Pad Thai, as I’m sure you know, is unquestionably the most recognized Thai dish throughout the world.
If you go to a Thai restaurant in the United States or a Thai restaurant in Europe, Pad Thai will most likely be represented on the menu with a top-recommendation icon next to it.
And while Pad Thai is popular in Thailand, because there are so many $1 dishes and so much food to explore, I myself rarely eat Pad Thai. I’m not the biggest Pad Thai fan, I’m more of the strong southern Thai flavors type.
However, occasional Pad Thai can be good.
Pad Thai Thip Samai or Pad Thai Pratu Pi (ผัดไทยทิพย์สมัย (ผัดไทยประตูผี)), which translates to “Ghost Gate Pad Thai,” as it’s more commonly known, is one of the most famous Pad Thai restaurants in Bangkok.
Starting at 5 pm daily, the fires are kindled, and street chefs beginning churning out wok fulls of Pad Thai like crazy.
You’ll hear a continual clickety clack as the metal spatulas clank against the metal rounded woks.
While many people sit down for dinner, even more people order take-away, often in bulk orders.
Using charcoal, the chefs are able to fuel the fire so they get the fierce heat required to produce the correct scorched flavor.
Big batches, probably 10 – 15 plate fulls, are cooked at a time in medium sized woks.
Depending on the version of Pad Thai ordered, the recipe often begins first with shrimp that are fried in oil before being joined by thick handfuls of dry rice noodles. The noodles are soaked in sauces and oils as the heat and steam cooks the noodles quickly.
Tofu, baby shrimp, leeks, bean sprouts, and other ingredients per recipe, are all tossed into the mixture. Finally the mess of Pad Thai is scooted to one side as eggs are cracked into the agglomeration.
After the batch of Pad Thai is finished, it’s divvied out onto individual plates and either served as is, boxed into styrofoam to-go containers, or brought over t0 what I like to call “the gift wrapping station.”
Similar to shopping at a department store and having your gift wrapped in a fancy box and tied with bright colored ribbon, so the Pad Thai is decorated in a beautiful wrapper before being served.
Over a bonfire of flames, an intensely hot wok is thinly layered with beaten egg and swirled around like a crepe.
The egg cooks in seconds, at which point the plate of freshly cooked Pad Thai is dumped into the middle of the egg, wrapped up on all sides, and placed back onto the plate.
The first egg layer is messy with holes in it, so the process is repeated twice, leaving the final Pad Thai neatly wrapped in smokey flavored eggy goodness.
The version of Pad Thai wrapped in egg is called Pad Thai Haw Kai Goong Sot (ผัดไทห่อไข่กุ้งสด).
Meaty jumbo prawns and perfectly cooked noodles are packed into the egg wrapper which is then garnished with cilantro and slices of pepper.
I like to add chili flakes, crushed peanuts, and a squeeze of lime to my Pad Thai.
Like most Pad Thai, the noodles were slightly sweet, but I could detect that charcoal roasted flavor, and the lime juice balanced all the flavors together. The egg was the highlight, a great asset to the dish.
This Pad Thai Sen Jan Man Goong (ผัดไทเส้นจันมันกุ้ง), noodles fried with the head juices from jumbo shrimp, may not sound too appealing when described, but it sure was good.
The noodles had that same wonderful hint of smokiness which complemented the subtle shrimp seafood flavor. Rather than being wrapped in egg, this style included scrambled eggs mixed within.
The Bottom Line:
If you like Pad Thai and are visiting Bangkok, you have no choice but to eat here.
Even if Pad Thai is not your favorite (like me), the experience of watching the chefs make batch after batch of Pad Thai over huge flames is a lot of fun.
Also in the area is a historical coffee shop where they serve great strong brews, but don’t try the food… it’s not so good.
What to Eat: Pad Thai Sen Jan Man Goong (ผัดไทเส้นจันมันกุ้ง) – Pad Thai with prawn head juices, and Pad Thai Haw Kai Goong Sot (ผัดไทห่อไข่กุ้งสด) – Pad Thai wrapped in an egg.
Prices: This restaurant is expensive for Bangkok prices, but it’s in a good location, and very famous, which bumps up the cost. You’ll pay around 70 THB for a plate of Pad Thai here.
Pad Thai Thip Samai (Pad Thai Pratu Pi) ผัดไทยทิพย์สมัย (ผัดไทยประตูผี)
Address: 313 313 Thanon Mahachai, Phra Nakorn
Hours: 5 pm – 3 am daily
313 อาคาร บริเวณภูเขาทอง ถนนมหาไชย (มหาชัย) แขวงสำราญราษฎร์ เขตพระนคร กรุงเทพฯ 10200
เปิดทุกวัน เวลา 17.00-03.00 น. (หยุดทุกวันพุธต้นเดือนและปลายเดือน)
How To Get There
Pad Thai Thip Samai is located in the old district of Phra Nakorn, just a few minutes walk from the Giant Red Swing near Chinatown Bangkok, and very close to the Golden Mountain.
If you go as soon as they open, you can take the Khlong Saen Saep canal boat to the final Panfa Leelard station, exit towards Ratchadamnoen, make a left on Mahachai, and the restaurant will be on your left hand side. Alternatively, you can either take a taxi directly there or a bus. It’s also an easy 5 minute walk from Democracy Monument.
View Bangkok Eating Thai Food Map in a larger map