Thursday, September 6, 2012

Perhaps New York's Best Thai?

Crispy fried Chinese watercress salad with calamari, chicken, shrimp, crushed peanut, and cashews in chili glaze

64-13 39th Ave, Woodside

Hungry customers spill from the sardine-can-packed entryway onto the sidewalk holding tiny yellow post-it notes with scribbles on each one.  Over the doorway, a light board flashes the winning numbers ready to be seated—groups ranging from Asian families to Manhattanites seeking the “best Thai food in the city”, to camera-toting bloggers and large foodie tour groups.  

Sort of like savory rice crispy treats, mee krob are sticky, sweet and sour vermicelli rice noodles with jumbo shrimp
When SriPraPhai opened fifteen years ago, it could seat about a fifth of its present capacity.  The expanded space now includes a floral-canopied backyard garden with a fountain, as well as a spiral-bound menu of well over a hundred dishes, several of which are also available in a vegetarian variation.  

Thai noodles with coconut ground fish curry and fishballs, egg, and pickled diced green beans
Even despite photographs accompanying each dish listed in both Thai and loose English translations, choosing what to order can be beyond daunting.  One of the most celebrated favorites is the Chinese watercress salad—the greens are battered and deep-fried, and served with a confetti of shrimp, calamari, chicken, crushed peanuts, and cashews tossed in a sweet chili sauce.  Noodle and rice dishes are all delicious, but save room for one of the eclectic pre-made desserts in the display cooler by the entrance.  From jelly filled with rehydrated basil seeds to pinched sugary egg yolks and taro custard, at least grab a treat for the ride home.

sweet, rich, pinched golden egg yolks for dessert
Thai jelly filled with (rehydrated) basil seeds is available in to-go containers for the road
add tapioca pearls to the thai iced milk tea
Sripraphai on Urbanspoon

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