I remember hearing about Wondee Siam years ago. My colleague and now friend Jane would venture crosstown just for a crispy beef salad at this tiny 5-table restaurant. So naturally, when she had a free night back in town, she suggested we meet there to fulfill her undying craving for their authentic thai food. As soon as I was forced to squeeze through the kitchen to use the restroom, I knew it would be tasty. Chefs orchestrating woks and pots and fryers gracefully and pumping out hot, flavorful food made me feel like I was actually in Thailand, in the thick of master thai chefs so focused on their craft.
I arrived famished, so after a short wait for a table, Jane and I shared pad thai with shrimp, crispy pork with water spinach, and whole fried red snapper with a vinegary mango salad. Overwhelmed by the bounty of food and salty and spicy sauces, we slowly made our way through the bright and flavorful meal. The fried fish was meaty and surprisingly easy to eat – instead of arriving whole and untouched, the fish was more of a plate to whole the perfect rectangular pieces of fish filet that had been removed from the fish and fried separately. With the mango salad, this was the perfect hearty and refreshing flavor combination. The pad thai was, as pad thai always is, delicious, and the bite sized crispy pork was crunchy but not at all greasy. The service was spot on, and with a bill amounting to $50, I only wish this place was closer to my house. Keep in mind it’s BYOB – another great reason to gather here for a cheap meal with friends.
Location: 752 9th Ave btwn 52nd and 53rd streets