NYCReview

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

a spread of thai dishes at Saranrom Thai
8.4

Saranrom Thai

Thai

Elmhurst

$$$$Perfect For:Walk-InsCasual Weeknight DinnerImpressing Out of Towners

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A tiny aerodynamic miracle occurs when the kitchen and front doors at Saranrom Thai open at the same time. The smell of fish sauce caramelizing and frying chilis rushes through the railroad-sized Elmhurst restaurant and straight into your nose. It’s the sort of highly seasoned air that keeps neighborhood regulars coming back (and therefore the door open) and primes your brain for one of the best Thai meals in New York.  

the exterior of saranrom thai

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

a spread of thai dishes and the interior at Saranrom Thai

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

Saranrom’s cooking pulls from regional traditions all over Thailand, and stands out for being notably herb-packed rather than spicy. Their kee mao thai has enough clean Thai basil flavor to work as a substitute for Vicks Vaporub, as well as some of the longest, chewiest rice noodles we've met. Even if the food generally doesn’t reach the heat levels of some of our other favorite Thai spots in the neighborhood (Hug Esan or Zaab Zaab), there's plenty about the menu to remember—especially the yum pla duk fu, a mango salad with catfish that’s fried, then shredded, and sops up the juicy salad.

The restaurant has no flash or glamor, and it doesn't need any. Once you're seated, someone who works there will smile and ask if you want your meal coursed out, or if you’d like another $10 sweet and floral sake cocktail. And you do, probably. Because you're going to want to stay in that vortex of fish sauce air for as long as it's socially acceptable.

Food Rundown

A mussel pancake from Saranrom Thai

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

Hoy Tod

This pancake studded with a half dozen mussels tastes like a sea breeze trapped in a boardwalk funnel cake. While some more mussels would be nice, this is an excellent starter to split with a couple of people.
a mango salad with fried and shredded catfish

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

Yum Pla Duk Fu

This is the best thing on Saranrom’s menu, and one of our favorite Thai dishes in the city. The catfish has a texture somewhere between pork floss and cornflakes, and does its job of mopping up all the bright, fish-sauce-fueled green mango salad juice underneath.
a yellow Thai curry with noodles

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

Kang Kua Sator

When you see the four chili emojis on the menu, you might think this curry is going to be hot-hot. In reality, it's sweet and warm, and something we’d happily eat in our pajamas several times a week, even if the heat falls a bit short of expectations.
kee mao thai with green peppercorns

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

Kee Mao Thai

If you've got a stuffy nose, order this kee mao thai, which has foot-long rice noodles, a little kick, and an herby menthol quality we love.
a bowl of fried pork belly with chilis and basil

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

Crispy Pork With Basil

Crunchy, chewy pork with a fragrant basil sauce. Order this only if you have several people at your table so you can finish the dish quickly, because as soon as the pork cools down, the skin becomes a little hard to bite through.
a bowl of durian sticky rice

photo credit: Alex Staniloff

Durian Sticky Rice

A creamy, warm way to end your meal. Make sure to get one of these on your table.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

Suggested Reading

The Best Restaurants In Elmhurst image

The Best Restaurants In Elmhurst

Our favorite restaurants in a neighborhood that has plenty of great ones.

Hug Esan image
8.7

A perfect whole fried fish is the centerpiece of a meal at Hug Esan, a northeast Thai restaurant in Elmhurst.

A spread of dishes from Zaab Zaab.
8.2

At Zaab Zaab in Elmhurst, treat the menu like an urgent checklist and cover your table in Isan Thai food that's packed with chilies and lemongrass.

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