Many considers Pad Thai Mae Am close to the Khlong Toei Market one of the cities best choices if you’re in for a plate of Pad Thai. I limit my self to say it is a good choice and I wouldn’t hesitate to sit down again at Mae Am.
Mae Am is good old school, and that is meant as a honor. Firstly, she use the good old wok and she knows how to use it. Otherwise the evaporation process will not work well and you end up with some overcooked and soggy noodles and some under-cooked noodles. The most common pan used for Pad Thai is the big round iron cast pan, always used for making Hoy Tod (oyster/mussels omelet). The vendors serving both Hoy Tod and Pad Thai, as it is ideal for the evaporating process. An advantage with the wok is that it is easier to get a more smoky flavor. Secondly, at Mae Am the noodles are pre-seasoned with a tamarind sauce, palm sugar and fish sauce, but also shrimp fat. It’s a very delicate combination.
Mae Am don’t use to much oil, something many vendors do, making the dish greasy and unpleasant to eat and leave you with a fatty mouth feeling. She use good quality ingredients, like the dried shrimps and the crunchy salted radish. One exception to this was that the shrimps had a hint of not being completely fresh, not uncommon in Bangkok. But of course, it took her down from being one of the best spots in town. But there is no doubt that the women did most things right. She also use squid which is a very good alternative so shrimps.
Another very positive aspect is that she serves her Pad Thai with the banana flower, an ingredients that really fits Pad Thai as it add a slight bitterness to the dish together with the Chinese spring onion. I especially like the banana flower as the Chinese spring onion often is far to bitter.
The dish is beautifully presented and as she doesn’t use any seasoning except for the noodles, you have to add that yourself, meaning at least a few drops of fish sauce, some roasted chili, a quick squeeze of the lime and to mix in the peanuts thats comes with the dish. If you don’t use the condiments, you reduce the dish to something very average at best.
She fries the two eggs on the side, before putting it on top of the rest. A good way of doing it, instead of making it a package as some vendors do, for example Thip Samai do, making the noodles continue cooking and ruining the texture unless you’ re really quick in serving it and to open the package. In other words, the noodles are overdone in 90 % of the cases.
A reader asked me once if Pad Thai Mae Am is the one serving the Pad Thai with a huge crayfish, but that isn’t correct even if Bangkok.com uses a photo of that when writing about Mae Am.
Name: Pad Thai (Phat Tha) Mae Am
Food: Pad Thai and wide rice noodles with chicken and egg (kuaytiaw khua kai)
Open: Mon-Fri1 1am-10pm, Sat &Sun 2-10pm
Price: 60 Bath
Address: 2253/5 Th Rama IV, Bangkok
How to get there: Take the MRT to Khlong Toei, take Exit #2 and walk from there. It’s just a couple of hundred meters away from the entrance/exit of MRT Khlong Toei.