Thipsamai: Bangkok’s Best Pad Thai
Nestled in the bustling streets of Bangkok, Thipsamai is not just a restaurant; it’s a culinary journey into the heart of perfection. It’s a place where tradition and precision intersect, crafting pad thai that’s not just a dish but a legacy, one that’s shared with locals and travelers alike.
Name (Thai): ทิพย์สมัย ผัดไทยประตูผี
Address: 313-315 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 12:00 AM, closed on Tuesdays
Eating the Pad Thai at Thipsamai is an experience like no other. Thipsamai’s version of this iconic dish is elevated to another level with its three signature ingredients. First, the sen Chan noodles are the star of the show. They’re longer, softer, and incredibly tender, offering the perfect texture for the dish. Second, the secret prawn-oil recipe is where the magic happens. It’s made from the rich, flavorful fat extracted from the heads of river and deep-sea prawns, combined with an exquisite blend of Thai spices and organic herbs. This concoction infuses the noodles with an explosion of unforgettable flavors.
Third, what sets Thipsamai apart is the egg-wrap, so thin that it’s almost translucent. It’s not just a decorative element but a sneak peek into the unique blend of ingredients within. As you take your first bite, you’re greeted with a harmonious combination of textures and flavors. The noodles are perfectly cooked, and the prawn-oil sauce adds a luscious, savory depth that’s complemented by the subtle fragrance of Thai herbs. It’s an unforgettable culinary journey, and each bite tells the story of generations of perfection in crafting this delectable dish.
Thipsamai’s pad thai isn’t just a meal; it’s a masterpiece that embodies the richness of Thai food.
Sipping on the freshly squeezed, natural orange juice at Thipsamai is a delight that I can still vividly recall. It’s not your average OJ; it’s a burst of pure, unadulterated citrusy goodness. As the first sip touches your palate, you’re greeted with the perfect balance of tangy notes and subtle sweetness. It’s like they captured the soul of a sun-ripened orange and poured it into a glass.
What truly sets Thipsamai’s orange juice apart is the pulp. It’s not just any pulp; it’s the best kind of chunky. With each sip, you can feel the tiny bursts of freshness from each chunk, which adds a delightful texture to the experience. It’s as close to biting into a real orange as it gets.
This orange juice is undoubtedly a testament to simplicity and authenticity. It’s a reminder of how the most uncomplicated things can often bring the most joy. Thipsamai’s orange juice isn’t just a beverage; it’s a refreshing, tangy burst of deliciousness that complements their world-famous Pad Thai perfectly. It’s the kind of orange juice that spoils your taste buds for anything else because once you’ve had the best, there’s no turning back.
Thipsamai is a legendary pad thai restaurant in Thailand with a history dating before World War II. The story of Thipsamai’s pad thai begins with a commitment to preserving the authenticity of this iconic dish. Their claim to fame lies in being the pioneers of the Padthai Sen-Chan, a version with shrimp oil, deep-sea prawns, and a delicate egg wrap, known as the “Superb Padthai.” The journey started when a young Ms. Samai learned to cook various dishes, by assisting her mother, who sold Thai food and desserts from a boat along the Phasi Charoen Canal.
As time passed, Ms. Samai fell in love and married Mr. Chote. Facing financial difficulties after the closure of Mr. Chote’s fishing business, they decided to open a food stall. This marked the birth of the first-ever pad thai stall in Bangkok, located at the bustling Pratoopee intersection. Their humble stall was set up on the sidewalk, featuring a small charcoal stove and a few old tables.
Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for their Padthai to gain immense popularity. One day, even the Prime Minister, Pleak Phibunsongkhram, visited and praised their Padthai as the epitome of authentic flavor. In 1966, “Thipsamai Pad Thai Pratoopee” was officially christened as the restaurant’s name. Over the years, Thipsamai’s pad thai has continued to delight customers with its unique and delicious taste, making it a beloved culinary institution in Thailand.
Pad Thai is a popular and iconic Thai dish known for its combination of stir-fried rice noodles, eggs, tofu or shrimp, and a flavorful sauce. The sauce typically consists of ingredients like tamarind paste, fish sauce, sugar, and lime. It’s often garnished with crushed peanuts and fresh herbs. Pad Thai offers a delightful balance of sweet, sour, and savory flavors, making it a favorite among both locals and visitors in Thailand.
Pad Thai is a flavorful dish with a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and savory tastes. The key to its unique flavor profile is the signature sauce, which combines tamarind paste, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. This sauce imparts a deliciously sweet and tangy quality with a hint of umami from the fish sauce. When served with fresh herbs like cilantro, a bit of crunch from crushed peanuts, and a choice of protein like shrimp, chicken, or tofu, it creates a multi-textured and mouthwatering experience. The rice noodles are the canvas that soaks up these delightful flavors, making every bite a delightful combination of tastes and textures.
Pad Thai has a fascinating history with roots in Thailand’s culinary evolution. It’s widely believed that Pad Thai was created during the mid-20th century as part of a campaign to modernize Thai cuisine. It was popularized by Thailand’s Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram, also known as Phibun, who sought to nationalize and standardize the country’s cuisine.
The exact origin of the dish remains debated, but it’s thought to have been inspired by a traditional Chinese stir-fried noodle dish, which was adapted to Thai tastes and ingredients. Phibun promoted Pad Thai as a unifying dish, emphasizing its nationalistic and patriotic symbolism.
Pad Thai is known for its balance of sweet, sour, and savory flavors, which is characteristic of Thai cuisine. The dish traditionally features rice noodles stir-fried with ingredients like shrimp or tofu, eggs, tofu, and a combination of flavorsome ingredients such as tamarind paste, fish sauce, and lime.
Today, Pad Thai is a quintessential Thai dish, enjoyed worldwide. Its history reflects the fusion of cultural influences and the innovation that has become synonymous with Thai cuisine.
In Thai, “Pad Thai” is written as “ผัดไทย” and is pronounced as “pàt tai.” The term “Pad” (ผัด) in Thai means “stir-fried,” and “Thai” (ไทย) refers to the country, Thailand. So, Pad Thai essentially means “stir-fried Thai-style noodles,” reflecting the dish’s method of preparation and its Thai origins.
Getting to Thipsamai in Bangkok is a straightforward process.
First, make your way to an MRT station. If you’re not within walking distance to a station, then navigate your way there using your preferred mode of transportation. You can take a taxi, tuk-tuk, or use a ridesharing service like Grab to reach the station.
Next, buy an MRT ticket. At the MRT station, purchase a ticket to the Sam Yot station. The ticket vending machines make it easy to choose your destination and calculate the fare.
Once you reach Sam Yot station, exit the metro and proceed to the station’s exit. From there, you can either take a tuk-tuk or walk to Thipsamai which is roughly 12 minutes away by foot.
Pad Thai’s popularity in Thailand can be attributed to its intriguing history and a blend of flavors that appeal to local and international palates. Originally known as “kway teow pad Thai,” the dish has a diverse heritage, influenced by Chinese and Indian flavors. After World War II, the Thai government actively promoted Pad Thai as a national dish to foster a sense of unity and pride among the Thai people. Its sweet, savory, and slightly tangy profile, with ingredients like tamarind, fish sauce, shrimp, and peanuts, makes it a delightful and accessible option for a wide range of tastes.
Additionally, the ability to customize the dish with condiments like lime, sugar, chili, and ground peanuts allows diners to tailor it to their preference, adding to its widespread popularity. The quick preparation and affordability also make it a practical and delicious street food choice, enjoyed by people from all walks of life across Thailand.