Hidden Gems at Upper Thomson

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By Faith Ho (22A01A), Lara Tan (22A01B) and Mei Feifei (22A13A)

Tired of Junction 8? Been to Jai Thai for the hundredth time? Bored of mala (how dare you!)? Located just a short bus ride (or walk for fellow Gryphon Challengers) away, Upper Thomson is an undiscovered trove of treasures. As self-proclaimed food lovers, we couldn’t resist checking it out. Here are a few places we tried!

Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice

244P Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574369

The unassuming shopfront 

Ordering here is simple: choose your ingredients from whatever is available behind the display window, then with a few crisp snips, the chops are quickly chopped up and laid neatly over a plate of rice. The dish is finally completed with a generous coating of Hainanese curry. 

We were immediately impressed by the portion size. Unlike the cafes along this stretch of road that adopt a more minimalistic style of plating, the curry rice store was not afraid to pile heaps of deep-fried delectables on its customers, combined with the overflowing amounts of curry sauce.

(To the messy eaters: beware that the generous serving of curry will make this dish a slightly risky choice.) 

Look at all this meat! 

The smooth, viscous curry was well-complemented by the crispy eponymous scissors-cut meat. While we found that the meats were not very savoury on their own, the curry that they were drenched in added much tang to their crispiness. 

On the whole, our bellies were well-satisfied by the sheer portion size, and we agreed that there is good reason why curry rice is considered a beloved comfort food. 

Soi19: Thai Wonton Mee

244R Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574369

The million-dollar question (and the reason for our food adventure): What is Thai wanton mee?

Just a stone’s throw away from the curry rice is Soi19, a family-run hawker business selling both local and regional delights with an added Thai twist. We ordered the eponymous wonton mee and curry noodles. 

Won’t go wrong with wonton

Though at first bite it was unclear what exactly made it Thai, there was no doubt the wonton mee was the star of lunch that day. The noodles were springy and moist, packing a surprising amount of flavour despite an apparent lack of sauce. The small chunks of roasted pork also integrated into the dish perfectly, and the fried wonton was indisputably sinful but oh so good. 

If you’re not a fan of lard, though, we’d advise you to request not to have any in your serving. While you’re definitely not obligated to eat every chunk (it’s technically supposed to just add flavour), we couldn’t help but sink our teeth into the fried cubes of fatty animal goodness. 

Overall, the wonton mee did not disappoint; the accompanying small bowl of soup was a delightful happy ending to the entire meal. 

Keep calm and curry on 

The other dish we tried was the curry noodles. The amount of ingredients in the curry was rather substantial, giving us good value for our money spent. The curry also was quite flavourful, though we did wish it could be spicier—it fell just short of giving that kick. The only part of the dish that was lacking was the vegetables, which were slightly on the limp side; but thankfully, the amount of ingredients made up for that. 

Salted Caramel

246F Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574370

Vibes. Source: Foodie FC

What better way to end off a meal than with something cold and sweet? Situated along the same row of shops as Soi9, Salted Caramel is a dessert shop that serves ice cream, waffles and drinks. 

One certainly cannot accuse them of a limited range of ice cream flavour options—there were so many that it took us a couple of (rather embarrassing) minutes to choose. The selection ranged from more conventional options such as Strawberry and Salted Caramel (surprise!) to more unique flavours such as Kaya Toast and Blue Milk. 

Wanting to try as many flavours as possible, we decided to order a waffle cone bowl and tried the Horlicks Tim Tam, Chamomile Honey, Blue Milk, and Isphahan (a berry flavoured scoop). While opinion towards the Horlicks was divided, the Chamomile Honey was a fan favourite—it was sweet, but not too sweet. The waffle bowl itself was on the right side of crunchiness, complementing the ice cream well with its texture. 

Presenting: ice cream galore

We also ordered a matcha latte—which was really more latte than matcha, with its sweet and milky taste overpowering the notes of matcha. If you have never had a matcha latte before, this is a good starter to send you down the rabbit hole; but for the more ardent matcha fans, you might want to find something with a more intense taste. 

Chamomile honey is the clear star of the dessert, accompanied by a faithful steward

At $18 for four ice cream scoops and a waffle bowl, prices are in the mid-range of dessert affordability. However, the substantial size of the scoops and depth of flavour gave us a good return on our money. The ambiance of the place was also rather cosy, and was a great place to end the day. 

Our overall verdict? Upper Thomson is filled with delicious food haunts guaranteed to leave you full and happy. Here, it’s always worth it to take the path less ventured: apart from the many cafes, why not surprise yourself with a visit to one of these hole-in-the-wall restaurants? 

Bon appetit!

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