Revisit: Pam Real Thai Food in Hell's Kitchen
Yes there really is a Pam, and nine years ago she started a restaurant in Hell's Kitchen called Pam Real Thai Food that quickly rose to be one of the best Thais in Manhattan, which is really saying something, since Hell's Kitchen is teeming with Thais.
I went back to see how the place is faring lately in an overcrowded field, as Thais have gradually replaced Chinese neighborhood restaurants as the prime places for after-work carryout.
I'm happy to say, the quality remains high, and the range of dishes covered continues to be great. Chef and founder Pam Panyasiri was born and raised in Chiang Mai, in the northwest of the sinuous country, next to China but also next to the Isaan region. Her specialties can be described as northern Thai, and include a fine papaya salad, the crunch provided by toasted peanuts and dried shrimp.
Kaeng zom sour curry derives its flavor from a good shot of tart tamarind paste and lots of fish sauce, with none of the creaminess conferred by coconut milk in other Thai curries. The menu recommends it for anyone watching their weight; I'd recommend it for anyone that liked Sour Patch Kids when they were in elementary school. Shrimp or poached fish go equally well in the broth, which has a peppery zing to it.