Chanpen – Thai in Little Thailand


November 6, 2012 by Emily Pergament

Emily: Hi Rob. Are you excited about election night? Or are you excited about remembering our Thai meal at Chanpen from Saturday night?

Rob: Ah, Saturday evening. A night that began with so much hope and promise. We had determined to go back to the origins of our love affair with Thai food, to Wondee Siam II. There our Thai odyssey began, more than five years ago. We had not been back in a while and this was to be our triumphant return. Of course, God has laughed at grander plans, and ours proved to be no exception.

Emily: Yeah, there was a line out the door and no host to put our name on a list. So we went to Chanpen. We’d been there before, but I didn’t like their fried ice cream as much as at WS2, so I think that’s why WS2 became our default favorite.

Sidenote – I don’t know if the stretch along 9th Ave from about 40th Street to 55th Street is called Little Thailand, but there are a million Thai restaurants there.

Anyway, we each started out with a “green salad” with peanut dressing.

I am a sucker for peanut dressing! I would eat it with every meal, every day. But the peanut dressing here was nothing to write home about. It was ok. Eh.

Rob: I’m not sure if you have done justice to Little Thailand, Emily. The neighborhood is dominated by two franchises – Yum Yum Bangkok, which has three locations, and Wondee Siam, which has two. There are also at least half a dozen other Thai restaurants mixed in with a few Mexican, Indian and gay bars/diners (true story: a sign outside a bar read “sweaty boys and cheap drinks”). All the restaurants we have tried there are good. We had not been to Chanpen for a few years (see: Emily’s devastating disappointment with the fried ice cream).

I liked my peanut salad, which was probably the only green food I consumed in a three-day span (does broccoli in general tso’s count?). Emily is a bit of a peanut-sauce connoisseur, but I am more easily pleased.

Emily: Rob got this curry chicken noodle soup (nothing at all like the usual chicken noodle soup) dish, with sweet, crispy noodles on top:

It was quite tasty, but too spicy for me!

I had fried rice with egg, onion and chicken.
I was scared to deviate away from my usual pad see ew, but I’d eaten that two days before at lunch. Anyway, I was VERY pleasantly surprised by my dish. I un-lady-likely shoveled the whole thing into my mouth, as you can see from the top of the picture above.

Rob: I love noodle soup. Probably one of my five favorite things. Not sure why. It has no connection to my childhood. It’s just unbelievably good. I guess because it combines two of my favorite things – creative carb forms and soup. God I love soup.

Anyway this coconut curry noodle soup was very good. It was spicy, but the crunchy noodles on top added a surprising sweetness. There was tons of chicken and more vegetables to further shield me against scurvy and diabetes. It was not an overpowering curry taste – rather all the flavors worked together nicely. Was it the best Thai food? No, but it was an excellent, enjoyable meal.


4 thoughts on “Chanpen – Thai in Little Thailand

  1. Becky says:

    This was very entertaining. I like the she said/he said dialogue. I also love peanut sauce. And, I agree it tastes good on almost anything. I hope you make it back to Wondee Siam II soon.

  2. esther says:

    I’ve been there once and thought the food was good. But there are so many thai restaurants in that area it’s hard to go back! My current favorite is Pam’s real thai.

  3. Alan says:

    Makes me salivate but a bit remote from my new Vegan lifestyle.
    Alan in Miami

  4. Jennifer Turek says:

    Next time I’m in town, please take me to the place with the “sweaty boys and cheap drinks.” That sounds entertaining.


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