Spicy Curry at Thai Singha

Last week’s Profiled Luncher Mike reports to us on one of his favorite Thai spots in University City to try their lunch special for the first time.

I’m going to say it right now. I’m going to have trouble finding bad things to say about Thai Singha House which is located at 39th and Chestnut. Like I mentioned in my Luncher Profile, I am a big fan of ethnic food and Thai is up there among my favorite types. Here in West Philly, we have a number of Thai options such as Pattaya Grill and Thai Singha House, where I usually go. While I have been here many times in the past, I have never visited in time for their Lunch Special (which runs from 11 AM to 2:30 PM). In fact, I can’t remember the last time I went to a sit-down lunch. OK, I’m getting off track.

The first thing you will notice about Thai Singha House is that it is actually an attractive place inside. It is decorated with Thai statuettes and artwork and feels like a nice restaurant where you would eat well prepared food. I’m usually not one to care or worry about ambiance in the places where I eat, but I know this is a large concern to many people so I figure it’s worth mentioning.

After quickly looking over the lunch menu (each option is $7.95), I knew which dish I was going to order. I am generally a fan of Thai curry bowls so I opted to try their Red Curry (Gang Daeng) with Beef. I ordered and specified that I wanted it spicy. Our dishes came out lightning fast and came accompanied with a side plate of a little salad-like slaw, a mound of white rice, and an orange slice.

The dish I ordered is described as having vegetables with fresh sweet basil in a Thai red coconut cream curry sauce. These vegetables include red pepper slices, green pepper slices, and a lot of bamboo slices. The broth is rich and milky and speckled with plenty of red pepper flakes and spots of chili oil. I found the flavors in the curry to be balanced very well. The spice was at the exact level I like, a little burn with every bite, but not so much that it is covering up all of the dish’s flavors. When I have ordered similar curry dishes at other Thai restaurants, one recurring issue I find is that they use way too much sliced bamboo as filler. At Thai Singha House, this was not the case. I feel that there are appropriate amounts of each of the ingredients, including the beef, which many other restaurants will skimp on.

My only slight issue with the dish is the way the beef is prepared. I’ve never had the beef in Thai curries prepared any other way, but that doesn’t mean I like the way it is. I think the beef is boiled, though I’m not really sure. It makes the beef this pale grey color that isn’t that visually appealing. I don’t have that big of a problem with the beef though since it still tastes quite good when it’s coated in the delicious Red Curry. After I ate all the contents of the bowl, I loaded the white rice mound into the remaining curry to soak up every last bite.

After scrutinizing this meal, I still really enjoy Thai Singha House. I left with the satisfied feeling of a full stomach and a slight tingling sensation resonating in my mouth from the spices and I look forward to the next time I can enjoy Singha’s Thai offerings.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Good atmosphere inside
  • Fast, attentive service
  • Delicious Thai dishes that can be made spicy
  • Large, filling portions

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I don’t like my beef boiled
  • Only 6 menu items on the lunch special

Thai Singha, 3939 Chestnut St (@ 40th), 215-382-8001



  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Are you sure that’s beef? Sure looks like chicken. Either way, it looks pretty good.

  • @Mira Haha yeah I’m sure it was beef. That’s why I was commenting on the the strange greyish color and how I assume it’s been boiled to be cooked.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I love that place. I use to go there almost every weekend when I was in college. A lot of asian dishes have ‘boiled’ beef. Pho has thin cuts of steak they put in at the end and let the soup’s temperature cook it. My mom makes a sour soup with slices of beef boiled. I never though of it looking weird though… the cool thing about the boiled meat, it’s normally think cut of meat, and it’s like ‘blanching’ the meat so it’s not tough from a long cooking time.

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