Mee Phat Krachet: The best Thai dish you’ve never heard of
Take the thin rice strands known as "sen mee" and fry them in a wok with "phak krachet" -- pungent water mimosa -- and you have sen mee phat krachet, one of Thailand’s most satisfying, but least-known noodle dishes.
Often associated with seafood restaurants, mee phat krachet is usually served with rings of squid and fresh shrimp or prawns, although some restaurants also do a mixed version that includes slices of pork, or just straight pork or chicken versions.
Providing the dish with a little bite, the noodles are typically studded with a coarse chili and garlic mixture and are seasoned with fish sauce.
A good version of the dish bears scars of the wok’s heat and a slightly smokey aroma. Below are some of the better places in Bangkok to get mee phat krachet.
Sor Na Wang
This tiny shophouse restaurant in old Bangkok excels at fried noodle dishes, and not surprisingly, their mee phat krachet is one of the best in town.
Generous rings of squid and shrimp mingle with slightly singed noodles, lots of water mimosa and plenty of garlic and chili.
To top it off, the dish comes with a deliciously tart dipping sauce that combines sliced fresh chili, chopped shallots, fish sauce and lots of lime.
156/2 Thanon Din Sor; +66 (0)2 622 1525. Open daily, 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Price: 70 baht/plate.
Pet Tun Jao Tha (Duck Noodle House)
The noodles of this vendor’s take are dark from fish sauce, and tangled among them are squid, shrimp and slices of lean pork.
Ample seasoning and lots of chili and garlic make this one of the more full-flavored versions of the dish, although we wish they’d use more phat krachet.
The restaurant is also known for its duck and goose dishes.
945 Soi Wanit 2 (opposite Harbour Department office); +66 (0)2 233 2541. Open Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Price: from 50 baht/plate.
New Srifa 33
It’s not on the menu, but upon request, the cooks at New Srifa 33 can put together a decent version of mee phat krachet.
The noodles arrive at the table laced with a generous amount of garlic and chili and a handful of small prawns.
Despite the rather formal surroundings and the price tag (200 baht for a small dish), it’s probably the most rustic version of the dish that we encountered.
1219/ Soi 33, Sukhumvit Road. +66 (0)2 258 2649. www.newsrifa33.com. Open daily, 5 p.m.-3 a.m. Price: 200 baht/plate.
Located in a grubby shophouse a short walk from Rama IV Road, Leng Kee specializes in fried noodle dishes, including a respectable mee phat krachet.
The noodles here are served with marinated pork, beef or chicken, as well as lots of water mimosa and chili; the generous addition of the latter makes it one of the spicier versions out there.
Leng Kee is popular, and with only one person working the wok and many to-go orders, the wait can be long.
80/9 Soi Chula 46; +66 (0)2 215 4324. Open Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Saturday 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Price: 40-50 baht/plate.
Je Ngor’s Kitchen
This seafood mini-empire, with several branches across Bangkok, does what is almost certainly Bangkok’s most decadent take on mee phat krachet.
The noodles here are served with several large prawns and come laced with tomalley -- fatty prawn liver. This richness is cut by a generous amount of garlic and slightly less chili and water mimosa.
The seasoning borders on the sweet, and this is the mee phat krachet for seafood, not spice, fans.
11/F, YWCA Building, 25 Sathorn Tai Road; +66 (0)2 677 3927. www.jengor-seafoods.com. Open daily, 11 a.m.-2 pm and 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Price 100-300 baht/plate.
This is the ninth part in an ongoing series that highlights some of Thailand's finest but underrated dishes. Click here to see other features in the series.