Like a puppy adoption at a weekend farmers market, Rad Na Silom attracts a crowd. Starting around 5pm each night, this Thai noodle vendor sets ups outside Silom Supermarket in Thai Town, transforming a half-block of Hollywood Blvd. with a line of tables and a wok station that cranks out stir-fried dishes in minutes. It's a quick, convenient spot that makes some of the city's best pad thai and pad see ew while you wait curbside.
Rad Na Silom is cash only and ordering is pretty straightforward: there are just eight dishes to choose from, made with either flat or thin rice noodles. Some, like the pad thai topped with bean sprouts and dried shrimp, get vigorously stir-fried in the wok, while others are smothered in a silky rad na gravy. If noodles aren't your thing, there's a single eggy fried rice on the menu, too. All the dishes here go for a reasonable $10 each, though we do wish the portions were a little larger—don't expect the mountainous piles of pad thai you might pay more for at one of the neighborhood’s many sit-down Thai restaurants.
The crowd tends to vary between early evening and when the last orders are served around midnight. Earlier on, you'll usually see families, students, and software engineers talking on work calls between mouthfuls. Later, you'll see groups of seven having a bite after a successful happy hour and maybe one person in sweatpants picking up some mango sticky rice (the lone dessert) to go.
The ambiance here is one of a kind: As you listen to the roar of wok burners and melodramatic Sam Smith covers playing on the sound system, you'll be hit with various appetizing odors—fish sauce, seared pork, and fried eggs—as each dish is cooked to order. Of course, it all smells ten times better late at night after you’ve had a few cocktails at nearby Harvard & Stone.
Though it's the only street noodle vendor we know of popping up every night in Thai Town, Rad Na Silom is more than just a novelty. We suggest coming here whenever you want excellent Thai noodles on a budget but can't be bothered to wait for a table or skim through a menu that's a hundred items long.
Pad See Ew in Rad Na
This soupy, slippery noodle dish is probably not the best for sharing, or at least if you want to keep your t-shirt clean. But we don’t mind keeping this bowl of tender sliced pork and crunchy broccoli rabe to ourselves. The flat noodles are wonderfully chewy and come in a thick, gravy-like sauce that’s surprisingly light and has a peppery kick on the back end.
Rad Na Silom's pad thai is just the right amount of sweet, with some nice jolts of fish sauce and tamarind that push this dish into savory territory. The noodles themselves are chewy and saucy without being too oily, and come topped with a big handful of crunchy dried shrimp, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts.