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Motormouth From Ipoh

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bangkok - Best Pad Thai @ Thipsamai, Lamphu House & Khao San Road

Are you shivering in your boots yet? Had that nagging feeling deep in your guts, preparing yourself for the impending doom? Screaming NOT another MOTORMOUTH's NEVERENDING TRAVELLING SAGA?!!! (Newbies beware.... old timers, remember the 13 chapters Hong Kong/Macau extravaganza last year? Or the 10 chapters of Hanoi On A Shoe-string Series?!)

Don't piss your pants. Yet. For this time around, I've decided to show mercy upon all, and shorten my ramblings as much as possible, thus omitting the day by day posts. Saintly, am I?

Unless, of course, you wanted them. Oooh .... sadistic, aren't we? ;)

Frying up a storm! Whipping up plates after plates of delectable, addictive Pad Thai.

Thipsamai (www) is a household name, widely acknowledged in guidebooks and on the web, as THE restaurant that serves the BEST Pad Thai in Bangkok. No joke, this one. To imagine even the locals are willing to pay 60Baht/RM6 for a plate of the undoubtedly Thailand's most famous noodle dish. Put it simply, it's Thailand's answer to Vietnam's Pho Bo, or Malaysian's Char Kuey Teow. Or Laksa. Or Prawn Mee. (Why am I indecisive on this one?!)

The sweet, orange/tangerine juice @ 90baht/RM9 per bot, the Frozen/Iced Coconut Juice @ 15baht/RM1.50, the almost compulsory condiments to go along with one's Pad Thai, and the various certificates/newspaper cuttings on Thipsamai, on the wall

For a brief history on Thipsamai, do visit their website (http://www.thipsamai.com/). Wait, a WEBSITE in English and Thai, set up for a Pad Thai stall?!!! Fear not, for I initially had the same reservations myself, wondering how commercialized this Pad Thai restaurant can be. To be listed on guidebooks, with a website and charging shopping malls' prices for the noodles.

Wedges of lime, and raw vegetables (bean sprouts, spring onions, and banana flowers) to be served at the side, for that extra shot of fibre.


Been in operation since 1966 (yup, 43 years ago!) at a stall on the same road (Mahachai Road - address to come later), Mrs Samai and husband had a grand vision of promoting the simple Thai national dish (aside from the ubiquitous Tom Yum) to the world, and at the same time preserving the original, authentic Thai-style stir-fried noodles. Hence the fruition of Thipsamai Restaurant until this very day.

The original Pad Thai with shrimp edible oil and egg @ 40baht/RM4

If you're not a fan of noodles, or Pad Thai in particular, then Thipsamai offers nothing more for you. They serve ONLY Pad Thai, in various forms (from 40baht to 150baht!). In case you're wondering, the 150baht/RM15 version comes fully-equipped with squids, crab meat, shrimps etc. A poor man's dream, a rich one's delight.

Pad Thai with Shrimps - Thai style fried vermicelli (Chantaburi rice noodles) with shrimps, shrimp edible oil and eggs @ 60baht/RM6

The Pad Thai served at Thipsamai have that extra edge, compared to the ones on the street. For one, it's fried with enough heat (wok hei, or breath of the wok - refer to 1st picture), hence the noodles remain solid, not soggy, but with a smoky aroma imparted from the high heat. The noodles taste a little sweet and spicy, for they add fish sauce, and sugar, as well as red pepper into the dish.

Best comparison? Our very own Char Kuey Teow (fried flat rice noodles with prawns, eggs and cockles).

Superb Pad Thai - Pad Thai wrapped in egg omelette, almost resembling our very own Nasi Pattaya. 60baht/RM6 per plate.

A squeeze of lime juice, a dash of vinegar and fish sauce, some extra red chilli pepper, finely-crushed peanuts, and a pinch of sugar from the condiments tray, and your plate of Pad Thai is good to go. Toss them up real good, and savour the delightful burst of flavours. Had it not for the premium price (in comparison to street fare, of course), I would've ordered seconds.

No signboard in English, therefore memorize this front facade of Thipsamai, or follow the crowd ..... or your foodie instinct!

The freshly-squeezed orange/tangerine juice was concentrated, a little tangy and not artificially sweetened. Best to down all the grease. If citrusy drinks are not your preference, try the frozen coconut juice. A little too sweet, but a perfect complement to the savoury Pad Thai.

Location : Thipsamai Pad Thai Restaurant @ 313, Mahachai Road, Samranrat, Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200. Phone No : (662)-221 6280. Opens from 5.30pm - 2.00am. Here's a MAP to Thipsamai.

After dinner treats - Bubur Cha Cha ala Thai (with a whole poached egg!) @ 25baht/RM2.50 and funky flavours Ice-Cream @ 40baht for two scoops, plus 2 toppings(Sweet Basil Coconut and Thai Tea, anyone?)

In fact, Maha Chai Road was surprisingly vibrant from all the jostling around for food (mostly locals), the road resembling a Food Street (Wai Sek Kai?) to me.

The Bubur Cha Cha is a thick, sweet soup with plentiful of ingredients, such as corn, yam cubes, glutinous rice balls (mini 'tang yuen'), and an optional egg. Really filling, and we were glad we shared. The Ice-Cream came in many different flavours, such as coconut and Thai tea. The sweet basil coconut flavour was good, but the Thai tea was too artificial, like the typical/generic green tea ice-cream.

Lamphu House @ 75-77, Soi Rambuttri, Chakrapong Road, Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200, Thailand. (http://www.lamphuhouse.com/)

For the first two nights, we stayed at the backpackers' heaven (mecca, if you will) of Khao San Road. A legendary road filled with a deep sense of bonding between strangers (mostly foreigners), and wonderful camaraderie every single night. Yup, the street NEVER sleeps, literally.

There are a dime a dozen of budget guesthouses, dorms, boutique hotels, and even REAL hotels around the vicinity of Khao San Road. Recommended to book before arriving, to avoid disappointment come peak travelling period. We were lucky to be able to walk in to Lamphu House, on Soi Rambuttri (Soi means lane in Thai), and booked ourselves the last remaining rooms!

With air-cond, attached bathroom and hot shower. Twin sharing rooms @ 680baht/RM68 per night. Other options include single/double/triple rooms, with fans/air-cond.

The beautiful, clean and cozy environment of Lamphu House had our votes, and kept our $$$ (or baht, to be exact) in tact, for more shopping and eating escapades!

Here's a MAP to Lamphu House. Even if you do not manage to get a room here, don't despair. As there are plenty more hotels/guesthouses around the area. But do remember to PREVIEW YOUR ROOM FIRST, before checking in. They do not mind one bit, just ask. And bargaining IS allowed for certain budget guesthouses/hotels. Especially if you're travelling in a large group.

Khao San Road in broad daylight .......

And Khao San Road at its MOST NOTORIOUS FORM! (just kidding .... the atmosphere is very lively come night time. A definite must-see, for first-timers)

At Khao San Road, you can find almost every single thing Bangkok has to offer. Pubs, cafes, booze, babes, street food (fried insects was strangely NO-SHOW this time around. Not in season?!), 7-11 Convenience Stores (at every nook and corner!), and hundreds and thousands of Westerners.

Democracy Monument, Bangkok - Within walking distance (about 15 mins) from Khao San Road. Feeling lazy? Grab a tuk-tuk and rest those feet. Remember to bargain!

With that I end my first official post. Erm ... not THAT short eh? Sorry, old habits die hard. Any queries about travelling at this time of the hazardous flu season, feedbacks/brickbats, please don't hesitate to forward them to me here.

As I'm rather free now, in the midst of voluntary-home quarantine !!! ;)

36 comments:

Sean said...

i'm a newbie but if the next 12 posts are as informative as this, then roll them out! :D
i lurve pad thai (though i have no idea where to get a great one in kl), and the original one in your pic looks fab ... though not quite like the typical pad thai. hmmm maybe it's cos the noodles are barely visible...

Selba said...

Really enjoy looking the pictures in this post!

Yumm... love pad thai!

SuwEi said...

I miss khao san road!gain weight after the trip?haha!any heong nam tis time:P

msihua said...

*drools* all over the floor... I want to go on a holiday and eat Pad Thai too!!!....

*drools*

reanaclaire said...

let me think,,how many years i havent been to bangkok.. 1988.. were u born yet? :) my goodness, i must make a trip to bangkok again.. seeing yr posts liven me up, must call my "gang" to make a free and easy trip there.. no chaos or street demo? and now with the latest scare, i put off trips this year but thinking of the food, i might change my mind.. :)

CUMI & CIKI said...

Noooooooooooooo... i mean.. yes.........

LOL, it's not so bad wat.. beginning to look fw to the longwinded ramblings if us ask me, haha

i am a fan of padthai. I like the ones outside the chatuchak market - fried on the spot .. u stand there eating ur chewy noodles (oh.. they are never overcooked, if anything just shy of cooked!) with loads of 'grass' and chili and fish sauce and a bit of sugar (with in thailand, do as the thais) and think "what a good girl am I!" haha

SimpleGirl said...

wow, you really are makan king la....even went all the way to Bangkok in search of the famous pad Thai....

superwilson said...

I was there January for the first time to Khao San road. I loved the place. There's quite a number of pubs there, a good place to chill. Alcohol also cheap in Bangkok. There's clothes to shop there but must heavily bargain...

soo sean said...

What a coincident! I also had Phad Thai on my first day. It was 50B in Phuket and I am sure your Phad Thai beat mine. Your post made me feel like I had gone to the wrong place. :(
Anyway, I once stayed at Khao San road for 5 days. But did not able to get a room in Lamphu House. You were lucky.

J2Kfm said...

Sean : hahaha, informative? gee, that's NEW! :) in KL? I dare not try Pad Thai in Thai outlets in KL, for I'd rather stick to the same old Tom Yum and Green Curry, to be safe. whoops, now that you mentioned it, I did not upload pic of the noodles in full glory. They're strands of rice noodles, the typical one.

Selba : me too, LURVE them to bits!

Suwei : yeahloh! this time even lazier, cz we took taxi most of the time! less walking. no need ask for Hong Nam, as we ventured to shopping malls mostly.

msihua : lemme mop da floor ....

reana : i was born, but merely a toddler then. heheheh ....no demos, no scare of H1N1 there. just be cautious urself, and avoid overly crowded areas. we only wore masks at Chatuchak market, for it's stuffy.

cumi & ciki : hehe, thanks. i guess people from the same profession knows best. (we talk nonsense all the time)

Simple Girl : nah, so happened we stayed somewhere nearby only. and taxi fare's rather cheap.

superwilson : yup, agreed. but Tshirts for guys at khao san sell for merely 120baht each. unless buying in bulk, I wouldnt bother to bargain!

soo sean : phuket more for tourism, and heard that food there is pricey, is it not? I'm awaiting my Krabi trip. soon. =P

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

no pad thai in kl worth eating either..so sad..got to go bangkok for the quickest fix!

sc said...

oh oh oh, this is the one you were talking about! and now you got the name and the map.. thanks dude! now, just hope i have the time to pop over to makan...

Big Boys Oven said...

woh! just a glimpse of your stay makes us wanting to be there now! please release me now! :) opspssss!

iamthewitch said...

Wow pad thai with shrimps looked simply fantabulous! RM6 huh? Almost equivalent to Penang's CKT price. Quality indeed is not cheap :P

J2Kfm said...

Joe : really? as expected then. lemme know if you found one worthy in KL.

sc : yup! near to Khaosan Road, or ask taxi stop over at Democracy Monument loh, then walk over. if you're in town, might as well concentrate on eateries there. Banglamphu area doesnt house that many restaurants.

BBO : granted! go fly now to the north!

iamthewitch : true. it's a little commercialized, i guess. but you'll still see the locals dominating the shop, rather than 'farangs' ... the SPECIAL version comes at RM15 per plate!

Julian Si said...

Gorgeous and enticing POST! Well done :-)

I miss Thailand, NEARLY as much as I miss KL ...

erez said...

Hi there
Great collection of thai fisherman pants-meditation pants
cotton silk linen and hemp
one size fits all
www.fishermenpants.com
thank you

Bangsar-bAbE said...

Was the bubur cha cha with egg nice?? RM68 per night per room or per person?

Tummythoz said...

Khao San Rd, how I miss thee .. glad to hear it's still as friendly & 'happening'.

worldwindows said...

I love this road and hope it is as it was. My wife and I spent some time here in 1993. The food, the people, the fake student cards... The Thai Bubur Cha Cha with an egg, yummm. Miss it.

550ml jar of faith said...

I used to stay in Lamphu Hse all the time too!! :-D Its quite the sanctuary tucked away from the rest of Khao San madness eh? And as for the multiple posts, BRING IT ON!! No better way to REALLY get to know a place inside out!

UnkaLeong said...

Khao San Road! Man...I miss bangkok :) didcha manage to experience river taxi ride?

thule a.k.a leo said...

damn... never had the chance to explore bangkok before... I only went to those famous places but not to those streets that you mentioned here... foods look delicious just by looking at them!
How did you manage to find those places? u fluent in thai???

Nic (KHKL) said...

"show mercy upon all"

hahaha, u da man la. :P

wasnt it just yday that you departed for bkk??? gosh, u r really fast in posting la. respect!

sugar & spice said...

I absolutely love Khao San Rd - I stayed at the Joe's guesthouse previously. What I miss the most about it I'll have to say is the street side bars where you'd sit on plastic stools and your drink would be served in a little plastic bucket - then when you get tipsy just dance on the corner of the road at the blasting music. Classic Asia :)

fatboybakes said...

luv bangkok la. makes KL look positively lame.

J2Kfm said...

Julian Si : NEARLY as much as you miss KL? wah ... second home ah? :)

Bangsar babe : it's RM68 per ROOM. it's budget guesthouse. and the bubur cha cha is nice, almost like ours.

Tummythoz : there's just something about Khao San Rd huh? very homely, very lively.

worldwindows : previous trip, we stayed there the entire trip! almost 7 nights, i think.

550ml jar of faith : last time we stayed at Rainbow House, even cheaper, at about 200baht per person! rundown, but who cares when the feet's so tired, you wont mind sleeping on the streets?!!

UnkaLeong : yeah, we took the river taxi to Wat Arun. last trip we took it to town even. not bad eh? though rocky and confined space.

thule : nah .. I don't even speak Thai language. except the usual. and the numbers (useful when bargaining, trust me!)

Nic : wei, what yday .. i've even came back and quarantined self for a good 3 days. good boy eh? :)

sugar & spice : those bucket of STRONG cocktails? never tried them, for it may take us forever to finish one!

FBB : how true. the malls for one, are incomparable!

mimid3vils said...

I never visit Khaosan Rd for my past 2 visits to BKK~~

thule a.k.a leo said...

so how did u manage to find those wonderful places to eat??? how do u get around Bangkok city?? Taxi? LRT? Tut tut???

J2Kfm said...

mimid3vils : really? it's actually off the tourists' track. unless you're a gwailo, or looking for cheaper places to stay, like us. :)

thule : erm, some recommended by friends, some from the net. we travelled around in taxi mostly, as we were in a group of four. quite cheap, as most rides came under 100baht.

Chinese Albumart said...

Ur photos are BEAUTIFUL. What camera do u use ? GREAT PHOTOS !! Great great photos of FOOD

J2Kfm said...

Chinese Albumart : hi, I'm using Panasonic Lumix LX3 for the shots. a handy digicam.

thenomadGourmand said...

shit.. *hoppin over to Airasia.com* NOW.

J2Kfm said...

TNG : so fast? :) wait til they have offers. more worthy, save those $ for the shopping n food!

mira said...

I've visited this place with my friends and we were really delighted with the food presentation (and food taste itself). You can look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nENrmz39vDs

J2Kfm said...

mira : ok will be sure to check it out. a video presentation? :)