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Sep 16, 2007 03:02 PM

Thai Noodles


Recently, I read that Sripraphai and another place (Zabb maybe) are not good for noodles. Any recommendations of places in Queens or anywhere really for good Thai noodle dishes?


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  1. Drunken noodles at Sripraphai is a very good dish, favorite of many on this board.

    5 Replies
    1. re: welle

      dunno; found this to be a very weak offering at sri; tasted very much like regular old noodles that either I would make, or from a chinese restaurant with a twist. the point is that it's really spicy right? hence, you order lots of beer to counter the spice, and get drunk, hence drunken noodles. but even at "thai spicy" and even after we hooked it up, it was still basically chow fun. what the deal?

      but I did hear Zabb's is way better.

      1. re: bigjeff

        I've only had it as a take-out, don't know. I had them medium-spicy, they were good. I agree with you though, it's probably not a revelatory awesome dish for a special night out, but if you're a regular and feel like noodles, it's pretty good. I'll take your rec to try Zabb's especially now that they fixed the southern overpass over the BQE...

        1. re: bigjeff

          If you don't like the drunken noodles at Sri, I doubt you'll think they're anything special at Zabb either. It's not as if they're lacking in other options on the menu anyway.

          1. re: bigjeff

            I've never tried the drunken noodles at Sri or Zabb (I lean towards the dishes that other thai joints don't offer when I'm at either of these restaurants), but I do use the dish as a barometer to test whether a thai place can competently balance flavors and take spicing seriously.

            Additionally, my understanding is that the origins of the name Drunken Noodles are somewhat uncertain (the dish is alternately listed as Pad Khee Mao or Drunk-Man Noodles on many menus). While some people agree with bigjeff's explanation that you need a constant flow of beer to offset the spice when this dish is done correctly, I've heard others swear by the following:

            - you have to be drunk to begin with just to handle the spice
            - the dish is a classic post-hangover comfort food
            - So many flavors and ingredients are tossed into this dish that it must have been prepared (or invented) by a drunk man
            - this is often the primary dish served at late-night foodcarts in the streets of bangkok to drunken revelers stumbling their way home

            I love trying to recreate this dish at home, but that sweet-salty-spicy balance is tough to get right. Does anyone have a foolproof recipe they'd recommend? Feel free to post it to the recipes board so we don't take this discussion too far off topic...

            As a final note, while I'm hesitant to ever send anybody anywhere near Sea, they do pull off a pretty terrific take on drunken noodles. Just make sure you insist that it's SPICY (as I've found is necessary just about everywhere).

            1. re: CalJack

              I use this dish as a barometer as's one of my favorites. I remember Sri's being very good but I have only had it once, ages ago. Zabb City's, when requested spicy, had me gulping almost a glass of water per bite--and I loved it. Looking forward to having Zabb Queens, now that I see they are finally open during lunch. Unfortunately a friend had his birthday at SEA. I almost got the noodles and probably should have. For non-Queens, non-Zabb Thai, I still liked Siam Orchid in Williamsburg better than most and I remember their pad kee mao being a tasty rendition.

        2. I like the noodles Ive had at Zabb (the drunken noodles stand out in memory) and some of the noodles at Sripraphai (basil and pork, khao soi), but I understand the pad thai is not good at the latter, if thats what you mean by noodles.

          1. I frequently order the drunken noodles at both Zabb and Sri as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JacksonH

              They're quite good at Arunee as well.

              1. re: JFores

                i also like sri's drunken noodles, but only b/c i have a particularly penchant for all things like and similar to chow fun. something about the thick noodles really tickles my pickle.

                however, for someone that's not a big chow fun person, i've gotten a lot of shrugs or "it's ok" when eating sri's drunken noodles. it's good, but nothing special. i think what i like is that it's downright spicy, not salty or sweet.

                whenever i order the similar chow fun like dish at other thai places - it's called like pad see ew - they go crazy with the soy sauce or some sweet sauce that makes it so unbearably salty and/or sweet.

                1. re: Linda

                  Pad See Ew is a different wide rice noodle dish with broccoli and egg - and yes, it's almost always overwhelmingly sweet or weirdly salty. I don't think it's meant to be spicy, so that may explain part of your disappointment.

              2. I also like the pad kee mao (aka drunken noodles) at Sripraphai as well. But it varies a lot by who is cooking it, which is why I only go when it's not crowded. It's usually a crapshoot when eating there during the most crowded times. In the same week, I've had the usual very good version, and another fairly mediocre version in the same week. Another vote for the khao soy noodles. One of the best noodle dishes in all of NY for me. Another noodle dish that I like a lot is the flat noodle with chicken and yellow squid. Not spicy, but smoky. They don't seem to mess this one up as much as the pad kee mao.

                I'll also put in a vote for the noodle dishes at Zabb. I found the portions smaller than at Sri, but very well executed.

                4 Replies
                1. re: E Eto

                  i agree the drunken noodles are inconsistent. the ones at zabb are good but different--not ground meat. zabb has quite a few interesting noodle dishes.
                  just stay away from the pad thai at sri--it truly is terrible, but not a problem for me, as it's not something i would order anyway.
                  haven't had the khao soy--is that the one that's like pad see yew with the chinese broccoli but without egg and less sweet? if so, i've been meaning to try those. thanks for the tip.

                  1. re: missmasala

                    No. Khao soy is a mild curry broth (actually thicker than a broth) with noodles and then you add vinegar and a sour vegetable. I had it in Chiang Mai and its not easy to find in most U.S. restaurants.

                    1. re: missmasala

                      > is that the one that's like pad see yew with the chinese broccoli but
                      > without egg and less sweet?

                      My guess is that you might be thinking of raat na (sometimes written lard na), often translated as "noodles with gravy." Wide rice noodles, greens, a little meat, and a slightly soupy sauce. Done right, it's one of my favorite comfort foods, but I haven't found any good version of it here.

                      I also love pad see ew as an everyday dish, but can't think of any place I've had it that's good in NYC (see the Texas board for excellent pad see ew in Fort Worth). Bennie's pad see ew (Fulton St in Manhattan) doesn't suck as terribly as Sripraphai's, but that's not saying much.

                      Weirdly, the best fried Thai noodles I ever had in NYC (to distinguish khao soy, khanom jeen, etc.) were at Kin Khao in Soho a few years ago. The pad thai one night was amazing. The waiter assured me the cook was from Bangkok, and he really knew his wok. And then it disappeared. I went once more and it was back to its same old fusiony stuff, not even a vague hint at something better. It's almost like a dream, so improbable and so fantastic, and then gone.

                      1. re: mary shaposhnik

                        ah yes, i am thinking of lard na--which is how i've seen it written.

                        I've come to the conclusion that pad thai is something i will only have at a night market or food court in thailand. I will order pad see yew at sri if I want it's comforting flavor, but i don't fool myself that it's a great rendition. as far as the pad kee mao (aka drunken noodles) i like the sri version most of the time but it seems to be a unique thing as i've never found it made with ground meat like that in thailand.