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Feb 25, 2013 04:33 PM

Pam's Real Thai 47th has closed, Pam's Real Thai on 49th is a treat

We used to go to the 47th St stand because they made pla manaw, a delicious steamed whole red snapper with tons of chopped garlic, lime juice, hot pepper, and cashew nuts, which had been on their menu at one time and they would make on request. Were intending to go there yesterday and were greeted with signs saying it had closed and that the 49th St location was open. Glad we did, the food was terrific. Tom yam goong as hot and as sour as one we had at the Bangkok Café in HK years ago and meditate on happily time to time, Yum crispy duck with sliced duck fried as crisp as thick bacon, in a tamarind chile sauce, with pineapple (I keep intending to bring some fresh pineapple in and ask them to make it with that, if they can). Yum nam sod, ground pork with tons off slivered tender ginger and roasted peanuts in a tart and salty lime dressing. Oxtail soup, deeply savory and hot in a tangy tamarind broth, topped with lots of cilantro and fried shallots. Pad prik khing with chicken, lime leaves, long beans, and red curry paste.
No more pla manaw, we were told regretfully because the kitchen is too busy to steam a whole fish, but the same treatment is used on shrimp. A dish of which i wish I had right now. All dishes below, in order of mention except for the duck salad, which is last, and a pic of the pla manaw of happy memory.

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  1. Hmmm...I went there again fairly recently (I guess it was in December), and i thought it was alright, but I find it very hard to get really spicy food there. I prefer Wondee, though getting spicy food there is also hit or miss, and they rarely will even admit they have an actual secret Thai-language menu, let alone translate any of it.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      You just have to ask...see if the guy with the dark-rimmed glasses is there and tell him you want it really spicy. You'll get it. I know this restaurant is distinctly and repeatedly unadmired on CH but I've been eating Thai food here, in the Bay Area, and abroad since the 80s and this was better than anything but the very top-level. Including the sacrosanct Sripraphai.

      1. re: buttertart

        Oh, so I have to find the one guy who will do it for me. Good to know, if I ever go back again. And yeah, this is a bit sarcastic, because any waiter should be able to take care of this for me.

        1. re: Pan

          I just mentioned him because he's especially pleasant. Don't go. Why should I care?

          1. re: buttertart

            I'm not being sarcastic toward you, but about the need to seek out the one person who could give me what I want, which is how I (mis)interpreted what you were saying. I did appreciate your recommendation; I just don't like having to go through unreasonable hoops to have even a slight hope of getting actual spicy food in Southeast Asian restaurants in this borough. The one Thai restaurant that gives me spicy food regularly is Zabb Elee, whose 1-5 spiciness index works decently, but I think that Wondee is more consistently good, though not always spicy.

            1. re: buttertart

              By the way, if your remark "You just have to ask [for food to be made spicy]" is a general remark about Pam's, my experience is otherwise. At least 7/8 of the time, I can't get really spicy food there, regardless of how I ask for it. It's very annoying when "I have been to Thailand and used to live in Malaysia - bring me really spicy food and I promise not to send it back because it's too spicy" is disregarded as "white man's lips moving."

              1. re: Pan

                In other words, "Pan pans Pam's" :-)

                1. re: plf515

                  We are as far from Thai as it gets and have not had that experience there.

        2. re: Pan

          They dumb it down there for the masses.

          1. re: salvati

            Like me, I suppose? Thanks.
            They are catering to people who range from clueless tourists to people who know the cuisine. It's not surprising that if you don't make your desires known, you could get a blah dish. We had been going to the 47th St branch about once a month since it was opened (before that we went to the 49th St one about as often), so the staff know our preferences. However, we have never not been able to get food hot enough even when we first went there.

        3. I have been there a few times and have not been that impressed, although the last time was a couple years ago.

          1. that pad prik khing looks very yummy...i haven't been there recently, but i've had some tasty Southern style dishes there in past...

            1. I walked by Pam's Real Thai today, i remember reading a post, and saw it and it looked closed. I went up the block and there was Pongsri which happens to be a friend of mine's name from Issan, so I looked for Laab on that menu and it wasn't present. I walked further and saw 2 Yum Yum restaurants. I went in and had shrimp pad thai. I believe the people there were Chinese not Thai or Thai/Chinese. The pad thai was possibly the worst I've ever had. Soggy noodles , overly sweet and loaded with msg. The shrimp tasted fine though.
              I just read a Pam Real thread by Ziggy, that is more recent and it seems it is open. Not sure if maybe they are closed on Sunday or it just looked closed.

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodwhisperer

                We usually go on a Sunday. The 47th St location is closed, but not the 49th.