Baan Ying gets better with new Thai set menus
My first few encounters with Baan Ying's Singapore outlet were not pleasant. Each time I left wondering why we need another Thai restaurant when there were already decent options around.
I returned mainly because others wanted to try it, or it was just a convenient choice.
To be honest, it did get progressively better.
And now, about a year after it landed at Royal Square, the crowd is constant and the food quality has improved.
The menu in Singapore and Thailand is similar, filled with known dishes.The local branch also hired one of Baan Ying's leading chefs from Bangkok to man the kitchen, so you will get the taste of Bangkok.
Baan Ying offers the One Meal Around Thailand promotion till end-September, with three set menus.
The Superior ($58.80) is meant for two, the Deluxe is for four ($128.80), and if you have a party of eight, its Grand Tour menu is at $298.80.
With the set menu, you will also get four types of nam prik (or Thai chilli dip), som tum (green papaya salad), and desserts and herbal tea.
The som tum deserves special mention because it is like a pimped-up version of the usual.
There are lots of ingredients on top (the pork belly and salted vegetable are especially good), and there is even some sort of noodles in it. And of course a sweet/tart/spicy sauce over it. In the end, you may not even get to the papaya.
Do save stomach space for the mains. Your meal will have dishes from all over Thailand, and I loved the two from the south.
The sator pad goong (or stir-fried bitter bean with shrimp from the Deluxe and Grand Tour menus) is basically petai with shrimps.
The bean is milder but just as bitter as the ones in Singapore.
This version is fried in shrimp paste and chilli (so basically a sambal) and the spices do not overwhelm.
The must-try for me is from the Grand Tour menu, the gai tom kamin (or chicken in turmeric broth).
It is slightly tart and savoury, with a hint of herbs. The chicken is secondary.
The northern Lanna region is represented by gaeng hang leh (pork belly curry). It is an earthy, herbal, aromatic take on a curry. It is mild, bordering on sweet, and the sauce works well with the chunks of pork belly.
The geang tae po pla kem (salted fish and morning glory in coconut milk soup) is in the Grand Tour menu, but I would try to swap it out.
The soup is flat and flavourless. It smells fantastic but that is the extent of the appeal.
For a central Thailand dish, go for the gaeng som pae sah (fried sea bass in tamarind soup), found on all the sets. This tangy soup hits the spot.
Let us hope this will be one of the dishes that remains after the promotion is over.