Took Lae Dee, Bangkok’s most famous 24/7 restaurant chain, has found its way to Singapore, making Tai Seng its first ever branch outside Thailand after 45 years. Took Le Dee means “cheap and good” in Thai. In Bangok, their menu is extensive with not just Thai dishes but also Chinese and Western dishes such as American breakfast, steak & fries. With just a few dollars, you get filled up with good quality food even in the wee hours. That actually sounds like Hans during my secondary school days!
Pad Krapow with Egg 2.8/5
As Took Lae Dee Singapore is still trying to settle down, the menu is restricted to offering Thai staples only. What may first caught your eyes is the signature Pad Krapow (Minced Chicken/Pork with Chilli & Basil Leaves & Rice) which cost only $3.80! But just when you may think its really cheap and good, you will realise that you need to fork out another $1.20 to put that quintessential sunny-side up onto your plate. Cost aside, what's notable is that the original holy basil is being used in this dish, which is a lot stronger than the regular basil. But somehow, I couldn't detect much of the distinct peppery basil taste in this dish, unless I deliberately chewed on the leaves. I also expect quite a bit on my $1.20 egg, which turned out to to like those from cookhouse, with deep fried edges tainted with black flecks. I thought even Thai stalls at hawker centres serve more beautiful suuny-side up these days.
Yum Woon Sen 3.5/5
Som Tum 3.5/5
Both of my favourites Yum Woon Sen ($6 ) and Som Tum ($6) didn't disappoint. The Thai spicy vermicelli salad was full of crunch and a lot of heat with lots of chopped onions, chilli, celery and black fungus. Unlike some versions which the fish sauce tends to overwhelm the entire dish, these 2 salads remained bright and refreshing, though somewhat on the spicy side.
Pad Thai 3/5
Like any outlets in Bangkok where you will find them tuck inside Foodland supermarket, it comes with both table seating and counter seating, where you get to see the chefs in action, even fire blazing at times. That's when you know your dishes will be exuding that extra element of wok hei. The Pad Thai ($5/6.20) comes with a choice chicken or prawn, though on the sweeter side, was redeemed by that extra flavour.
Pad Pak Boong 3.5/5
The Pad Pak Boong or Thai Morning Glory ($5) has that wok hei flavour as well, and quite crunchy. Some of you may prefer this to the sambal chilli style.
Kang Keaw Wan 2.8/5
The Kang Keaw Wan, Thai Green Curry with Chicken/Pork/Beef ($7/$8) surprised me with its lightness as all the recipes are said to be the original. I was expecting it to be a lot more robust and rich. This spicy dish of a creamy consistency calls for freshly made green curry paste, basil leaves, chillies, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk and fish sauce.
Tom Yum Soup 2.8/5
The Tom Yum Soup ($6/$8)) was actually not too bad but the seafood seemed to be from remnants.
Took Lae Dee Iced Milk Tea 3.5/5
I don't usually order Thai Milk Tea because the sweetness is just too much but the Took Lae Dee Iced Milk Tea ($2.80) was really well balanced with the acidity and sweetness. Best part is that I got to add in the milk myself! After all the spicy and strong flavours fighting in my mouth, this is a much needed remedy to cleanse the palate.
If you are lucky, there may be seasonal Mango Sticky Rice available on your visit.
Took Lae Dee here is not 24hours unlike Bangkok, which is a pity as I really feel that much of the spirit of this brand is lost - the vibrancy, the extensive menu of comfort food, affordable pricing. Perhaps dining at the counter seats will allow you to have a better feel of it, it will elevate the taste of the food for sure.
Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.
Took Lae Dee
18 Tai Seng Street
Nearest MRT: Tai Seng (CC Line)
Daily: 11am - 9pm
1) Alight at Tai Seng MRT station. Take Exit C. Go to ground level. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]