09/03/13 9:58am

A Pair of Thai Soups from a 900-pound Gorilla


Moo toon is a mellow pork and mushroom soup.

“Everybody loves that King Kong,” Pap the owner of Pata Paplean said by way of explaining his funky little lounge is named after Pata, a Bangkok department store whose rooftop zoo houses Thailand’s only gorilla. Tempting as it might sound it wasn’t this joint’s tom yum cocktail that lured me inside. It was a sign promising bowls of Thai street noodles for $4 a pop.

Moo toon is a mellow bowl of amber broth with tender bits of pork, meaty mushrooms, and some greenery. It’s available with a choice of noodles: rice, broad, or egg. I went with broad noodles, and doctored up the bowl with some dried red pepper powder. It was a perfect Saturday afternoon snack.


One of the busier—and tastier—bowls of tom yum in Queens.

The sign outside said that one bowl wouldn’t be enough. It was right. So I ordered a bowl of tom yum with broad noodles. “Do you want it spicy?” Pap asked. Shortly after assuring him that I did want it spicy I was presented with 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 filled the bowl along with two crisp sheets of fried dough. The whole lot was garnished with crushed peanuts with nary a shrimp in sight. Nor was the broth particularly sour as is every other tom yum I’ve had in Queens. As best as I can tell this is a Bangkok street vendor version of tom yum. In any event it is a wonderful soup, spicy, porky and no doubt restorative after a night of partying.

Pata Paplean’s weekend menu is available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The big gorilla and its Thai street food are a welcome addition to a bustling block of Thai establishments that includes Tea Cup Café, Ayada, and Thai Thai Grocery.

Pata Paplean,76-21 Woodside Ave., Elmhurst, 718-651-2076

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