Pad Thai – A Favorite Thai Dish

Pad ThaiPad Thai is one of the most popular and frequently requested Thai dishes here in the US. ‘Pad’ refers to phad or phat which means stir-fried. While ‘Thai’ can refer to tai which means freedom, in the context of this famous noodle dish, it simply means Thai style.

Pad Thai is a tasty stir-fried noodle dish and a perfect example of the relationship between the basic tastes of Thai cooking. There are many variations of Pad Thai, but the basic ingredients include white or palm sugar for the sweetAmerican Thai restaurants sometimes even use ketchup for the sweetness), vinegar, lime or tamarind for the sour, and fish or sea salt for saltiness.

A contrast of textures and flavors comes from the combination of bean sprouts for crunchiness, peanuts, and a variety of meat or seafood that the chef might add as an option including chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu.

A bit of Pad Thai History

Food historians suggest that pad Thai may have Vietnamese origins, perhaps a variation of a Vietnamese dish of a stir-fried noodles with a satesauce (garlic, peanuts and chiles), mung bean sports, scallions, fish sauce, served with some sort of meat, and a pickled vegetable garnish. Vietnamese traders were thought to have brought the dish to the ancient Thai city of Ayutthaya. Over the centuries, the dish was modified to better fit the Thai cooking style and preference.

In more recent times, pad Thai gained popularity in Thailand during World War II when the Prime Minister, Luang Phibunsongkhram, promoted the dish as a means to conserve rice consumption in Thailand. At that time, the Thai economy was heavily based on rice exports and the prime minister used the dish as a tie-in to the rice campaign (rice noodles). Phibunsongkhram was forced into exile and sought refuge in Japan after a Thai coup in 1957.  That brought an end to his reign, but the popular Pad Thai dish lives on today.

At Rachada Thai Cuisine, we serve a few Pad Thai variations including a traditional style of the dish and a version with seafood, Pad Thai Seafood.

Next time you’re visiting Moorpark, why don’t you stopy by and enjoy some Pad Thai at Rachada Thai Cuisine.


 Creative Commons License photo credit: mahr

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