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May 3, 2008 08:41 AM

Pam Real Thai

i just went to Pam Real Thai on 49th street this week after reading such good reviews of the place in the past (although i can't seem to find them now on chowhound). i was pretty disappointed. maybe i've been spoiled by sripraphai, but i thought Pam REal was pretty average. they weren't terrible, but i wouldn't make a special effort to go there again.

my dining mate and i shared a fried taro-root cube appetizer. t hat was pretty tasty, actually. and then your standard green papaya salad, which was pretty standard, but definitely no spiciness in it.

entrees -- green curry with overcooked dry chicken. the curry itself was pretty OK, nothign special.
and one on the "chef's recommendations" list -- sauteed fish fillet with veggies, which was deep friend nuggets of fish fillet (i.e., NOT fresh fish!), and sauteed chopped bokchoy with garlic, which i could have made myself at home.

overall, it was an OK restaurant. i'd probably go back if i lived in the neighborhood, but since i have Pongsri in Chinatown nearby me, i'll just stick with Pongsri.

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  1. never understood why this place got rave reviews....i had the same mediocre assessment as you

      1. re: cimui

        i think it gets good reviews b/c it may be better than most of the ones on 9th Ave but that isn't saying much. One of my foodie friends took us for dinner there after the theater several yrs ago. i wasn't blown away then and was surprised that he recommended it so highly b/c he really knows food. i;ve been to pam real thai encore twice over the past few months. thought it was good but wouldn't miss it if it closed. the pad thai had red sauce on it! what was that???!?!

        1. re: farang

          It didn't taste like ketchup but I can ask them. Do Thais do something different to ketchup? I didn't like the taste much and am more accustomed to the taste of Jaiya's pad thai. Actually, I've never seen this before but it is interesting to hear it may not be unusual. It is great to hear from someone in Bangkok to get a sense of what is authentic b/c I actually felt the sauce made the dish seem more Americanized.

          1. re: nativeNYer

            I think in Thailand and NY, you've got those into ketchup and those not into it. Personally, I'm not a fan of ketchup in my pad thai and would rather have the redness and flavor come from tamarind, chili and palm sugar.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              Miss Needle, Have you ever tried the pad thai at Jaiya? If yes, do they prepare it with tamarind and palm sugar (I know they use chili)? It is worlds apart from any pad thai I've ever tasted.

              1. re: nativeNYer

                No, I haven't had it at Jaiya. If I'm there, I'll make sure to give it a try. If the pad thai is really red, it's probably from ketchup. If it's more of a brownish-red, it's probably the tamarind and chili combo. Actually, the best pad thai I've had was what I've made at home using chez pim's method. In Thailand, pad thai is considered very quick street food. At home, I've made it using more "luxurious" ingredients like big fat prawns. I don't add as much oil as she does and use more veggies to make it healthier (in spite of her insistence that pad thai isn't diet food). In order to not get the noodles to stick, I add more water. If you're so inclined, you should perhaps give it a try one day.


                1. re: Miss Needle

                  thank you! this sounds fabulous and is greatly appreciated!

                2. re: nativeNYer

                  the pad thai is good at jaiya . toon;s is equally good

        2. It's been quite a while since I lived in the neighborhood, but your assessment of Pam echoes my own. Honestly, when I started going to Sri, I pretty much gave up on Thai in Manhattan. But Pongsri's Chinatown branch is indeed decent as Manhattan Thai goes.

          1. Pam Real Thai is good value for money but in absolute terms, its really nothing to write home about. Try Rhong-Tiam on 541 LaGuardia Place (between 3rd & Bleeker) - its new and not well known at all. I used to practically live in Thailand and love Thai food but all of my many NYC Thai food experiences have been disappointing so far until I discovered Rhong Tiam. They do all the classics really well - Watercress on Fire, Pad Thai, etc. And I highly reccommend the fish dishes - including the poached fish with lime and fresh bird eye chilli and the one in the sweet plum sauce.

            6 Replies
            1. re: ywwan

              Very nice tip, ywwan. Thanks for posting this!

              1. re: ywwan

                Just don't go for lunch. I've tried it twice for lunch and I think the kitchen staff is probably totally different at that time. The food is borderline awful, same crap as served out by any other Thai joint in the city. They have this weird vegetable soup they serve before the meal that tastes like Knorr soup mix watered down 1000 times.

                1. re: Peter Cuce

                  tai thai on 2nd street is pretty solid as well its got some decent dishes, good curries, a couple of our friends from bkk work there. But real thai food is almost impossible to find in nyc some good stuff but khao ka moo, ped ka pao, thai muslim curries. roti ect.... thai fried chicken, nam sod, the best stuff gotta go to la to find, unfortunatly

                  1. re: farang

                    When you say NYC, you mean Manhattan, right? There's plenty of good Thai food in Queens.

                2. re: ywwan

                  Thanks for the rec, ywwan. I live in the area and didn't know about this place.

                  1. re: ywwan

                    I'll try Rhong Tiam tonite, thanks for the rec,, i hope it compares to Toon's where i go most often

                  2. try Toon's for authentic thai