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Home / Chinese Cuisine / ThaiPan @ Changi Village – Is it Thai or Chinese?
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ThaiPan @ Changi Village – Is it Thai or Chinese?
By Alfred May 8, 2009
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ThaiPan @ Changi Village – Is it Thai or Chinese?
Fast Facts
Kang Kong Pai Kwat Wong
Chinese Cuisine
Price Range:
S$21- S$30
Rating Range:
6 to 6.9
Changi (樟宜)
Food Centre:
Recommended For:
Dinner Lunch
Reviewed by:

When my friend Boon Tiong was raving so much after a meal at this restaurant called ThaiPan, I can’t help but had the thought “Ah! At least we’re seeing something new”. Good Thai food sold at affordable prices, now that really got me excited for a while.

But the thing is after looking at his food photos, I came to the realisation that the food isn’t really authentically Thai. I mean I know that Thais eat Kang Kong but I’m not sure they stir fry it in sambal style like that. I know for a fact that beancurd with meat floss on top is Chinese dish. And I have never in my life heard of Thai Curry Fish Head.

So I then went on to do some research about this restaurant and good reviews always seem to pop up. So I had a brief read through and true to my thoughts, they are indeed serving Chinese food in a confusing signboard that reads ThaiPan in disguise of a Thai restaurant.

Of course they do have common Thai dishes here like Pad Thai and Mango Salad. However the reviews of those food are ok only and not exactly impressive. At least it’s clear that those things are not what people go there for. Instead dishes like Butter Squid, Tofu with Crabmeat and Olive Fried Rice are given thumbs up. I then drew my conclusion that this is a restaurant where you can eat Chinese Cze Char food at coffeeshop prices.

I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by the front of the restaurant at Netheranvon Road at Changi Village. As I walked in, I was further impressed by the decor. It isn’t exactly the classiest but it is elegant. I quickly took my seat and keenly flip through menu and realised the prices on the menu are a little off from those I’ve read in reviews. I asked the waitress and she explained that they have different pricing for both branches. Ah ha! So you know which one to go now if you’re not looking to spend that extra more unnecessarily. I must also mention that you have to pay to park at the Civil Service Club at Changi but it is free at Mandarin Gardens.

Now been a keen Cze Char eater, I have patronised many many places. I’m not going to bore you with my credentials but as far I’m concerned, no where can match eating Cze Char at Chinatown Complex Food Centre in value and price. That place has many stalls that can dish out terrific food at terrific prices. I learnt this when they were housed temporarily near the Outram MRT station due to upgrading of that complex.

Now I’m going to put Boon Tiong’s neck on the chopping block by telling you that he convinced me to go and eat at ThaiPan because, in his words, “The Pai Kwat Wong is da best I have ever eaten!”. I know for a fact that Boon Tiong is a real food master and so this place climbed to the top of my to-do list in a speck of time.

I ordered the Pai kwat Wong as Boon had recommended, the Butter Squid as what many positive things had been said about it and a Sambal Kangkong a dish that is so safe that I think a lot is needed for it to go wrong.

The first dish that came is the Sambal Kangkong. It is not bad except that I find it a little too sweet, my partner agrees too. And although it looked pretty red, the spiciness level is really what I would call level 1.

The next dish came is the Butter Squid and it took me by complete surprise because it is indeed squid in butter – literally. Now I had seen photos of it in blogs and forums and it looked deep fried and completely dry, I mean even if you were to order a Butter Crab from any Cze Char place, you wouldn’t expect the crabs to be dosed in buttery liquid right? Ok anyway it tasted ok and it actually was something that looked like half cooked scrambled eggs that is mixed with butter and then pan tossed with the deep fried squid(or at least that’s what I think). It is quite unique indeed but again I found it to be a little too sweet, I would give it more points if the chef had put in a little more salt(or maybe he forgot).

[xrr label=”Meal at Thaipan:” rating=”6.8/10″ group=”s2″]

The dish that I’m coming here for has arrived. I took a piece, close my eyes, took the first bite to taste the ‘pork chop texture’ of the Pai Kwat Wong that I’m so familiar with. But alas, it was different. I found myself chewing on a piece of meat highly tenderised by bicarbonate soda – so tender that even if you were to tell me it’s beef I would had believed. Perhaps more noteworthy is that the flavour is quite good but that’s about it. The texture was quite disappointing. Tenderiser should only be used on beef as far I liked and the taste of it had confused my taste bud with other things and it felt like eating anything but pork.

Now isn’t that very very strange that so many good reviews had been written and yet I find this restaurant dishing out food that had got it wrong at the very basic?

Perhaps the chef had a really bad day or maybe my expectation had shot up too high after reading and hearing all the good things? Or maybe the one at Mandarin Gardens have better chefs? Which leads me to the next question, would I come back again? Well the food isn’t exactly awful and although it’s not the best but it’s far from the worst so of course I will come back again but this time at Mandarin Gardens.

Price: $8+ per dish

Recommendation: Butter Squid(Ask for more salt!)

Conclusion: Affordable prices Cze Char food served at restaurant. On average, cost $1 more than the branch in Mandarin Gardens. For eg, fried noodles cost $4.50 there and $3 at Mandarin Gardens. Only serve Fried Olive Rice at $6 per serving while I read reviews that they do have $1 portion at Mandarin Gardens. Not the best but far from the worst.

Likes: Nice ambience & affordable.

Dislikes: Too sweet. Room for improvement for quality of food.

Address Overall Rating

ThaiPan Restaurant
2 Netheravon Road
Civil Service Club Changi Clubhouse

[xrr label=”Food:” rating=”5/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Value:” rating=”7/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Service:” rating=”7/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Ambience:” rating=”7/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Cleanliness:” rating=”8/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr overall=true group=s1 label=Overall:]

Readers' Comment(s) : 8
Lim Boon Tiong says:

It must be one of those days …. the chef must be in bad mood or something… or your standard may be too high. 😛
Maybe the one at Mandarin Gardens have better chefs?

Just to clarify that the best “Pai Kwat Wong” i tasted at ThaiPan @ Mandarin Gardens is call Jing Du Pork Chop and not the Honey Pork Chop. Do not order the wrong one.

As I was feeling very hungry, thats why I proclaimed that the Jing Du Pork Chop is the Best of the BESTEST, 10 stars raings.
Anyway, I am going to the Mandarin gardens outlet again this sunday and will re-confirm the pork chop. It wont go very wrong. I also want to try the butter squid and tofu with crabmeat.

I actually did not find it too sweet for the dishes as I have a liking for sweet stuff. as I was enjoying the food, I did not think much about the “not so nice” points.

You have to try the Mandarin Gardens branch in the near future to know whether the taste is the same. You get free parking and slightly cheaper prices too. 😉

Posted May 9, 2009
Alfred says:

I think this is a fusion of sort between Chinese and Thai. I must say the food is really not that bad. I will definitely order the butter squid again and ask for more salt 🙂 The fried rice/mee goreng/fried hor fun etc etc is $3 at Mandarin Gardens…that is a steal really, I will try one of those in my next visit!

Posted May 9, 2009
Lim Boon Tiong says:

I will try the $3 fried rice/mee goreng this sunday first and let you know.

Posted May 9, 2009
Alfred says:

Please try more since you have 4 person. Can’t wait to read your reviewed post tomorrow 🙂

Posted May 9, 2009
Lim Boon Tiong says:

the only dish i will order again is the ing Du Pork Chop , the rest will be different dishes.
hope my other 3 friends dont mind. 🙂

Posted May 10, 2009
Alfred says:

Take a picture of the pork chops menu page while the waitress is not looking 😛

Posted May 10, 2009
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