Thai eatery pays homage by serving dishes from defunct heritage vegetarian restaurant

Gabriel Choo
Thai Goldmine Kitchen is located at 147 Kitchener Road, a five-minute walk away from Farrer Park MRT station. (Photo: Gabriel Choo/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

The former Zen Fut Sai Kai, said to be the oldest Chinese vegetarian restaurant in Singapore, used to lie along 147 Kitchener Road. However, it closed its doors in August after 64 years.

In its place is Thai restaurant, Thai Goldmine Kitchen, which offers authentic dishes from the Land of Smiles, with a wide array of starters, salads, soups, curries, meat, fish, rice and vegetable dishes.

Thankfully, not all is lost as Thai Goldmine Kitchen will include a special vegetarian menu as a tribute to its predecessor. The recipes of some of Zen Fut Sai Kai’s signature items such as Luo Han Zai, Luo Han Hor Fun and Fatt Choy Mushroom have been passed down to the new owners.

During the official opening on Saturday (28 October) morning, Zen Fut Sai Kai’s owner, who was present at the event, told Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore that she is satisfied and pleased with how things were, and that she would just enjoy her retirement.

“I am just glad that the heritage (of Chinese vegetarian food) is still being passed down,” said the owner, who only wanted to be known as Mdm Lau. “It would also cater to my fans and followers who have been supporting us all these years,” she added.

Two of the chefs at Thai Goldmine: Chef P Noi (left) and Chef King. (Photo: Gabriel Choo/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Thai Goldmine Kitchen started in 2015 as a hawker stall on the third floor of HarbourFront Centre at the food court Tuckshop. It was born from an idea between two friends, P Kook and P Noi, to bring authentic Thai street food to Singapore friends at an affordable price.

“Our chefs bring with them their collective experiences of different Thai culinary styles and aim to serve happiness on a plate to all who visit us at our eatery through authentic, traditional local Thai food,” said Thai Goldmine Kitchen’s Executive Chef King, who runs the restaurant.

During the official opening, Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore got to try some of the restaurant’s signature dishes as well:

  • Sukhothai Noodles – This dish is made of fresh ingredients including fishcake, honey-roast pork, fried wanton skin, bean sprouts, long beans, minced meat, poached egg, crushed peanuts and home-made Thai chili.
  • Phad Thai – This dish is made of thin, flat rice noodles that have been cooked in a hot wok, alongside home-made sauce, eggs, beansprouts, prawns and squids.
  • Hatyai Fried Chicken with Herbs – This dish is made of winglets that are marinated in a special sauce, which are deep-fried until they become crispy. It also includes a variety of herbs such as lemongrass, pandan leaves, and Thai lime leaves.
(From top left, clockwise) Phad Thai, Sukhothai Noodles, Hatyai Fried Chicken with Herbs, Tom Yum Soup. (Photos: Gabriel Choo/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Zen Fut Sai Kai was famous for bringing customers “back to the past”, with its interior design remaining almost entirely unchanged since 64 years ago. As such, while Thai Goldmine Kitchen has renovated the dining area to follow the vibrant atmosphere in Bangkok, it has also kept a bit of Zen Fut Sai Kai’s design such as the white-tiled walls.

Thai Goldmine Kitchen is pocket-friendly, with most items in the menu ranging from $6 to $8. Delivery is also available for those who wish to eat out. The restaurant is a five-minute walk away from Farrer Park MRT station and opens daily from 11am to 10pm. More information can be found on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

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