Touted as some of the best pad thai you’ll find in Bangkok, you can imagine our dismay when we pulled up to Thip Samai on our last trip and they were closed. This time round, we made sure we had time to return in case the same thing happened again but luckily, as our cab pulled up, the sound of noodles sizzling in clashing woks and the already sizeable queue for a table was a surefire sign that these guys were well and truly open for business.
Despite being almost double the price of a pad thai from the street, Thip Samai continuously churns out plates of pad thai done a number of ways for hungry punters- (both tourists and locals) and has done so since 1966. They must be doing something right don’t you think?
We were seated after a quick ten minute wait as it’s a general understanding that you eat and leave. Thip Samai’s coconut juice which is similar to a slushy and their freshly squeezed orange juice are almost as famous as their pad thai so we started with those. The orange juice is ice-cold and very sweet. No artificial nasties are included in the juice so you know that it is simply the sweetness of the fruit ripened by the tropical sun. Delicious. The coconut juice is refreshing, not overly sweet and is almost completely gone by the time our pad thai arrives.
We eat the Superb pad thai- Chantaburi noodles, shrimps, chives and tofu wrapped in an egg-net. We add a liberal amount of fresh lime juice, dried chilli and crushed peanuts to the noodles together with crunchy bean sprouts. The noodles err towards the wetter style and are orange from the oils and sauces used and they have just the right amount of chew. There’s a real depth of flavour to the dish and it doesn’t need any more seasoning to suit our tastes. The four Thai flavours of sweet, salty, sour and spicy are all represented here in each mouthful.
We also try the ‘beach style’ pad thai which is typical of the style of pad thai you might find from a seaside restaurant. The same prawns, tofu, chives and noodles are used with the egg here being scrambled with the other ingredients. The flavour in this pad thai was dulled down compared to the Superb pad thai, a lot milder and less memorable.
If you want to be guaranteed a decent pad thai then Thip Samai is the place to come. It’s fast, fresh and tasty. And, if you’re already in the area, then you may as well add a pad kee mao to the list too from Raan Jay Fai– it’s a must!
Good to know:
Pad thai ‘beach style’ 80THB
Superb pad thai 80THB
Coconut juice 30THB
Freshly squeezed orange juice (price varies from day to day)
313 Mahachai Road
Address in Thai:
ผัดไทยทิพย์สมัย @ ถนนมหาไชย กรุงเทพ
It’s always a bit of a struggle to get a taxi driver who will take you to this side of town and one who actually knows the address but keep persisting!
Telephone (+66 2) 221 6280
Open 7 days, 5:30pm to 1:30am
Note: another great pad thai can be found at the street vendor on Soi 33 off Sukhumvit- it’s the best 35THB you’ll ever spend.
Images: Thomas Southam