on the fourth floor

Karen and I decided to continue our odyssey of trying out eateries in or near local red light districts (so far we’ve done Geylang and Joo Chiat). So I suggested we do Orchard Towers next, whereupon Karen suggested we try this place called Jane Thai Food there.

Orchard Towers, home to many pubs and clubs, is infamously known as the ‘four floors of whores’, and Jane Thai Food is located on its fourth floor!

All this talk of ‘four floors’ and ‘fourth floor’ reminds me of linguist William Labov’s 1966 study of the variable pronunciation of r in New York City. He went to three New York department stores which catered to different socioeconomic groups (high, middle and low) and studied how their employees pronounced the phrase ‘fourth floor’. To get an employee to utter this phrase naturally, an interviewer, posing as a customer, would ask for directions for a department located on the fourth floor. So when the interviewer asked, ‘Excuse me, where are the women’s shoes?’, the answer would usually be, ‘Fourth floor.’

When I first learnt about this study in university, I found Labov’s method of eliciting information very entertaining indeed! Imagine if you were the unwitting subject of a study! But you’d never know, of course! Anyway, you can read a summary of the study here, or the full paper here. But I digress.

So after work on 20 July, I reached Orchard Towers and entered it for the first time in my life. Like Lucky Plaza or Far East Shopping Centre (not Plaza!), both its exterior and interior are somewhat dilapidated.

To my surprise, there was barely anyone hanging around inside, although it was a Friday evening. Perhaps the night was still young or everybody was already inside the pubs and clubs. Raced up to the fourth floor (there I go again) to Jane Thai Food, where Karen had been waiting for me for about 45 minutes. Very very very sorry, dear! :( So we quickly ordered.

Felt like something cold so I ordered iced milk tea ($2). This was rich and sweet but tasted a bit too herbal. I think I prefer the one from Nong Thai Beer House at Golden Mile Complex.

We had seafood tomyam soup ($10), which was sour and spicy and very appetizing. The soup contained squid, mussels and prawns, which were reasonably fresh.

Karen’s spoon poised for attack!

We also tried their green chicken curry ($10). The curry was mildly spicy and contained the rich flavour of coconut milk. I could also taste the different notes from the various spices used, but my tongue is not advanced enough to identify them all. Sadly, the curry contained rather little chicken, which were also in terribly tiny pieces! Jane, if you have to give only a few pieces, then at least let those pieces be chunky please! The curry also contained baby eggplants sliced in halves. Had never seen such small eggplants before!

And we also had fried prawn rings ($10). The batter was crispy and the prawns inside were fresh and crunchy! Super nice! I think they tasted great on their own and there was no need to dip them into the accompanying Thai chilli sauce. There were only four rings so each cost a whopping $2.50!!! But they were completely worth it!!!

The bill came up to $34. Like Nong Thai, the food is good but pricey! Wouldn’t mind returning to try their other dishes like those containing pork, though!

Jane Thai Food
400 Orchard Road
Orchard Towers
Singapore 238875
+65 9054 4219


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