Thai Wars: Wondee Siam V vs Thai Market

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This is Thai Sparta!

Brian Phillips Donahoe is a War Correspondent. His report from the reasonably priced Southeast Asian frontlines, i.e., 108th and Amsterdam, follows.

Halal carts and empanadas come and go, but a good Beef Pa-Nang stays with you. Regrettably, our Thai food options in Morningside Heights are limited, and (leaving aside Lime Leaf and its “Continental” pretensions) we really only have two choices. Practically across the street from each other at 108th and Amsterdam, Thai Market and Wondee Siam V admittedly have a lot in common. Their menus are virtually identical, both offer a two-course $8 lunch special (a godsend in these trying times), and the décor and ambiance of both establishments bring the words “adult contemporary” to Bwog’s mind. But differences there are. Come with us as we weigh our options.

Wondee Siam V:

Wondee is that old standby, and it’s generally more flavorful than Thai Market. Also, if you’re so inclined, their selection of duck dishes in infinitely preferable. That being said, the atmosphere is a bit staler than at its competitors. While across the street you might hear REM, Cyndi Lauper, or even the Jackson 5 blasting, the staff over at Wondee prefers that brand of light Thai pop music with which any inveterate fan of pineapple fried rice will be so familiar. And nota bene, they tend to go a bit crazy with the bamboo in their curries!

Read on for best dishes, and a breakdown of Thai Market, a good 15 feet away from Wondee.
Best Dishes:
– Massaman Curry w/ Chicken ($12)
– Thai Basil Beef ($10)
– Pad Thai w/ Chicken ($10)
– Duck Pa-Nang ($14)

How Best To Eat It:
Delivered after a rough day.

Thai Market:

Thai Market is definitely marketing itself as the neighborhood’s hip Thai restaurant. But this might be at the expense of quality. The Massaman inexplicably contains chunks of avocado (which, when hot and swimming in a peanut-based sauce, can be down right gross) and the Pad Thai is certifiably bland. Still, service here is better than at Wondee, and you’re bound to find something that you like on the menu.

Best Dishes:
– Pa-Nang Curry w/ Chicken ($9.50)
– Tom Kha Kai ($4.50)
– Pad Se-ew w/ Beef ($11)
– Gai Rad Preeg w/ Chicken  ($9.50)

How Best To Eat It
: At the restaurant when you’re feeling fancy. Maybe also have a beer.

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  1. thai market

    disagree with your best dishes. and walking to get it in nice weather and then having it on the steps is definitely awesome.


  2. CLS  

    you forgot sura and sookk, two other excellent thai options in that neighborhood.

  3. aroi mahk mahk  

    Having lived in Bangkok for a long time, I am always searching to good (palatable?) Thai food in New York City, and it ain't easy -- even if you are willing to venture out of M'side Heights. (Actually you NEED to go to Elmhurst in Queens to a small place called Chao Thai to find even decent Thai food in NYC). But... since the trip out there is not always practical, I must say that I find Wondee's food (at all its branches) the best in Manhattan. Just ask for the food to be made "phet phet" if you like spicy, or "mai sai numtahn" if you want them to hold back on the sugar that American restaurants tend to add to Thai dishes. You may smile at the end of the meal and say "aroi dee" -- delicious!

    • why is it  

      Why is it hard to find good Thai food in Manhattan? I would think there would be plenty of good, "authentic" options given the sizeable Thai community in New York to both prepare and eat the food.

      What about NYC's Thai food is inaccurate to what you experienced in Bangkok?

      • aroi mahk mahk  

        I would say that the big difference between Bangkok-Thai food and New York-Thai food is that the former manages to achieve the harmony and balance between sweet/sour/spicy and the latter errs on the side of sweet. Thai food can be blazingly spicy but it can also be an exquisite romance of flavors. When I order even as common a dish as "pad thai" in Bangkok (usually for the equivalent of 35 cents), it is really a wonderful experience. A $8.50 plate of it in New York is mushy and too sweet, at best boring and at worst gross. And it is true: there are enough Thai people here to think that good Thai food should be available. But, alas, not the case. Go to Queens or, even better, get good ingredients and prepare it yourself!

  4. EJ  

    Bring back Empanada Joe's!!!!

  5. Mickey D's and the King  

    Please bring in a Dunkin Donuts or a Burger King here. I'm sick of these pricey restaurants and take-outs.

  6. well  

    then why don't you cook your own food instead of eating disgusting crap?

  7. Sure Lover

    Sure is the way to go, shame on you people for not walking the extra 8 blocks.

  8. flexible  

    Wondee takes flex. The ability to pay for food far outweighs any taste.

  9. seas '11  

    Don't forget that Wondee Siam V will give you a 10% (at least I think it's 10%, might be 15%) discount if you show them your CUID.

  10. sookk  

    has a $7 lunch special!

  11. seas kid  

    sookk is the best: pad see ew + vegetarian duck. and i'm not even a vegetarian.

  12. Yeah  

    Yeah, you totally forgot Sura and Sookk, Bwog. I've had good (maybe not amazing, but good) experiences at both.

  13. thai food obsessed  

    i totally disagree. every time i go to wondee i'm disappointed-and i've given it a shot in the double digits. it was decent when i ate it there, but the delivery was disturbingly bad. thai market, on the other hand, has never failed me. i don't get the comment about flavor-i love my food spicy spicy spicy, and thai market always gets that perfect blend of mouth searing heat and sweetness.

    mmm, now i want thai food.

  14. thai market all day  

    thai market til death, thug life

  15. market wins  

    hands down. wondee was more expensive for the same dish even with my CUID and gave me less meat in my yellow curry dish, which from appearances would have looked rather like a soup (too much liquidy sauce, it's thicker and hotter at market).

  16. ...  

    food in this area is terrible and not representative of what you can find when you visit new york city...

    however, wondee siam v wins because they are on seamlessweb.

    that is all.

  17. Anonymous  

    Thai Market>Wondee Siam V

  18. best thai in nyc  

    pam real thai encore (hell's kitchen) and sripraphai (queens)

  19. wondee is gross  

    grossest and most sickening yum nua and grossest and most sickening tom kha. thai market takes liberties but they're a million times better.

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