River Wok – a place to discover Indochina cuisine from Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia

River Wok, a new restaurant that specialises in Indochina cuisine, just held its official grand opening celebrations on 3 May 2018.

Helmed by Executive Chef Kantha Chookiat, who has over 30 years of culinary experience in the region, the restaurant’s menu features traditional favourites and reinterpretations of well-known dishes from Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. The Thailand-born chef has earned recognition among many distinguished individuals, having served Singapore’s late Founding Father and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and royalties like Prince Edward, the Princess of Monaco and the King and Queen of Sweden. Having drawn inspiration from his travels all around the world to places like Germany, Indonesia and India, his food has earned him the title of “Indo-Chinese Treasure” in Cuisine and Wine Asia Magazine.

The restaurant is located in the vicinity of Robertson Quay and diners can choose to either dine al fresco, with a view of the Singapore River, or…

…dine indoors, where it is much cooler (i.e. for those who don’t like the warm and humid weather).

All diners will be served with some crispy keropok, whilst waiting for your food to arrive.

I’m not familiar with Laotian food, so I was glad to have the opportunity to try some of the dishes.

Koi Pa Salmon ($18)
A Laotian dish consisting of marinated Norwegian Salmon sashimi cubes, with Asian herbs in chilli and lemon juice.

This sat in a crispy shell, which made it feel as though you are eating kueh pie tee, but with a different filling. The standard serving comes with three of these wanton-like shells. Traditionally a different fish is used in this dish in Laos, but since the fish cannot be found in Singapore, salmon is used in its place.

Nam Khao Hor ($14 – this is the non-vegetarian version)

Laotian hand rolled rice paper with lemon marinated minced chicken, roasted rice crumbles and greens.

As I had never tried Laotian food before dining here, I had always assumed that rice paper rolls were uniquely Vietnamese, so I learnt something new from dining here! The ingredients were a well balance of flavours and I enjoyed the crunch from the roasted rice crumbles. Hmm…I concluded that I prefer Laotian fresh rice paper rolls over the Vietnamese version!

The dish pictured above was a tasting size, but the normal serving comes with four pieces.

Yam Tuapoo Goong Sod ($16)

This is a traditional Thai Wing Bean and Tiger Prawn Salad, which also includes shredded chicken, boiled egg, fish sauce, lime juice, chilli paste, coconut cream, topped with fried shallots and roasted grated coconut.

The wing beans were crunchy and I thought the salad was refreshing, with a hint of spiciness. My hubby on the other hand felt it tasted too “green”, as he isn’t a big fan of veggies. I would recommend this to those who do like crunchy greens and want a spicy entrée.

Pho Bo (Wagyu) ($26)

A premium version of the traditional Vietnamese dish, as it is served with sliced Wagyu beef, which is then cooked at your table after you place them into the rich and flavourful clear beef broth. Bean sprouts, herbs and some veggies are served on the side, so that diners can add to their liking.

If you want to ensure that your beef gets cooked, don’t wait too long before putting them into the bowl, as the soup is still hot when it arrives at your table.

The tender slices of wagyu beef made this classic Vietnamese dish feel so luxurious!

Gaeng Phed Ped Yang ($22)

Roasted duck in a rich and flavourful Thai red curry with Thai eggplant, pineapple, grapes, cherry tomatoes and white beech mushrooms.

I loved the rich fragrance of the coconut gravy and felt that the various fruit that were added to this dish gave an extra dimension to the flavours. Overall, the curry was a little on the sweet side, but I really enjoyed it even though it was my first time having duck curry and I concluded that it’s probably my new favourite curry dish!

Banh Chuoi ($12)

A savoury Vietnamese dessert consisting of banana fritters and black sesame ice cream, served with some gula melaka sauce drizzled over.

Just two words to describe this – goreng pisang!! The black sesame ice cream went down well with the fried banana. If you are an unadventurous diner, this would be a safe dessert to order.

Khao Neow Ma Muang ($10)

A traditional Thai sweet sticky rice pudding paired with slices of sweet mango and coconut cream, with a sprinkling of black sesame over the top.

The rice ball reminded me of eating ketupat, except that this was made using glutinous rice and when we cut into it, we found that it was still warm! Remember to leave room in your stomach if you want to order this dessert – I was stuffed from all the earlier dishes and thus was trying to find a spare slot in my stomach to be able to digest this! Loved the sweet slices of mango, which accompanied this dessert (but then again, I’m biased to anything that’s mango)!

More pictures from their Grand Opening celebrations…

The lions from the lion dance troupe had earlier left an auspicious message on the ground, shaped using mandarin orange segments. This was followed by some traditional Thai dance performances.

Various canapes were served, but I only managed to try some of them.

Indonesian Chicken Satay and Vietnamese Sugarcane Prawns

Both were tasty morsels and some other guests agreed that the satay was really good! Satay is available in the restaurant’s menu at $28 for a dozen sticks, including cucumber, onion and rice cake.

Roast Beef with Caramelised Onions and Truffle Sauce

Chicken Balls with Tamarind Sauce and Rice Crumbs

This was really good and very flavourful!

Passion Crush
A cocktail comprising a mix of cointreau, rum, kaffir lime leaves and passion fruit.

It was quite a pleasant combination of flavours.

Smokey Sunset
The presentation was interesting and this cocktail consists of Grand Marnier, lemongrass, spiced rum, lime and orange juice.

I found the taste of the lemongrass rather overpowering and the alcohol was rather strong. It was my least favourite out of the three cocktails that I had tried.

Coco Bay
This concoction is served in a young coconut and contains lime, coriander, coconut cream and gin.

My favourite cocktail of the night, as I found the flavours very pleasant and easy to drink. This cocktail is available at the restaurant, but if you can’t find it on the menu, do enquire with the wait staff.


Overall, the food was much better than I had expected. It was my first time trying Laotian food and I did like it! However, the dishes that really stood out for me were the Duck Curry and the Pho Bo with Wagyu.

This place is good for those who want a variety of food, as there is a selection of different dishes representative of the different countries (i.e. Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia).

River Wok
80 Mohamed Sultan Road, The Pier, #01-12, Singapore 239013.
Opening Hours: Daily 12pm to 11:00pm (Last Order at 10:30pm)
Telephone: (65) 6732 1126
Getting There by MRT:
9-min walk from Fort Canning station
15-min walk from Clarke Quay station

Disclaimer: This was a media tasting session, but all opinions expressed are entirely of my own.

Categories: Asian, Eating in Singapore, Laotian, Thai, Vietnamese | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Next Door Deli

Next Door Deli is a neighbourhood eatery and is opened by the same owner of Pine Garden’s Cakes which is located next door.

You’ll need to place your order at the cashier and one of these gadgets will be passed to you. Collect your food when the buzzer goes off.

They serve both local and western fare at reasonable prices and it appears their chicken wings are rather popular with most customers – you can choose between the fried version or barbequed ones.

Here’s what we’ve tried at this place…

Soup of the Day – On the day I was there, this was a Tomato Soup. Not bad, the soup was of a good consistency and you can see bits of tomato in it.

On another day, it was Mushroom Soup – This was good too! It was extremely flavourful and I could taste and see that a substantial amount of mushrooms went into making this soup.

Wok-Fried Laksa – This is a modern dry version of laksa which still retains the flavours of the dish and even has strips of taupok in it! It also comes with a fish cake and one crispy chicken wing, which was quite nice. I thought the laksa was very aromatic and flavourful and will definitely order it again.

Boneless Chicken Curry Rice – The curry was aromatic, flavourful and had a familiar home-cooked feel to it. Yummy!

Ribeye Steak – My hubby ordered this and seemed quite happy with it. I didn’t try it so I can’t tell you how it tasted.

Chocolate Lava Cake with vanilla ice-cream – The lava cake didn’t have any chocolate oozing out of it when I cut into it. It was more like a block of chocolate cake. The taste of the chocolate was quite nice for a chocolate cake but if you are expecting a lava cake then you’re in for a disappointment. Perhaps they should rename this dish.

Chinese New Year Specials

Golden Prosperity – The name of the dish sounds auspicious and it is actually dory fish nuggets created to represent an abundance of golden ingots. This is served with tangy orange-lemon sauce and roasted Japanese sweet potatoes on the side. The citrus sauce gives a refreshing zesty feel to the dish. Overall quite nice but I thought the sweet potato slices were a little dry. Available from 24 Jan to 14 Feb 2014.

Seasonal Fortune Yu Sheng – Available from 24 Jan to 14 Feb 2014, it’s a delightful raw fish salad with a nice combination of sauces which were not too sweet or too sour and just the way I like it. The one in this photo is the small portion for 2-3 pax ($9.80). They have a larger portion for 4-8 pax which costs $18.

This eatery has an interesting promotion every Friday, which is called “Boss-Not-Around FRIDAY“. It is actually a game of chance (or what the locals will call tikam tikam) and after you have placed your order at the cashier, you are asked to pick a ticket to see what sure-win prize you will receive. Guess who successfully picked up the 20% discount? ^_^

Next Door Deli
Blk 529, Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, #01-2369,
Singapore 560529.

Phone: 64586180


Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 11.30am to 10.00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10.00am to 10.00pm
Breakfast available on Saturdays & Sundays from 10.00am till 11.30am

Categories: Asian, Eating in Singapore, Local, Western | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Cine Café

It was a lazy Saturday and I had rushed down to Lido for a movie after doing the usual round of household chores in the morning. Was running late and most of the eateries had long queues and were packed with the Saturday crowds so I decided to check out what kind of food the recently renovated cinema had to offer….

Found this little café and was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s opened by the Les Amis group. The café serves a variety of Asian and Western dishes.

There were already quite a number of people eating there but thankfully we managed to find a table.

Orders have to be placed at the counter and payment is also made there. You can bring the drinks to your table but the food will be served to you.
We were told that we had to wait about 7-10min for our food and were asked whether it was ok. I guess it may be too long a wait for the usual movie-going crowd?? There was a regular customer who placed his order after me and I overheard the counter staff telling him that “the waiting time today will longer than usual”…..
Hmm…does this mean the food will generally take <7min to be served on other days?

This was our order number…

Spaghetti Bolognese – Ahh…my stomach was extremely happy with this as it felt like comfort food! The serving was of a good size and the minced beef and sauce were done just the way I like.

Mee Siam – This came with prawns and the gravy had the right proportion of sourness in it. Not bad but I still think my mum’s version tastes better! (^o^)

Iced Tea – This was the standard iced tea and you’ll need to add sugar syrup to taste. Just thought I’d include this pic to complete the meal… hah

I’ll definitely come back to dine here the next time when I’m watching a movie at Lido!! ^_^

Cine Café
350 Orchard Road,
Shaw House #05-21,
Singapore 238868.
Tel: 67358858
Opening Hours: 10am to 11pm daily

Categories: Asian, Eating in Singapore, Local, Western | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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