Pad Thai: Started life in Asia; now it’s travelled the world

The dish everyone must try.

One of the world’s most popular Asian dishes is Pad Thai, and it’s known around the world as Thailand’s national dish. The exact origin of the dish isn’t fully understood even today, but about 600 or 700 years ago it spread throughout Thailand. Around the time of WWII floods ravaged much of the country, and–if that weren’t bad enough–sanctions made life even harder for the Thai people. One of the consequences was a shortage of rice, which is pretty much a disaster when you think of how important rice is in Asian cuisine. The Thai government didn’t want its people to be reliant on Chinese rice imports therefore it encouraged people to eat wheat-based pasta. That’s why, for a period of time, the noodles used in Pad Thai were made with flour. Before that tricky period and since then, the basis of Pad Thai has always been rice noodles.

There are many versions of Pad Thai that can make the dish slightly different depending on who’s making it. Some prefer it one way, others like it another way, however, the basics are essentially the same. 

You definitely need a wok, rice noodles, bean sprouts, palm sugar, oil, fish sauce, and vegetables. Pad Thai is often served with peanuts, raw veggies, and lime as well. The most popular street food version is served with prawns, but lots of other places serve it with egg or chicken. In most restaurants you can also select it with tofu, beef, or duck.

Pad Thai isn’t a complicated meal, but, as easy it is to make, it’s also pretty easy to get wrong. If you get a good version the first time you try it, your relationship with Pad Thai will last a lifetime!