You may have seen Pad Thai mentioned in today’s Google Doodle. But where did it originate? Well, Thailand obviously. But there’s more to this dish than meets the eye…
Where does Pad Thai come from?
The Pad Thai is the rags to riches story of Asian cuisine. Whilst most of you may know it as that tasty go-to Thai stir-fried favourite when you order your weekly takeaway, the dish is as old as time itself. It arrived in Thailand with Chinese traders of ages past but remained in the shadows for centuries, biding its time.
Then, during World War Two, Thailand suffered a major rice shortage, a staple for the country’s cuisine at the time. A true recipe for disaster. With Thai cuisine on the brink of a calamity, a hero needed to step up to the plate. A dish was needed that could excite, satisfy and be readily available. And only one could answer the call. Behold, the return of the Pad Thai.
So what’s in a Pad Thai?
Its success is largely based on its bed of rice noodles, which were at the time were plentiful, cheap, filling and great to slurp. Chuck in a healthy mix of vegetables, shrimps and eggs for good measure and you’re onto a winner.
The dish became an overnight sensation, with food stalls all over the country serving steaming bowls of Pad Thai. Soon, even the Prime Minister was calling for it to be made the national dish of Thailand. And now it can be found all over the globe, from fine-dining restaurants in Dubai to the crowded downtown streets of an American city.
What does Pad Thai taste like?
Like the country of its namesake, the Pad Thai is a vibrant explosion of taste and colours. Sweet with a little bit of spice, topped with crunchy peanuts offset by the soft rice noodles, it’s a carnival of textures and flavours all tied together by one ingredient: the Tamarind paste. Slightly bitter, yet also gently sweet in taste it’s the soul of the dish and what (arguably) makes a Pad Thai, a Pad Thai.
Yet, as with all great food, the recipe is tweaked by each chef, as they add their signature to the dish. Be it extra spice, more fish, or a different kind of meat all together, there are now innumerable options to choose from. So take a look at restaurants near you and give Pad Thai a try!