo Chiat Road.
Under the direction of the Thai lady boss, it serves a wide variety of authentic Thai dishes, ranging from Northern to Southern parts of Thailand, and was awarded Thai SELECT’s Classic certificate.
Here, you’ll find dishes that you’ve never come across before, as Kinnari Thai Cuisine aims to introduce lesser-known and underrated Thai dishes to the public so that everyone can have a real taste of Thailand even while in Singapore.
Kickstart your meal with Num Phrik Ong (S$20), a popular starter from Northern Thailand where you pair glutinous rice and raw vegetables with a tomato-based minced pork dip. It also comes with crispy pork skin for that addictive touch.
A dish I really enjoyed was their signature Hor Mok Talay (S$18), a Thai otah dish that’s stuffed in a coconut and topped with coconut flesh, prawns, fish and squid. The otah was incredibly fragrant and sweet and I absolutely loved it. This went perfectly with a plate of Young Coconut Fried Rice (S$15), which is commonly found in central Thailand.
Deep Fried Sea Bass with Spicy Tamarind Sauce (S$38) was the star of the show. It’s a pretty popular dish amongst Thai people and can be easily found in many restaurants in Thailand.
It features an entire deep fried sea bass with plenty of fresh vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, coconut shoots, water mimosa and long beans. The spice level of the tangy chilli gravy that’s poured over the fish is adjustable, so feel free to let the staff know if you’d like it to be mildly spicy or very spicy. If you’re dining in a smaller group, this dish is also available in half portions at S$25.
8. Thai Tantric Restaurant
Hidden away in a quiet corner of Orchard Towers is Thai Tantric Restaurant, a lesser-known spot for authentic Thai cuisine that’s easy on the wallet, ideal for a casual dinner outing with friends or colleagues.
Don’t belittle its elusive and albeit questionable ambience (we hear that you might pass by some KTVs and massage parlours while trying to find this place), because it serves up pretty fabulous Thai food that’ll remind you of the bustling streets of Bangkok— no wonder it was awarded Thai SELECT’s Classic certificate.
Depending on your preference on how you’d like your tom yum soup prepared, you can either go for the Spicy Tom Yum Clear Soup (S$15) or Spicy Tom Yum Thick Soup (S$15), for which you can pick between seafood, prawns or fish for your choice of meat.
A sure crowd-pleaser is the Deep-fried Pork Belly (S$14), which is served with a spicy and sour chilli dip. For mains, we’d recommend either the Pineapple Fried Rice (S$9) or Pad Thai (S$8).
9. Real THAI
You’ll find Real THAI at the basement of Changi City Point (#B1-36), boasting a wide variety of authentic Thai dishes to satiate your craving for Thai food. You can also find Khao Soi Gai here, a hidden gem from Northern Thailand comprising coconut curry noodles with chicken.
Real THAI was awarded the Classic certificate from Thai SELECT, which reflects its high-quality offerings.
Get things rolling with Real THAI’s Thai Southern Fried Chicken, which hails from Hat Yai, a city so far down south in Thailand that it’s actually near the Malaysian border. Whether or not you’re craving a bowl of hearty Beef Thai Boat Noodles or Green Curry, Real THAI’s definitely got something to whet your appetite.
If you’re in the mood for a spicy kick, try Real THAI’s Thai Laksa, also known as khao soi, a signature dish of Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai, which features rich curry with deep-fried crispy egg noodles.
There might be some price adjustments in the future, so do check with the restaurant directly for any price-related enquiries.
10. Beerthai House Restaurant
Located on the first floor of Golden Mile Complex is Beerthai House Restaurant, a family-run Thai restaurant that has been around since the 2000s and was awarded Thai SELECT’s Classic certificate.
Beerthai House Restaurant was opened by Chef Somsak Chomprach, one of the first full-fledged Thai chefs to come to Singapore in the 1980s. Apart from being the President of the International Thai Chef Association of Singapore, Chef Somsak was also the Thai chef for Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s visit to Singapore in 2009— that’s how you know the food served here is genuinely legit!
The food served at Beerthai House Restaurant is authentic to the core. Expect to find favourites that even Thai locals will love, such as Boat Noodles (Pork/Beef) (S$6), Pork Leg Rice (S$6) and even Claypot Prawn Tanghoon (S$25)!
With a stunning Google rating of 4.4 stars (based on 759 reviews), it’s no wonder that Beerthai House Restaurant scored Thai SELECT’s Classic certificate.
Note that you can also find Beerthai House Restaurant’s sister restaurant, Beerthai House 2, within the same building at #01-29/30/31.
11. Thai’D Me Up
This Thai eatery located within Balmoral Plaza is cheekily named Thai’D Me Up, and was awarded Thai SELECT’s Casual certification.
Its chef, who was born and raised in Chiang Mai, was inspired by his childhood in Northern Thailand and decided to marry it with Singapore’s vibrant multicultural scene to create a menu that’s modern yet unpretentious.
Thai’D Me Up shares a unit with its sister brand, Meat You Here, so you can also find western food here. A+ for variety!
Despite its chill vibes (which are perfect for a drink or two), Thai’D Me Up serves up impressive Thai dishes that’ll leave you stuffed.
Get things going with a zesty Grilled Beef Salad (S$15.90), which was fresh and piquant. Pick between Chicken, Pork, Beef (+S$5) and Prawns (+S$5) for the Green Curry (S$10.90), which went fantastically well with the Chicken Cashew Nut (S$12.90).
If you’re dining in a large group, go for its Deep Fried Lemongrass Whole Sea Bass (S$35.90). The fish was already portioned out and deep-fried when it arrived, and was doused in a sour and tangy sauce that was delicious.
* This article was brought to you in partnership with Thai SELECT.
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