Midtown East Welcomes Mamu Thai Noodle Truck With Open Arms!
I’m a straight up sucker for noodles of all ethnicities, but sometimes you just have that craving for Thai noodles. It happens to me pretty much once a week, every week. Time and time again I try to break away from Pad Thai or Pad Siew for other Thai dishes, thinking it’s too “standard,” but when you find a good Pad Thai, it’s just flat out hard to say no. Don’t fight it.
By the time I caught wind of Mamu Thai Noodle Truck‘s Kickstarter campaign this winter, it was already 113% funded with the campaign even getting some serious mentions on Grub Street and Gothamist. With no real solid Thai spots for lunch in my back pocket (though I have to be honest, I haven’t tried the 52nd Street Halal Cart Turned Thai Cart yet), Mamu seemed like the oasis I’d been waiting for, and thankfully, it is!
With 157 backers, the truck, which was blessed by a Buddhist Monk and named after owner and chef Siwat Thitiwatana’s mother’s nickname, made it onto the streets of New York at the end of February, promising authentic and delicious Thai noodle dishes, including boat noodles and Khao Soi, as well as secret family recipes, as Siwat’s Uncle Jirawat is a proprietor of three noodle shops in Bangkok. Siwat explains in the Kickstarter video that he had spent 10 years working in an operating room in a hospital in the city and wanted to try something new. After an inspiring noodle journey across Bangkok, Siwat returned to New York with new found inspiration and dreams of serving New Yorkers the noodle dishes he found so amazing in Thailand. He began to put the wheels in motion by spending his off days from the hospital learning how to cook at the noodle station of a Thai restaurant in hopes of opening a truck of his own. You gotta admire the passion here.
Since the funding of the Kickstarter campaign, the truck, which also prides itself on being the only food truck in the city with wok burners, has largely stayed in Prospect Heights and Dumbo this past spring, but finally made its way to Midtown East last Tuesday stationed at the loading dock of 777 3rd Avenue (at 48th Street). Since then I’ve made it back twice for some seriously delicious noodles. Here’s the roundup:
Pad Thai Shrimp ($9). This was SO FRESH. I think it might be the freshest Pad Thai I’ve had in Manhattan! The noodles were soft, the sprouts had a nice crunch to them, the tofu was crumbed into tender little chunks, not hard blocks, and there was a nice amount of shrimp, eggs, and scallions to boot. Mamu also keeps the crushed peanuts in a container on the side, so you can choose to sprinkle them all over the noodles or not, which is also helpful if you a bring a friend with you that has a nut allergy. The tamarind flavor comes through pretty strongly on these noodles, which makes for a sweeter pad thai and not spicy at all. I probably could have used a little kick or some chili flakes on the side to satisfy my need for heat, but all in all, this is solid.
Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles) with Chicken ($8). My friend got this, and I only had a bite, but it was a delicious, savory bite. These flat rice noodles are cooked with minced jalapenos in a mildly spicy basil sauce for a nice kick. MMMM.
Thai Iced Tea ($3). So happy I could wash everything down on a hot day with a solid Thai Iced Tea. The bite of Pad Kee Mao was instantly tamed by this milky drink.
Ba Mee Wat Chicken ($8). When I went back to Mamu just this past Tuesday for more, and the special of the day was Ba Mee Wat Chicken. Ba Mee are thin egg noodles, which were cooked in an interestingly sweet yet spicy tomato sauce along with shallots, bean sprouts, and chives. This time around, I was given extra chili powder on the side, which I doused over the whole thing. I probably didn’t need to do that, as I later felt the heat and didn’t have a Thai Iced Tea around to help me out. I wasn’t as crazy about this dish as the Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles, but I’m curious to see how these specials of the day develop.
I will definitely be back to hit up Mamu for their Pad Siew and rotating cast of daily specials, but if you are a noodle afficionado, this is your calling. Go.