Pata Market, located in the heart of Elmhurst’s Thai Town is many things to many people: a community bulletin board for those seeking apartments and jobs; a source for Thai snacks, including Lays chips; and a place to score bespoke tom yum and prepared foods.
A month ago I moved into the neighborhood and now I find myself at Pata Market more and more, which is how I found the subject of today’s post. When I saw the container marked kanom jeen nam ya pa on the counter whose ingredients included rice noodle and chicken feet, I was wondering where the noodles were, but my friend behind the counter pointed out another takeout container filled with noodles and all manner of herbs.
As I was rushing home eager to try my noodles I ran into one of my roommates and his wife. He told me his wife really likes chicken feet. “That must explain why your little guy runs so fast,” I said with a chuckle. Back home I was pleased to see that the Thai meal kit included plenty of rice noodles, slices of bitter melon, bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, Thai basil, and lemon basil as well as the spicy chicken feet in a gravy made from pork blood and chili paste. The noodles and gravy flavored with plenty of chili heat and lime leaf along with the crunchy bitter melon, and other bright herbs made for quite a palate-awakening lunch. There were even a couple of extra chiles thrown in there.
Later that evening I reach out to Chef Hong Thaimee for some insight on kanom jeen nam ya pa teen gai. In Thailand, she said, there are many buffets with the rice noodles and various toppings. “Cooking Thai food is very freestyle you can even do it with chicken liver; it depends on the creativity of the cook.” All I can say is if I see a chicken liver version, I’m buying two!
Pata Market, 81-16 Broadway, Elmhurst, 347-935-3714