Last summer we ran across the Rhong Tiam Pad Thai Cart in the Flatiron District…then it was gone!
Later in the year, the cart was in Williamsburg some nights and weekends, and a little after Memorial Day, they began parking it on 5th Ave between 20-21 St. It is now there every weekday for lunch.
If you want a cheap, basic pad thai, there are several options in midtown. If you want a top-notch, high-quality (but pricey) pad thai, the Rhong Tiam Pad Thai Cart is for you.
There are many more options than chicken, veggie or shrimp. Since we got a basic chicken pad thai last time, we decided to pry open our wallet and get one of the fancier pad thai dishes they offer – squid pad thai for $16.
We didn’t have the heart to go all the way and try the Maine Lobster or Alaskan Blue Crab pad thai ($30 & $25, respectively).
They did a real nice job on this dish, with large pieces of squid being grilled nicely before adding them.
Squid is notoriously difficult for being tough and chewy after cooking, but every piece was remarkably tender, and it still had a grilled flavor, too.
The rest of the dish was just as good, with lots of tofu, (optional) spicy chili powder, crushed peanuts, scallions, scrambled eggs and bean sprouts.
The flat rice noodles were nice and springy, and you could taste the sweet rice wine in the sauce. There was not a lot of sauce, but what sauce there was held everything together, almost like a binding agent…but that makes it sound so unappealing. This was very tasty!
Even though you can get pad thai from food carts in midtown for about $7, it’s not nearly as good as Rhong Tiam’s. Yes, you pay for the quality, but based on the traffic we’ve seen around the cart on a nice day, there’s definitely a market for higher quality and higher priced pad thai.
If anyone hit the lottery and orders the Maine Lobster Pad Thai, let us know how it was.