With the exception of Poodam’s a wonderful Isaan spot that closed a while back, Astoria’s never been known as a hotbed of Thai cuisine and culture. That distinction belongs to Woodside, land of Sripraphai and Zabb Elee, as well as several markets, even a Thai temple. Pye Boat Noodle a three-week old eatery that opened on a stretch of Broadway better known for old school butchers and falafel than Southeast Asian noodles looks like it’s going to put Astoria on the map for Thai food though.
The joint’s full name is Pye Boat Noodle & Thai Hawker Food. There are two signature boat noodle soups, a beef and a pork version. Both sounded delicious, but I was in the mood for something spicy so I went with a bowl of tom yum bolarn ($8.95). For my noodles I chose sen lek, or rice stick. Fish cake, fish balls, and shrimp balls bobbed in the chicken broth. It had a tad less lime flavor than advertised, but this was easily fixed by adding some lime and chili from the condiment caddy. With addition of a little crushed roasted chili it made for the finest bowl of Thai noodle soup I have ever slurped in Astoria.
“What does bolarn mean?” I asked the waitress as I drained the last few drops of soup. “It’s like old school,” she said by way of explanation. Just like much of the décor in the place I thought which runs to Thai movie posters and boxes of patent medicine. Based on my one visit, the food may not be quite as funky as Poodam’s was, but then again it’s not an Isaan spot. Heck, I’m just happy to see real Thai flavors return to Astoria.
Pye Boat Noodle, 35-13 Broadway, Astoria, 718-685-2329