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Thai Noodles

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gtrekker2003 Sep 16, 2007 03:02 PM

Hi!

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?

gtrekker2003

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  1. welle RE: gtrekker2003 Sep 17, 2007 11:04 AM

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

    5 Replies
    1. re: welle
      bigjeff RE: welle Sep 18, 2007 05:32 PM

      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
        welle RE: bigjeff Sep 19, 2007 07:40 AM

        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
          j
          JacksonH RE: bigjeff Sep 19, 2007 09:07 AM

          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
            CalJack RE: bigjeff Sep 19, 2007 11:05 AM

            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
              n
              NancyC RE: CalJack Jul 7, 2008 05:28 PM

              I use this dish as a barometer as well...it'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. jen kalb RE: gtrekker2003 Sep 17, 2007 05:11 PM

          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. j
            JacksonH RE: gtrekker2003 Sep 17, 2007 06:19 PM

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: JacksonH
              h
              Helen F RE: JacksonH Sep 18, 2007 03:04 PM

              They're quite good at Arunee as well.

            2. j
              JFores RE: gtrekker2003 Sep 18, 2007 04:13 PM

              Chao Thai.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JFores
                Linda RE: JFores Sep 19, 2007 02:25 PM

                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
                  CalJack RE: Linda Sep 19, 2007 04:24 PM

                  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. E Eto RE: gtrekker2003 Sep 19, 2007 02:36 PM

                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
                  missmasala RE: E Eto Sep 19, 2007 06:50 PM

                  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
                    j
                    jdf RE: missmasala Sep 19, 2007 07:07 PM

                    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
                      m
                      mary shaposhnik RE: missmasala Sep 19, 2007 08:45 PM

                      > 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
                        missmasala RE: mary shaposhnik Oct 1, 2007 10:22 AM

                        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.

                  2. p
                    pynchoff RE: gtrekker2003 Sep 19, 2007 03:47 PM

                    The curry noodle soup at Sri is excellent.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: pynchoff
                      Linda RE: pynchoff Oct 1, 2007 07:24 AM

                      after seeing recommendations here and wanting to try thai outside of sripriphai, i tried zabb. i also had walked by recently and the place was decently busy.

                      i went on a w/e evening around 7pm. we were the only ones in the restaurant. i thought perhaps a little rain that had started was the reason. in addition to no other dining counterparts, when we first walked in, there was no one to seat us either. odd, i thought. it took 5 minutes for a waitress to emerge from the back. during the wait, we sat ourselves down and i grabbed menus, but i started to have a bad feeling about this meal.

                      the a/c was way, way too cold - again, perhaps b/c we were the only ones in there. we sat by the window, under the a/c, so we wouldn't freeze during our meal. upon sitting down, i noticed a nice, dead fly perched right next to our table on the front window. how nice.

                      i ordered a papaya salad, pad see ew, and a chicken dish mixed with veggies. all fairly generic dishes.

                      the pad see ew and chicken dish that was mainly string beans and not chicken were ok, nothing special at all. the noodles were dry and too sweet.

                      but the papaya salad was inedible. i had mistakenly ordered the first papaya salad listed under "salads". i noticed it said it came with a salted crab, which i thought should be harmless. i was wrong. it was a raw crab, that smelled old and fishy. the fishy taste permeated throughout the entire salad and i couldn't eat the salad without thoughts of gagging. don't get me wrong - i LOVE fish. but, i have not developed such a palette to enjoy the fishy taste that reminds me of south street seaport. i love fish sauce and fish, but this was too much. i apologetically told the waitress that this was not what i had expected and i could not eat it. she then said that b/c she assumed we were korean, we would enjoy it. i told her that even if it was supposed to be fishy, the crab tasted old. she took it back, and i apologized for the misunderstanding.

                      i had expected her to either take it off the check or at least bring us the "other" papaya salad she recommended, but neither happened. i didn't want to make a big fuss about it and the sig other hates confrontations, so we paid for the untouched salad, even left a nice tip, and left. i was fuming, but at this point, i know i will never go back and i know that my review here will hopefully be read and taken note by others.

                      i understand it was my mistake for ordering it, but the rest of the meal was not great anyway for me to look past the inedible salad.

                      in addition, i thought it was odd that the one waitress then sat down at a table with 2 friends and started eating her dinner. it wasn't even 8pm - is this not primetime for dinner? i just thought the entire eating experience was off - from the dead fly, the waitress' demeanor, the papaya salad, everything.

                      i am sorry sripriphai for forsaking you! lesson learned. :-)

                      1. re: Linda
                        w
                        Widmark RE: Linda Oct 1, 2007 08:51 AM

                        They're open late and tend to get busy later on. The service can be totally questionable, but personally I wouldn't be too upset if a place didn't take a dish off the bill that I ordered by accident and didn't like. I've gone there and to Zabb City many times and had many great meals.

                        1. re: Widmark
                          Linda RE: Widmark Oct 1, 2007 09:19 AM

                          yes, it's unfortunate that my first experience was subpar, as it makes it difficult to justify another visit. i don't plan to visit again, but at least i tried. i just wanted to throw out my experience so people can make their own visits and judgments without expecting too much or too little. :-)

                        2. re: Linda
                          E Eto RE: Linda Oct 1, 2007 02:06 PM

                          Looks like you didn't order to their strengths and got, like you say, generic stuff, which aren't much better than you can get elsewhere. Remember they specialize in northern Thai cuisine, so you would be better off ordering things like the various larb, or the sausage, and other Issan items as well as the hot pot dish. Also, the restaurant really fills up after 10pm, and I believe it's open until 2am. And the service can by spotty, but they usually more than make up for it with the food.

                      2. j
                        Jack Barber RE: gtrekker2003 Oct 1, 2007 09:00 PM

                        Is there a good place to get kuay teow style noodle soups? I may have my terminology wrong but I mean the kind you get on the street in Thailand. Flour based noodles w/ pork balls; ba mee mu daeng, thin egg noodles w/ red pork; etc? I've seen similar looking things on the menu at Sri, but not exactly.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Jack Barber
                          y
                          yt28 RE: Jack Barber Jul 4, 2008 07:01 AM

                          Nusara Thai does noodles very very well. They definitely have noodles with pork balls (and liver); and their fish balls/cake is very fresh and tasty.

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