thai express, changi airport

okayish neo-thai food at this across-the-island chain at changi airport’s terminal three. I have a soft spot for this place – much as I did busaba in london – it’s not the most authentic, and doesn’t bear comparison to my favourite thai place in singapore – but this place reminds me of years-long-past relaxing after-a-hectic-schoolday meals with friends.

so while I may have outgrown this place – I return ever-so-often. it’s to thai food what sushi tei is to japanese (though the latter has higher standards), and rather cheap and cheerful.


they’ve expanded their menu in recent years, and I confess to not keeping up-to-date. I always order the same thing anyway –

the yam mamuang (or green mango salad), which comes as a quite tall mound of unripe green mango slivers in a sweet-and-spicy sauce. the heat of the dish differs outlet to outlet – but the dressing is consistently sweeter and more viscous than you’d get in more authentic places.

the tom yum kung – the clear sort, more sour than spicy, but which still packs enough of a punch to leave me red-faced and sniffly at the end of the meal, and the phat thai talay. the portion of noodles seems to be dwindling – though still a decent enough portion of noodles, cooked till sticky but not-too-soft. it’s on the sweeter side too, but I like that (and I like the chopped peanuts on the side too) – as well as the seafood and vegetables tossed through it.

we did manage to try something new this time – this dish of sauteed greens with tofu, small but serviceable, as well as the kaeng daeng gai (or chicken curry with potato). the curry was thick and rich with coconut and disintegrated spuds, and came with quarters of fried bread reminiscent of prata – a bit greasy but otherwise good for dipping. quite a good dish.

when I started writing, I thought to say that standards have dropped, but it might be fairer to concede that I’ve done a whole lot of eating since those earlier years, and that lends to a harsher objective review. take it for what it is – a mid-range cafe aimed at getting decently acceptable out to you quickly and at prices more than reasonable for the comfort of having fuss-free thai food.

don’t compare it to proper thai restaurants, and if you have the same level of nostalgia seasoning your meals here (or even without) – it’ll do you just fine.

Thai Express (Changi Airport T3)
Departure Hall, Level 3
#03-33 Mezzanine North
Singapore 819663
tel +65 6214 3116
$$: fifteen to twenty a person

*if you’re wondering, I use “neo” to refer to the sort of places you’d bring your less culinarily-adventurous friends to try out a new cuisine – much like wagamama for japanese in the UK, or panda express in the US.

ok, maybe not panda express.

10 thoughts on “thai express, changi airport

  1. true that! i still return to those restaurants that i used to frequent when i was a poor broke student too! not the most authentic or refined but its affordability and mass market appeal is what draws me back. as long as i tamper my expectations accordingly.

  2. looks delicious – what is the dish second from the bottom – looks like a peanut sauce? I went to a Swiss- Thai place here today with colleagues, would fit into your Neo category perfectly, I couldn’t face trying the food so had a beer instead. I guess that makes me a food snob…….oh well

    • oh dear :/ I can’t quite tell if swiss-thai would be good – did your colleagues like it? that dish second-from-bottom is a red chicken curry – but quite a thick one, because the potatoes had disintegrated into it – which is probably why it looks like peanut sauce!

      actually come to think of it, a thai-inspired spicy fondue might be interesting!

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