Pattaya Thai Restaurant

Once upon a time, there was a restaurant in Burnaby called Boua Thai. Boua Thai was, looking back, a mythical place. Those who frequented it regularly, still speak of it as the last, great Thai restaurant in this area. It was where I discovered Pad Thai. Their version was perfectly made…always moist noodles bathed in a chile-laden tamarind sauce amidst a bevy of prawns, shrimp and chunks of golden tofu. Their Pad Gai Gra Prao (Thai Basil Chicken) was always served as it should…loaded with Thai Basil. The term ‘I got sumoed’ was coined at Boua because the size of the portions made you feel like a sumo wrestler. It was common for us to visit two or three times a week and then again on the weekend. We were there on the day they were forced to close their doors. What happened that day still remains a mystery.

Since then, I have been on the hunt for a local Thai restaurant of that quality. Thai Cafe and Lhy Thai have come close. Another one on the radar is Pattaya.

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Pattaya Thai Restaurant is located on 6th Street in New Westminster beside Hon’s Wonton House. It’s a very small  room (six booths) run by a Thai family. They offer a common lunch special menu with all items at $6.99.

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Seeing as how I was dining with quite a prolific eater, we decided to go with a meal each and split a Pad Thai.

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The Pad Gai Cashew Nuts. Now, I understand that lunch portions are always a smaller portion. This was verging on appetizer.

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Similarly, the Pad Gai Gra Prao made a somewhat tasty snack. Unless, of course, you were looking for Thai Basil in your Thai Basil Chicken. There were actually a couple of leaves thrown in but nowhere near enough. It should be redolent with anise, garlic and fish sauce…not a simple stir-fry of chicken and veg. Actually spotting a basil leaf would be a plus.

The spring roll was another oddity.

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Thai spring rolls are always of the small variety but this is ridiculous. It’s almost as if they tried to make the smallest possible roll…triple-wrapped so the fillings aren’t even taste-able. One saving grace was the fluffy Jasmine rice but even that lacked any hint of coconut milk. The flavor-meter is stuck in the 2-3 out of 10  range.

The only thing that could save this meal would be a killer Pad Thai. Not gonna happen. What we got was a sticky pile of ketchupy rice noodles with two overcooked prawns.

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Yeah, I know I’ve been spoiled by Boua but this is a half-hearted attempt at Pad Thai. No tofu or scallions, ketchup in place of tamarind and pasty rice noodles? Seems like the kind of food normally reserved for the food court. One would think any decent Thai restaurant would put out a much better version of this signature dish. It’s too bad they settled for mediocre.

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Pattaya Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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9 responses

  1. Janie Brown

    Well I’m certainly glad to see you put it on the radar!

    One has to remember this is a Traditional Thai Restaurant. In Thai culture the portions are smaller than Western cuisine.

    I have not been to the lunches but have hosted many a business dinner at Pattaya. I don’t do the lunches as they are only 6.99 so I wouldn’t expect much. I’ve also taken friends & family there many times and have always come away content and satisfied. sabai! sabai! aroi maak!

    I have found Pattaya’s variety and coordination of vegetables, herbs, spices, and accents in perfect counterpoint. This place focuses on bold flavors and blissful harmony.

    In any case why don’t you go for dinner rather than take a jab at this place after 1 lunch? This place is noted in magazines for its crab and cream cheese spring rolls! Try them and I guarantee you’ll be singing a different tune!

    *And if the basil is an issue – simply order extra basil on your pad grapow gai.

    I will be continuing to frequent this place for many reasons. – Everything here is done with such passion from the fragrant dishes, to the simple décor which imparts a subtle elegance, and back ground music which serve as an ideal backdrop for enjoying a little bit of Thailand. And that’s not to forget the smiling server who is both kind and humble having given it the sophisticated and authentic cuisine.

    …This place truly brings a little bit of Thailand to our country.

    November 22, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    • kgb1965

      Welcome, Janie and thanks for your passionate comments! I do appreciate the fact that this was lunch, but shouldn’t that be the time to wow your customers so they return for dinner? I knew this was “Traditional Thai” before my visit. To me, that means full, bold flavor…one shouldn’t even have to think of asking for anything extra except heat. Thai Basil Chicken should be abundant with Thai Basil. Pad Thai, especially “Traditional” Pad Thai is made with a tamarind base not the shortcut ketchup version. Also, it was missing fried tofu, scallions, egg and cilantro. I have had the Pad Thai there before and it was equally uninspiring. Therefore, the food court comparison.

      My reviews are an honest depiction of the meal served. In this case, bland and unexceptional; lacking quality or quantity. Time of day should never dictate flavor…especially Thai flavor.

      November 23, 2009 at 3:32 am

  2. Randall Watson

    I am extremely bewildered by your comments about the lunch at Pattaya Thai.
    My dining experience there was nothing short of wonderful.

    Your comments about Pattaya Thai are so far off the mark that i really question your credibility as a “food critic”. In my opinion, your review sounds very suspicious, and perhaps smacks of political motivations.
    (Most casual diners are not aware of the nasty self serving industry that so called “critics” are involved in.)

    Judging from my experience of other Thai restaurants across the lower mainland, Pattaya Thai walks in the rare company of Thai food excellence and authenticity. I found it to be truly a hidden gem.
    I think it’s fantastic that the little “i think I can, I think I can” restaurant in New West, can be miles better than the more popular choices in Vancouver. We need more of those.

    Pattaya Thai’s Prawn and Crab Spring Rolls was listed in Vancouver Magazine’s “101 Things to Taste Before You Die” list (October 2009 issue) and the restaurant was voted “Number One” in New West’s local newspaper “The Leader.” I think i would much prefer to place my trust in their credibility.

    You complained about the size of a 6.99 lunch? I’m sorry, but a smaller, crappy, unhealthy meal at McDonalds costs more than that.

    The owner’s are kind, humble and honest, and from what i know of them, they would cringe at the thought of making a profit at the risk of sacrificing flavour and good value. Definitely a rare trait in todays world.

    I believe your comments have done a grave disservice to honesty and integrity in the business world . Pattaya Thai deserves a far better review than the one you gave. I would recommend them for lunch OR dinner in a heart beat.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:54 am

    • kgb1965

      Hello, Randall. Thanks for taking the time to offer your comments, ridiculous as they may be.

      First of all, to attack my credibility as a food critic because you had a good meal reveals you to be completely ignorant to the purpose of what food bloggers do. We are in the business of describing restaurant experiences. My post of Pattaya Thai was an honest depiction of the meal served.

      Secondly, exactly what sort of “political motivations” are you referring to? To suggest anything of that sort is utterly nonsensical. Furthermore, to brand me as self-serving is the utmost in hypocrisy. You make quite a point of mentioning Vancouver Magazine’s “101 Things To Taste Before You Die” list, yet you neglect to mention that you are the Art Director at Vancouver Magazine. Who exactly has the “political motivations” here?

      Thirdly, why in the world would you make a comparison to McDonald’s? This wasn’t a post about fast-food. My judgments are based on similar dining experiences. This particular restaurant’s portions were smaller than any I’ve ever come across. How is that being unfair?

      Lastly, “a grave disservice to honesty and integrity”? Really? Seriously? Would you prefer I lie and glorify a place I had a poor meal in? Is that the kind of honesty and integrity you look for? I’m not sure what type of honesty and integrity you have at Vancouver Magazine. I only hope, one day, you can figure out what food blogging is actually about.

      December 8, 2009 at 1:41 am

      • Karl

        My letter to Vancouver Magazine.

        Dear sir\madam,

        I am writing to you in response to a comment your Art Director, Randall Watson, left on my food blog regarding Pattaya Thai Restaurant. You can view the post along with his comment and my response here.

        Mr. Watson made several incendiary and unfounded remarks about my credibility. In one of which he imbued that I had some sort of “political motivation“ and was part of some “nasty self serving industry“ without elaborating whatsoever. Further, he stated that “I believe your comments have done a grave disservice to honesty and integrity in the business world.“ All of these accusations were made without disclosing the fact that he is under the employ of Vancouver Magazine. This seems nothing less than complete hypocrisy and lacking, in Mr. Watson’s own words, honesty and integrity.

        Upon simple investigation I discovered that your magazine put Pattaya Thai’s dish at #1 on your annual list of “101 Things to Taste Before You Die”. I fully understand your magazine is in the business of promoting Vancouver and all it has to offer. What eludes me is why the second person listed on your masthead would lash out so intemperately at someone offering nothing more than honest criticism of a restaurant. I simply wish to know if your magazine stands behind this type of behavior. If not, I expect nothing less than a full and complete apology posted to my site.

        February 2, 2010 at 3:44 am

  3. Randall Watson

    I am sorry that I over reacted to your comments.
    My response is coming from one who frequents the restaurant and had nothing whatsoever to do with Vancouver Magazine, hence the reason for not mentioning my position there. You’ll notice that my posting was from my home address. You’ll also notice that I mention the NewWest Leader. I was merely trying to support the restaurant.

    Your critique of the restaurant seemed to my mind, as a reader, to be unnecessarily malicious. Honest dining experience or not.
    Therefore I really felt the need to come to the restaurants defense
    … perhaps too passionately.
    My comments to you were out of proportion and admittedly too much on the personal side. I hope you will accept my apology.

    To clarify: my comment about “honesty and integrity” was not referring to you, but rather to the owners trying to run a simple and honest business with integrity.

    I still continue to offer my enthusiastic support and recommendation of Pattaya Thai.
    Thank you

    December 10, 2009 at 2:13 am

    • Karl

      You’re apology is sincerely accepted. I also truly appreciate that you are passionately supporting a small, unnoticed restaurant. If, as I hope, you took time to read my other posts, you would notice that I am trying to do the exact same thing. My mission is to focus on places that do not generally get mainstream publicity. All I can do is honestly portray my experiences.

      The fact that you assailed my credibility and inferred political motivation isn’t lessened by where it was delivered from. You are in a position of tremendous influence. Regardless of e-mail address, the message was from a representative of Vancouver Magazine…the publication that placed Pattaya Thai’s dish at the top of your recent list. If your editor, Mr. Ross, were to submit a letter from his home to the Vancouver Sun criticizing a review, it would be equally unseemly.

      It is true that my opinion may sway the odd reader’s perception of a restaurant. The fact is that your publication garners revenue with ad space and any positive review will always lead to profit either for you or your customers.

      December 10, 2009 at 3:51 am

  4. Hey, you have a great blog here! I’m definitely going to bookmark you! Thank you for your

    info.And this is Pattaya Secret Bar and Nitelife site/blog. It pretty much covers

    Pattaya Secret related stuff.

    February 7, 2010 at 3:07 am

  5. Karl

    Thank you! I enjoyed checking out your blog as well. I definitely need to get to Thailand very soon!

    February 7, 2010 at 7:54 am

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