Go Spicy at the New Thai Food Cart At Your Own Risk

Last Tuesday, we reported news of a new Thai cart on 52nd and 6th Ave and despite its makeshift appearance, your guys’ comments seemed to suggest that this cart is totally worth checking out. I’ve had the opportunity now to stop by a couple times and I can confirm that the cart is, in fact, a great deal.

The menu (written entirely by hand) isn’t super extensive, but the choices available are some of the most popular Thai dishes. An order of five vegetable or vegetable/chicken dumplings will run you $4. Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, Pad Kee Mao, and red and green curries are all $7 if you get them with chicken, or $8 if ordered with shrimp (those are the only protein options). There is also basil chicken and chicken with peanut sauce for $6 each.

My first visit, I ordered the basil chicken. I was given the option of white rice or egg-fried rice (I opted for the fried rice) and I was asked if I wanted it spicy, to which I foolishly replied, “Sure.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this meal quite a bit, but wow it was spicy! I have a reasonable tolerance to these sorts of things, but I was constantly reaching for water as I ate this. I actually couldn’t finish the whole thing because my mouth was burning up. Only order this one “spicy” if you like things really, REALLY hot.

Otherwise, everything was pretty solid. The chicken and peppers were juicy, and the rice had large chunks of egg in it, which was awesome. The rice was also soft and clumpy, but not in a bad way. The portion size is enough to fill the average dude, but really hungry people may want to check out the Pad See Ew, which I ordered my next visit.

Yes, this is absolutely huge! I’m usually not one to leave food untouched, but I had no problem splitting this into two separate meals. Not only is the container giant, but it’s densely packed. You’re definitely getting your money’s worth here.

Unlike the basil chicken, which took no time at all, the Pad See Ew was made to order. I had to wait around 5-8 minutes as my noodles were heated, spiced, and prepared in front of me. In the end, everything was hot, fresh and delicious. Again, there were large chunks of egg mixed in – awesome! The noodles and broccoli were soft and packed a good amount of flavor.

The shrimp was great quality. There were about 6 or 7 good-sized pieces, each tasting meaty and satisfying. It’s definitely worth the $1 extra if you’re not in the mood for chicken.

The chicken/vegetable dumplings are fine, but nothing to get too excited about. I might not have had a fresh batch, but the dough seemed somewhat dried out. The inside was a plain-tasting blend of chicken and vegetable flavor; I couldn’t really make out anything specific.

I was the only one ordering both times I visited the cart (around 1:30pm), but based on Tuesday’s comments, it seems as though business may be starting to pick up. Unless the one guy manning the cart brings in some extra help, I imagine lines will move pretty slowly. If you’ve got a huge appetite and some time to spare, this is definitely a worthwhile destination for your Thai fix. Just think twice before ordering anything “spicy.”

The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • HUGE portions
  • Noodles are fresh and made to order
  • Food is well-seasoned and flavorful

The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Menu is limited
  • Dumplings are so-so
  • Long wait time

Thai Food Cart, 52nd & 6th Ave.


  • having “things really, REALLY hot” is the only way to go.

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    Chris, Going spicy might be foolish to you, but there are many who usually can’t find spicy enough food.

    Your problem was your choice of beverage. Water just spreads the capsaicin and makes the heat worse. I’m not sure what the cart offers in term of beverages, but you want to look for something that contains milk or yogurt that contains casein proteins to wash away the heat. I’m not sure what authentic Thai drinks come pre-packaged, but there is a yoghurt soda that comes in cans.

    Next best would be a coconut or soy based drink. It doesn’t have the casein proteins, but does contain fats which will help encapsulate and dilute the capsaicin.

    • Lesson learned. Thanks for the tips!

      • Too bad the cart doesn’t do Thai iced tea (unless it does) – it’s creamy so it’ll help cool down the heat. Plus it’s also awesome.

        I think this cart used to have another permutation before its current layout. There was a small Thai cart around the same area that had decent but forgettable fare about a year or so ago.

        Also you got a lousy draw on the dumplings. Hit up Zoob Zib/Aura Thai if you’re ever in the lower Hell’s Kitchen area; their dumplings rule.

  • Went yeserday and can confirm spicy means spicy, I loved it.

    I asked for extra spicy and as he was cooking he showed me the two heaping spoonfuls of the chopped green bird chilis he was dumping into the pan to make sure I was OK with it.

    This is legit spicy, as in much spicier than the 53rd halal carts hot sauce.

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    Just picked up the chicken pad thai at noon and sadly they’ve reduced their container/portion size by a little less than half. Still a decent amount and enough for lunch for most, but nowhere near the incredible portion I got just last week. Was hoping they could keep the streak going but Midtown lunch cart economics always prevail.

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    No wonder you thought it was spicy. You continuously reached for water…

  • My co-worker and I ate here today. I had the Red Curry with Chicken and my co-worker had the Chicken Basil. The red curry was amazing but the wait was out of control. It was about 45 minutes. I think the guy’s helper was out filing paperwork for the cart.

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    My friend and I walked over for lunch today from the Viacom building at 45th and B’way. He promised me it would be quick since I was short on time.

    Between the walk, ordering, and getting our food it took almost forty-five minutes, of which thirty-five was not walking. This was with maybe four to five people waiting in front of us.

    There were two men, and they seemed to cook and package each order individually, which took forever.

    I ordered the Chicken Pad Thai without asking for extra spice, since I’ve been to Thailand and I know what to expect with those Chilis.

    When I paid they charged me $8 instead of $7, which was weird, but I was in a rush and didn’t feel like arguing.

    Upon getting back to my desk I learned why: they gave me Shrimp. Good thing I’m not allergic.

    As previously stated, the portion is big, but at least in my humble opinion the food is mediocre at best, and very salty overall.

    I probably won’t be going back.

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    Also, forgot to mention that the cook was pretty much sweating over the grill precariously close to the food, and that the guy who was packaging the noodles was handling money without taking off his rubber gloves. Gross.

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