Pata Paplean is a favorite stop on my food tours of Elmhurst because it has some of the best Thai style street food I’ve had in New York. On weekend afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. the funky bar named for a gorilla in a Bangkok zoo serves up $4 bowls of noodle soup. Moo toon consists of slightly sweet amber broth with tender bits of pork, meaty mushrooms, and some greenery. Paplean’s tom yum is one of the busier bowls of tom yum I’ve ever come across in Queens. Two kinds of fish balls, ground pork, pork liver, and sliced pork fill the bowl along with two crisp sheets of fried dough. Yesterday though I was initiated into the pleasures of kuay tiew nam tok moo, or pork blood soup.
When Satika “Cherry” Kanchanamusik rattled off the list of noodles to me and my tour group yesterday I had to stop her. Upon learning that the third option included pork blood , I immediately ordered it. And what better to top a bowl of pork blood soup than pork crackling. It was so good I returned for a second bowl after bidding farewell to my tour group.
“So it is black because there’s roasted rice in it?” I asked. “No, just pork blood,” Cherry replied. And liver and fatty bits of pork. Even though it was plenty spicy I doctored it up with some of the chili paste. It made for an invigorating snack. Cherry explained that her soups are Bangkok style, but quickly added that “Noodles are in every part of Thailand.” “Just like Queens,” I thought to myself.
Pata Paplean,76-21 Woodside Ave., Elmhurst, 718-651-2076