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Jan 23, 2014 12:22 PM

In search of... Albuquerque's best Pad Thai

I'm putting together an article idea about where to get great Pad Thai in the ABQ metro area (not Santa Fe).

So, here's my inquiry to you and all of your expertise: where can one find delicious and authentic* Pad Thai in Albuquerque?

*by "authentic" I mean to invoke a little thought - peanut sauced dishes are OUT (yes I've had "pad thai" sauced with peanut sauce - ick), as are creative takes on the noodles used, et cetera.

I'm looking for places using the basic flavor parameters/ingredients outlined by ChezPim: tamarind/fish-sauce/palm-sugar, rice noodles, shrimp, tofu, ground peanuts, bean sprouts. Here's her take:

Thank you so much and have a wonderful rest of your Thursday!

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  1. I can't answer that but will be interested to see if you get any replies (hello out there Southwest board?). Since living in Asia, we rarely go to Asian restaurants. Sometimes Buddai, but that's not Thai. Good luck.

    1. Siam Cafe on San Mateo may not quite set the world on fire, but it's totally solid, certainly the best Thai I've had in NM. Their Pad Thai is right on par with the rest of their menu, definitely worth a try.

      6 Replies
      1. re: finlero

        Hey finlero, Have you been to Siam Cafe recently? It used to be my favorite Thai place in Abq, but the last time I went with my niece, it was appallingly bad.

        1. re: ninrn

          I've been there in the last 3 months for sure, and it was as decent as ever. I've never quite been able to sing its praises from the mountaintops, but it was definitely not appallingly bad.

          1. re: finlero

            I'm glad to hear it. We must have been there on a really rough night. Years ago, it was very good. Never knock-you-over excellent, but the best Thai in NM and always fresh-tasting. Around 2004, I don't remember if they were sold to someone else or what, but all the old staff left except for the one guy who's still there, and things started gradually declining. Still wish them well, though.

        2. re: finlero

          Thanks for the Siam nod - I thought their Pad Thai was nicely balanced, BUT. I am beginning to see that Thai in this town (or possibly in this country?) is going to be weak on the "sour" aspect and therefore not really balanced at all.

          Americans seem to hate sour things (unless you're 10 and eating sour apple candy), so I'm guessing that a native Thai kitchen is going to feature the sour/bitter components in much better harmony with the sweet/spicy.

          Thoughts on that?

          1. re: tenacity

            Only that you should definitely come up to Santa Fe on a Monday and get Talin's hot and sour cucumber dish.

            1. re: tenacity

              I agree, tenacity. That's what I miss in Thai food here and most places, the pungency, which I guess is sour plus bitter. I think that's what makes Thai food really headily good when it's good. I also miss all the fresh herbs. It seems like a lot of places here just whack on some cilantro and call it a day.

          2. I've been to Siam quite a bit over the years, but not recently. I also like to try dishes other than Pad Thai, but my favorite Thai places these days are Vegan Thai on Osuna and Jasmine, off I-25 and Jefferson.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tfallath

              Aha, tfallath, that's where it is. My chiropractor told me it was good but couldn't remember the name of it. We'll try it.

              We used to go to Siam too but haven't been in several years. I make a pretty mean Thai green curry often at home and that seems to do it for us.

            2. I'll throw in a few places that have had amazing Thai for me, even if I have not yet tried their Pad Thai:
              - Tara Thai
              - Thai Cuisine II
              - Thai Tip

              3 Replies
                1. re: sandiasingh

                  Absolutely! Small, strip mall places, but all pretty good. Thai Tip has a designation on its menu: mild, medium, NM Hot, Thai Hot. Good little spot.

                  1. re: tfallath

                    Great--thank you! We will give it a go.

              1. Update: Tara Thai is the best so far, but even it wasn't amazing. I could actually smell fish sauce and taste the tamarind, so that's a plus. The noodles had no visible sauce at all - very dry (maybe they soaked up too much?).

                Thai Cuisine II is up next.