Thai food appears to be everywhere, with restaurants, hole-in- the-wall joints and foodcourt stalls serving it.
And the scene is heating up even more – in the past four months, no fewer than nine eateries offering Thai cuisine have opened.
These new eateries – many by food and beverage groups in Singapore – are serving new dishes such as salted egg yolk mookata and Thai tapas.
Business owners tell The Sunday Times that the Thai food scene has gained much traction over the past few years.
Ms Bonnie Wong, 28, director of marketing and business development of food and beverage group Creative Eateries, says: “Five years ago, you would never see Thai cuisine in a foodcourt. There is definitely a demand for Thai food and people want to jump on the bandwagon.”
Its latest addition is two-month- old Thai gastro-bar Talay Thai in Clarke Quay, which specialises in Thai tapas.
Ms Wong adds: “Our existing brands are either fine-dining or casual restaurants and we wanted Talay Thai to be something different.
“Talay Thai targets the drinking crowd in Clarke Quay. We also thought that a Thai tapas concept would be an interesting twist.”
Indeed, restaurateurs are making sure they stand out from the competition.
Two-month-old Talay Kata at Orchard Central offers a seafood- centric mookata buffet with a choice of soups including a salted egg yolk one.
The eatery is by Jus Delish Group, which also owns Thai restaurant Som Tam in Orchard Central as well as the three-outlet Gin Khao.
Minor Food Group chief executive Arth Prakhunhungsit, 51, is also continuing with the expansion of its brands.
On Tuesday, it will open popular yentafo brand Yentafo Kruengsonge at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard.
Thai yentafo stems from a Hakka dish brought to Thailand by immigrants, says Mr Prakhunhungsit. The dish served at his eatery will feature flat rice noodles topped with various ingredients and yentafo red sauce made with fermented red tofu and cooked Thai red rice.
And on Friday, the group will also open its second Basil Thai Kitchen outlet, at Paragon. The first outlet opened two years ago at Kallang Wave Mall.
Mr Prakhunhungsit says: “Customers are always looking out for something different, so it is good for restaurants to introduce lesser- known dishes to them.”
Mr Eric Koh, 39, managing director of four-month-old Mooks Thai Bistro in Chinatown, is looking to bump up the menu with more options. Its first outlet opened in Bukit Batok more than a year ago.
“People still like tom yum soup and pad thai. But we need to have more variety.”
Other more casual options include Talad Thai in Bedok Mall, which serves Thai street food, and Mookata Express, which offers grilled skewered meat for takeaway.
Upcoming openings include popular Bangkok chain Greyhound Cafe, opening at Paragon next month, as well as a Thai fusion concept by restaurateur and television host Pornsak Prajakwit, who owns the Porn’s restaurant chain.
The burgeoning Thai food scene is naturally good news for fans of the cuisine.
Software engineer Adrian Koh, 35, who enjoys going to Bangkok to eat, says: “I’m planning to check out Talay Kata soon. Mookata and salted egg yolk soup sound like a perfect combination.”
Next page: 5 Thai restaurants you should check out