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Monday, 10 January 2011

Food on Wheels; Pad Thai on the go!

Food on Wheels; Pad Thai on the go!

Another Food on Wheels post is due and here we are, Pad Thai on the go indeed!

This is probably one of the best known Thai dishes and it always works for me!

Pad Thai or Phat Thai (Thai: ผัดไทย [pʰàt tʰāj], "fried Thai style") is a dish of stir-fried rice noodles with eggs, fish sauce (Thai: น้ำปลา), tamarind juice, red chilli pepper, plus any combination of bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken, or tofu, garnished with crushed peanuts, coriander and lime, the juice of which can be added along with Thai condiments. Pad Thai is one of Thailand's national dishes.

During my last and most recent visit to Phuket, I encountered this vendor just after I left visiting my fellow blogger Jamie in Phuket!

This guy must be doing well because it will be difficult to fond a Western tourist who doesn't like Pad Thai, besides the Thais themselves who will enjoy a quick snack. Sometimes it's probably just a matter of getting the tourist so far to actually order food from a street vendor.

My golden rule, where ever I eat in Thailand is this; if it's busy and locals eat there, it must be good, since first of all, a lot of people means a lot of turnover which means a lot of fresh ingredients and secondly, a lot of locals always indicates that the food must be good, otherwise the locals wouldn't eat there!

A side view of the Pad Thai motorized kitchen, with a good view on the actual cooking plate.

Though Pad Thai had been known in various forms for centuries – it is thought to have been brought to the ancient Thai capital of Ayuthaya by Vietnamese traders – it was first made popular as a national dish by Luang Phibunsongkhram when he was prime minister during the 1930s and 1940s, partly as an element of his campaign for Thai nationalism and centralization, and partly for a campaign to reduce rice consumption in Thailand. The Thai economy at this time was heavily dependent on rice exports; Phibunsongkhram hoped to increase the amount available for export by launching a campaign to educate the poor in the production of rice noodles, as well as in the preparation of these noodles with other ingredients to sell in small cafes and from street carts.

During the recession following World War II, the post-war government of Phibunsongkhram, desperate in its efforts to revive the Thai economy, looked for ways to stem the massive tide of unemployment. Among the occupations the government aggressively promoted to give the populace a way to earn a living was the production of rice noodles and the operation of noodle shops. Detailed instructions on how to make the noodles and recipes were printed and distributed around the country. From these efforts, rice noodles became firmly rooted in the country and have since become a widespread staple food.

This looks like everything you always wanted to know about Pad Thai but never dared to ask ;-)

Hope you enjoyed this entry and stay tuned for a next episode of Food on Wheels!



chineng said...

emm.... sounds tasty & inviting, we r seniors from Malaysia, will b visitng Koh Samui soon, can we find Pad Thai in Koh Samui? where can we find it? How much a plate?

Camille said...


Although I haven't seen a mobile Pad Thai vendor on Samui yet, it's widely available around Samui in all kid of restaurants.
In a typical Thai restaurant it would probably go for around 40 to 50THB per plate and in the tourist area restaurants anywhere starting at 80 to 150,-THB.

Marion said...

thanks for the real interesting background info of rice noodels and phad thai. Did'nt know that. Like your very interesting blog. Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2011.
Best regards from grey and cold Germany and waiting to go to our second home on Samui mid February. Marion