Took Lae Dee – Cheap and Good Thai Food in Tai Seng!
Looking for quick and affordable Thai food in Singapore? Took Lae Dee is the place to go! Their Thai name, ‘Took Lae Dee’, literally translates to ‘Cheap and Good’. Originally a famous 24/7 restaurant chain in Bangkok, the brand is launching its first overseas branch here in Singapore on 18 May. Sadly, we will not be getting the same 24-hour operating service here in Singapore. Located just opposite Tai Seng MRT, Took Lae Dee’s approach is simple – to serve authentic restaurant-quality Thai food at low prices.
The Pad Krapow (pictured above), which is one of Took Lae Dee’s main dishes, comes in at just $3.80! It features a choice of minced chicken or pork, stir-fried with plenty of Thai holy basil leaves. It’s worth noting that Took Lae Dee cooks everything to order – their food comes straight off the wok and comes to you piping hot, the way Thai food should be eaten. The Pad Kaprow comes with a serving of white rice topped with a crispy fried egg, which still had a soft runny yolk in the centre. Though the strong aroma of the holy basil might not appeal to some palates, I found that it did not overpower the flavour of the minced meat and actually complemented it quite nicely. The minced meat was rather salty but this gets balanced out when it is eaten with the rice.
Regarded as one of Thailand’s national dishes, Pad Thai had to have a spot in Took Lae Dee’s menu. The dish definitely looked the part. It comes with rice noodles stir-fried with eggs, tamarind pulp as well as fresh bean sprouts. Roasted peanuts are served on the side to add a nice nutty crunch to the dish. Though the noodles were well-cooked and slightly springy, I did find that they were a bit too sweet for my liking. That being said, those with a sweet tooth might enjoy this rendition of Pad Thai. A squeeze of lime could provide some acidity to cut through the sweetness.
Took Lae Dee also offers other must-try Thai classics. Their Thai Tom Yum Spicy and Sour Soup ($6.80) comes with an option of chicken or seafood. The seafood version contained fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, chillies and a variety of Thai herbs. This deep red Tom Yum Soup is sour but only slightly spicy. The fish was cooked well and remained moist, while the squid retained its springiness. The restaurant also serves a Kang Keaw Wan Thai Green Curry ($7.00) which can be served with either chicken, pork or beef. Our green curry came with chicken and was made with green curry paste, basil leaves, chillies, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk as well as fish sauce. Not only did this green curry carry a strong fragrance of basil, it was also a paler green and not as rich as others that I have tasted.
If you’d like some salads or vegetables to accompany your dishes, you can try their Yum Woon Sen (Spicy Vermicelli Salad) or the Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad) at $6.00 each. The Yum Woon Sen was essentially a plate of translucent vermicelli tossed in a sour and slightly sweet dressing. This was complete with toppings of minced chicken, black fungus and two juicy shrimps. The addition of sliced shallots added a bit of crunch to each bite. Their Som Tum, however, is definitely not for the faint of heart – it was really spicy! The salad is also tossed with a sour Thai dressing. This dish had plenty of crunchy textures coming from the thin strips of green papaya, nuts and green beans. The halved cherry tomatoes provided some sweetness and was a relief from the spiciness of the dish. For $5.00, you can also order the Pad Pak Boon, which is Thai Morning Glory stir-fried with chilli and minced garlic.
Took Lae Dee also served us their delicious Mango Sticky rice – their off-menu dessert dish for the day. The restaurant intends to serve specials such as these depending on what ingredients are in season at the time. The sticky and sweet rice comes with large slices of juicy mango. The mung beans sprinkled over the top of the rice added a contrasting crunchy texture. Though the rice is already marinaded in coconut milk, more is served on the side. Adding the creamy coconut milk further moistened the sticky rice and intensified its flavour.
If you’re feeling thirsty, you should definitely try the Took Lae Dee Iced Milk Tea ($2.80). This real Ceylon tea comes with a blend of condensed and evaporated milk served on the side. This allows you to adjust how creamy and how sweet you would like your tea. Interestingly, the ice cubes are actually made from the tea itself, which prevents the tea from getting diluted! This is definitely a refreshing drink to have on a hot day. The restaurant also serves the an Iced Butterfly Pea Tea ($2.80). The famous blue Butterfly Pea flower is commonly used to provide a natural blue colour to rice and other dishes. The blue flower is brewed before being mixed with the soda and a few slices of lime. The brewed solution actually reacts with the citrus in the lime when mixed and turns from blue to purple!
Took Lae Dee
Address: 18 Tai Seng Street #01-34/35/K9, Singapore 539775,
Phone: 6272 2000
Opening Hours: 11am to 9pm daily (last order 8:30pm).
Since you are here, why not also check out our Weekend Guide To Eating At Tai Seng?
Note: This is an invited tasting.