By Hillary Latos
The Portugese have empanadas, the Indians have samosas, the Jamaicans have patties, the Russians have fried pierogis, and the Thais have curry puffs. This delectable snack consisting of a hot crispy pastry shell oozing with a delicious filling transcends borders and satiates the appetite in any culture. This beloved street food is what inspired Thai native Phet Pater to replicate in the US and thus Puff Cha was born.
Noting that all of the Thai restaurants, especially in Hell’s Kitchen, served the same types of dishes that were exotic 20 years ago but have since become de riguer, like Pad Thai, Masaman curry, Pad Kee Mao, he set out to do something different and serve authentic Thai food not found anywhere else in the city. So he started out with a tiny shop making fresh curry puffs which were an overnight hit. The origins of the curry puff came from the Portuguese right after World War 1 where native chefs substituted custard fillings with a Thai spiced palette. Phet’s unique and delicate puffs are stuffed with curried chicken, and taro, basil chicken, Korean BBQ, and Thai BBQ. Wanting to expand his menu beyond these beloved curry puffs, Phet worked with his good friend and soba master Shuichi Kotani, the former executive chef of Totto Ramen to create an authentic ramen and soba program that is equally as authentic and satisfying. Kotani has spent over 10 years mastering the art of the buckwheat noodle has taught his craft to some of master chefs of Japan and New York including Joel Rubichon.
Easily some of the best ramen and soba to be had in the city, Phet simmers his broths for over 8 hours to create a perfectly rich and flavorful broth with bold flavors which are delicately laced with aromatic exotic Asian spices like lemongrass or five spice. Try the duck noodle with thin sliced roasted duck in a savory broth that’s perfect for a cold winter night. Other pan Asian specialties are the rich Kao Ka Moo a stewed and caramelized pork tender leg that melts off the bone and cooked in delicious Thai spices, the spicy Made in New York Noodle which is a healthier version of pad thai topped with chili, dried shrimp, ground pork, and a fish ball. To whet the appetite start with the savory and spicy Puff cha wings one of Thailand’s most famous street foods, or the steamed chicken dumplings. Even if you don’t live in Hell’s Kitchen a visit to Puff Cha is well worth the trek.
457 West 50th Street
NY, NY 10019