313 Thanon Mahachai,
Phone: 02 221 6280
If you love Pad Thai, Thip Samai is your Graceland. This is Shrimp Pad Thai the way it was meant to be eaten — incredibly light and flavorful with Thai’s signature hints of salty, sour, spicy, and sweet. It’s a gorgeous tangle of springy, yet soft noodles, mingled with achingly fresh shrimp, shrimp roe, sweet egg, sprouts, peanuts, scallions, and tossed with dried red chile peppers, fish sauce, palm sugar, and vinegar. Which is why it’s perpetually packed with young people, scarfing down plates of the stuff.
But did you know that pad thai isn’t really pad thai at all? It’s true. The dish first came to Thailand by way of Vietnamese traders and it didn’t really become popular in Thailand until the 1930’s when the prime minister encouraged the production of rice noodles, even going so far to have government officials pass out pamphlets on how to produce rice noodles as well as dishes to use them in, including pad thai! In fact, Thip Samai is the first official restaurant in Bangkok to peddle Pad Thai back in 1966. They’ve even got the original government posters encouraging Thai people to eat and make pad thai, lining the walls of the dining room. Of course, they serve various renditions of the iconic dish here, including pad thai wrapped in an omelette and another version with shrimp, crabmeat and mango. Oh, and the restaurant itself is thankfully very clean, which is always a huge plus in these parts.