We had dinner at our friends house a couple of week ago. They are both serious foodies. When it comes to Thai food, they both said we must go to Sripraphai in Woodside because it is the closest thing they had tasted to the food in Thailand.
We asked another family to go with us whose kids will also eat anything and off we went. The 7 train is literally across the street. Part of the adventure was taking the subway out there. One of the many beautiful things about NYC is the small pockets of different ethnic foods and neighborhoods around the city. Our friends are not big subway takers so they all enjoyed giving me a hard time about our journey there.
We got off at the 61st Street Station on the 7 line and went in a bit of a circle to where we needed to go. In hindsight, it was a good thing because we got to check a little bit of the residential neighborhood out instead of just the shopping and food area. The restaurant is literally 2 blocks from the subway stop.
Sripraphai which is located at 64-13 39th Avenue (Roosevelt Avenue) in Woodside, Queens. The restaurants front looks like it could be a check cashing store. Inside, the place is pretty basic. Long tables, many seats and a big menu. That’s it. It used to be no-alcohol (BYOB) but that has changed. They have beer and wine now. Beer is of the essence with this type of food.
We ordered plenty. We asked for just medium spice on some dishes that had been highlighted as spicy. My mouth was on fire from the medium spice, god knows what would have happened with the normal spicy. At times we were hiccupping and sweating.
We started with shrimp wrapped in wontons and deep fried with a spicy dipping sauce and barbecue chicken wings. The shrimp were very tasty. The wings were not that interesting. We then moved into a papaya salad and mango salad with shrimp. My mouth was on fire. The taste was incredible but you had to get through the heat. Match stick vegetables tossed in with a spicy sauce and papaya. Next up was soft shell crabs. These were amazing. Small crabs cut into quarters and deep fried with a papaya dipping sauce. Crunchy pop in your mouth delicious bites of crab. We could have gone through many plates of crab.
The food just kept coming. We had 2 soups. One was a mildly spicy salmon soup with large pieces of ginger. The taste was sweet yet sour with a hint of spice in the broth. The salmon came in large chunks that easily slid in to your spoon but stayed whole in the soup. Delicious. The other was a green curry eggplant and fish paste soup. Classic Thai. A bit on the spicy side but delicious and a great color.
The roasted pork can be ordered with a variety of different sauces. We chose the garlic, chili lime concoction. Major pieces of raw garlic. Everyone freaked when they realized what they had eaten. The pork wasn’t that interesting either. This arrived with a duck salad which was interesting. Small pieces of duck mixed in with a vegetable salad. The whole fish came at this point too. That was incredible. Deep fried whole fish with a ginger sauce. The fish came off the bone so easily that what we were left with was a carcass of the fish that looked like Garfield had just eaten it for lunch.
The noodles come last. I guess that is how they do it. Large fat noodles incorporated with chicken and octopus. This was really good. The octopus was so soft that you didn’t know if you were eating noodles or octopus until you took a bite. We also got a fat noodle dish with a dark soy sauce with chicken and broccoli rabe. I have always liked this dish and the kids like this dish too. The last dish was the Pad Thai. Classic Thai dish. Funny enough, this was one of my least favorite dishes. It was too sweet. Maybe that is how Pad Thai is served in Thailand and the Americans have created a cheap accessible dish here that is not sweet. Who knows.
By this time the adults had sucked down 2 beers each of the Thai Beer, the kids have gone through tons of water and cokes. We also had a coconut juice and jelly juice. The jelly drink was disgusting but I have to give the kids credit. They all tried it. It was declared "yucky" by the youngest member of our group.
Next stop, ice cream. We walked through the neighborhood stumbling on Baskin and Robbins. There is something about ice cream after Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese food etc. My step-Grandfather used to say that it was unorthodox to eat ice cream after Asian foods. We never agreed on that one. The cold ice cream was the perfect remedy to hot spicy food.
We jumped on the 7 line and headed back into NYC. It was a great evening. At the onset, everyone gave me such a hard time about taking the subway etc. but now we were discussing having a monthly outing, on the subway of course, to the variety of restaurants in Brooklyn and Queens. Let’s explore. I’ll keep you posted on our next journey.
Some of the chinese restaurants in my area serve green tea and ginger ice cream for dessert. It is the best.
Our parents used to get in the car and drive for an hour for a restaurant destination. It is nice to see younger people doing it also. With so little time, it is sometimes difficult but very worthwhile.
I am always hoping for a visit from New York so someone can bring back a cache of smoked whitefish chubs from Barney Greengrass. I guess this is similar but in the reverse.
I’m still laughing at this line “We jumped on the 7 line and headed back into NYC.” Umm, a true “Gotham Gal” likely would not need it pointed out that Queens is NYC as well. (Just not your NYC.) And to say there are “small pockets of ethnic neeighborhoods.” Hello , all of Queens is one ethnic neighborhood. How funny! Provincial Manhattanite!
Maybe they can’t get the Pope to visit there, but all hail the bourgeois manhattanites!
There are pockets of ethnic neighborhoods everywhere in the tri-state area, even well outside of NYC.
Enjoyed your account of your trip to the Thai restaurant in Queens. Don’t know if you’ve heard of NoshWalks, but that’s pretty much what Myra Alperson of NoshWalks does…. goes into different neighborhoods to try ethnic restaurants. You might want to take a look at her website:
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