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.
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.
Seeing as how I was dining with quite a prolific eater, we decided to go with a meal each and split a Pad Thai.
The Pad Gai Cashew Nuts. Now, I understand that lunch portions are always a smaller portion. This was verging on appetizer.
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.
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.
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.