Thip Samai is perhaps Bangkok’s best-known pad Thai eatery. However, its original Mahachai Road location (which has been operating since 1966) near the heart of Bangkok is only open from 5pm for dinner - but I was supposed to meet my Bangkok uncles/aunts for lunch. So, a cousin decided that we should to go to Thip Samai’s other outlet - the one at Putta Monthon, 1.5 hour’s drive north of Bangkok which is opened for lunch as well.
The menu is the same, but my Bangkok relatives preferred the food at the Putta Monthon branch which, they felt, has a nicer atmosphere compared to the one at Mahachai Road which has “farang”/foreign clientele.
Anyway, I thought the pad Thai I had at Thip Samai in Putta Monthon was singularly the best-tasting rendition I’d ever tasted!
Pad Thai Sen Jan Man Goong (ผัดไทเส้นจันมันกุ้ง) - where the noodles were fried in essence from the shrimp-heads, giving the dish an intense shrimp flavour.
Pad Thai Haw Kai Goong Sot (ผัดไทห่อไข่กุ้งสด) - a special Pad Thai, wrapped in egg omelette.
Don’t miss this one with crab-meat - it’s simply divine! Pad Thai Song-Kreung using glass noodles - with crabmeat, shrimps, dried cuttlefish and green mango.
The more rustic ambience at Putta Monthon, close to a popular Buddhist township, has a relaxed atmosphere compared to Thip Samai’s touristy Mahachai Road branch. And the cooking here is marvellous!
That crab Pad Thai looks amazing! Thanks Peter.
It tasted truly amazing, too! Must-try if/when you go to Bangkok, Will.
I returned to Thip Samai again last week, after a year away from Thailand. The line was reasonable, I got there at 4:50 and was seated by 5:15 or so. I kept it simple and ordered the egg wrapped Pad Thai with a small bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice. Pad Thai was 200 Baht and the OJ was 60 Baht, if memory serves. Service was a bit slow but not bad.
Presentation was good, the pad thai really looks good in the “omelette” wrap. I dug in and it was good but missing that fishy flavor that I liked so much. I think they may be toning the spice/seasoning level down a bit because I am obviously not Thai. Still very good, just not as good as it was in the past. Or are my taste buds getting a bit jaded? Not sure. In hindsight, I wonder if ordering the 300 Baht version with crab would have been a better choice? But if it was still kind of bland I would have been no better off, I guess.
The OJ was just as good as always, pulpy, sweet and cold. Love that stuff. Very nice meal.
Hit Petit Peyton across the street for a cappuccino and a couple chapters of a good book afterwards, how convenient! LOL!
Thip Samai’s original location on Mahachai Road is also near what Bangkokians call the “Ghost Gate” (Thai: Pratu Phee) - a stretch near the old temples and the outer grounds of the Grand Palace. The place got its name as, in the old days, bodies of criminals who were executed were carried out through those gates. Street vendors congregate to feed the people who came to receive the bodies and performed the last rites. The food market grew & grew and, today, the name still lingers on even if the gates are no longer there. “Pratu Phee food stalls” is what Bangkokians would refer to this stretch of hawker stalls, more famous for its good food than its morbid past.
Great history on the area, Peter! I am glad I discovered that stretch of road, even if Thip Samai has gone a bit touristy over the years. It is still a nice place to visit and I really like Petit Peyton for their fairly good coffee and their really nice atmosphere. Great place to sit with a coffee and read. I am in the area to catch water taxis fairly frequently, since it is so close to Phanfa Pier, so it is a good place to stop and cool down, then grab a bite. I wouldn’t have connected the Grand Palace to Mahachai, they seem like they are pretty distant, am I missing something?
I have to try Jay Fai next time, the line drove me away the last time I was there. And I have to admit that I am kind of cheap, so 1000B is a tough choice for me to make, Michelin Star or not.
Thanon Mahachai is only 5 minutes’ drive from the Grand Palace, or perhaps a 15 minutes’ walk.
Ever since the Michelin Guide rated it, the crowd has been impossible.
wow… did not know they had an alternate location. Wasn’t at all impressed by Thip Samai on Thanon Mahachai… Would rather spend more money at Raan Jay Fai. Perhaps I should try Putta Monthon next time
Yes, away from Bangkok, so the clientele is all-Thai.