I never order Pad Thai when I’m eating at a Thai restaurant. It’s like ordering a hamburger at a high end steak house — incredibly pointless and lacking in all the real action. Why order noodles that have likely been adulterated with sickly sweet seasonings such as ketchup when you could bury your face in a wildly aromatic sour curry or a sinus-blasting soup with a funny name like the one I had last weekend. By now I’ve read enough well-traveled food writers to believe that Pad Thai is one of those dishes that needs to be experienced out of the back of some peasant’s dingy rig at the side of the road on the outskirts of Bangkok. Until I make it to Thailand, I will continue to uncomfortably glare at any dinner companions who dare eat something so pedestrian in my presence.
If ordering Pad Thai when eating out is gauche, then making it at home must be blasphemous. If you’re even thinking about it, this recipe will tell you you’re wrong before you’ve started. Any Thai person would shake their head in disgust at you.
Well, I disobeyed my prejudices after realizing that Pad Thai would be an easy way to use up a bunch of the ingredients sitting in my pantry that I’m trying to get rid of before I move. And heaven help me, I used Annie Chun brown rice noodles, though I swear I try to stay away from the second rate global cuisine junk in the international aisle of the supermarket. OK it might be a far cry from the real deal, but I somewhat guiltily enjoyed it. Can someone tell me what the Thai word for gringo is?