Food & Travel

The Travelling Table: A Good Plate of Pad Thai

By Anonymous Paul on 13 February, 2011

Pad Thai is probably the Thai food portal. It’s so simple yet so good that it just piques ones interest and sucks you in to find out about other great Thai dishes. At least that’s how it was for me. This dish was born on the streets and I find they do taste best when eaten in its natural habitat. One need not spend upwards of Bht40 to get a great plate. Very rarely will you see Thais order this in proper restaurants with a proper meal along with other viands as, however good, it’s still considered a one-dish-meal quickly eaten during hurried lunch breaks. It would be like ordering tapsilog over at a lauriat.

But hey, I’ve probably eaten this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Preferably at places like this (which also abounds every Bangkok neighborhood).

Here is a one dish shop-house wherein this husband and wife combo have been banging out pad thais for definitely more than at least a decade now. An efficient mise en place surrounds whoever’s cooking with tamarind water, rice noodles, chili flakes, bean sprouts, tofu, dried shrimp, eggs, crushed peanuts, chives, sugar and manao. Nothing else. (No, there is no ketchup). And everything gets cooked in one wok, one order at a time. Which can be a bummer if you get to the place with more than a handful of people in line. But what you will always get is something very consistent.


Step 1. Step 2.

They plop in front of you a blue melamine plate of spicy, eggy, al dente noodles with a bit of brininess and pungency you get from the dried fermented shrimp. You then top the plate with even more bean sprouts, garlic chives and a squeeze of manao (lime) to balance fresh and fried flavors.

Step 3.

And then as a final step before eating: tweak with vinegared chilis, chili flakes, patis and sugar. Mix, mix, mix and then be surrounded with the sound of serious eating…silence.

70 Soi Somboon Panya
off Siphraya Rd, Bangrak
Bangkok, Thailand


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  • FEBRUARY 13, 2011 10:44 AM

    Kitchyart said...

    Wow. Was just thinking of Pad Thai! Any suggestions where to get the best one in Manila?

  • FEBRUARY 14, 2011 5:22 AM

    anonymous paul said...

    I would say the usual suspects, Azu Thai or Benjarong? But they still don't do it for me as much as the BKK street versions. On top of that, I can't get over the price difference so I don't normally order it here.

  • FEBRUARY 14, 2011 9:54 AM

    Kitchyart said...

    Just had some Pad Thai in People's Palace, couldn't help myself. You are so right though, it lacks the street flavor!

    There's a small Thai place in the Manila area called Sala Thai. Should check it out again some time.

  • FEBRUARY 17, 2011 4:24 AM

    Anonymous said...

    @kitchyart: I used to go to Sala Thai many years ago. Drove by a couple of weeks back and noticed it wasn't there anymore. Did I just not spot it or have they maybe moved, or closed down? Would you know?

    @paul: was just in Bangkok this weekend and never got to have a Pad Thai that satisfied...had it at Chatuchak, but I've had better...wish I could have had it on the street...maybe then i would have gotten my Pad Thai fix...


  • FEBRUARY 17, 2011 5:20 AM

    anonymous paul said...

    Yeah we tried to go there a few months back and I think it had actually closed shop. Or moved? I just tried calling now and their numbers have been disconnected.

    When in BKK next time try going to Thip Samai on Thanon Mahachai ( ; website's all in Thai though)

    Pretty famous. But locals are divided if it's the "best". A little bit more expensive than street prices but still not bad. There's was always an old lady outside the shophouse that sold some killer mango and sticky rice.

  • FEBRUARY 18, 2011 9:00 AM

    Anonymous said...

    thanks, paul. will surely look for that when I next get to Bangkok.

  • FEBRUARY 26, 2011 2:05 AM

    Angel said...

    Wow authentic pad thai fresh from the streets of Bangkok! How much would a plate cost in peso? Thai restos here in Iloilo are a little pricey...

  • FEBRUARY 26, 2011 2:21 AM

    anonymous paul said...

    Hi Angel, if they average about Bht40 per plate that's just under P60.