Pad thai

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Pad thai
Phat Thai kung Chang Khien street stall.jpg
Street stall pad thai from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand
Alternative namesPhad thai, phat thai (also spelled with a capital "Thai")
TypeRice noodle dish
Place of originThailand
Associated national cuisineThai
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsRice noodles, eggs, tofu, tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chili pepper, palm sugar, lime, peanuts

Pad thai, or phad thai (/ˌpɑːd ˈt/ or /ˌpæd ˈt/; Thai: ผัดไทย, RTGSphat thai, ISO: p̄hạdịthy, pronounced [pʰàt tʰāj] (About this soundlisten), 'Thai stir fry'), is a stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food and at most restaurants in Thailand as part of the country's cuisine.[1][2] It is typically made with rice noodles, chicken, beef or tofu, peanuts, a scrambled egg, and bean sprouts, among other vegetables. The ingredients are sautéed together in a wok, which creates even heat distribution. Once the dish is completed it is tossed in pad thai sauce, which gives the dish its signature tangy salty flavor with a hint of sweetness.


Pad thai is made with rehydrated dried rice noodles with some tapioca flour mixed in, which are stir fried with eggs and chopped firm tofu, flavored with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic or shallots, red chili pepper and palm sugar, and served with lime wedges and often chopped roasted peanuts.[3] It may contain other vegetables like bean sprouts, garlic chives, pickled radishes or turnips, and raw banana flowers. It may also contain fresh shrimp, crab, squid, chicken or other animal proteins.

Many of the ingredients are provided on the side as condiments, such as the red chili pepper, lime wedges, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, spring onion and other miscellaneous fresh vegetables.[4] Vegetarian versions may substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce and omit the shrimp entirely.


Though stir fried rice noodles were introduced to Thailand from China centuries ago, the dish pad thai was invented in the mid-20th century.[5]

Author Mark Padoongpatt[6] maintains that pad thai is "...not this traditional, authentic, going back hundreds of years dish. It was actually created in the 1930s in Thailand by Plaek Phibunsongkhram, who was the prime minister at the time. The dish was created because Thailand was focused on nation building.[2] So he created this dish using Chinese noodles and called it pad Thai as a way to galvanize nationalism."[7]

Another explanation of pad thai's provenance holds that, during World War II, Thailand suffered a rice shortage due to the war and floods. To reduce domestic rice consumption, the Thai government under Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram promoted consumption of noodles instead.[8] His government promoted rice noodles and helped to establish the identity of Thailand.[2] As a result, a new noodle called sen chan (named after Chanthaburi Province) was created. Pad thai has since become one of Thailand's national dishes.[9] Today, some food vendors add pork or chicken (although the original recipe did not contain pork because of the government's perception that pork was a Chinese meat).[10] Some food vendors still use the original recipe.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Pad thai is listed at number five on a list of "World's 50 most delicious foods" readers' poll compiled by CNN Go in 2011.[11]
  • The Thai film Jao saao Pad Thai uses pad thai as a plot device as the protagonist claims she will marry whoever eats her pad thai for 100 days in a row.[12]
  • In 2008, in an episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, celebrity chef Bobby Flay was defeated by Chef Nongkran Daks at her restaurant, Thai Basil, in Chantilly, Virginia.[13]
  • On 7 November 2017, a Google Doodle featuring pad thai was displayed in the United States, Canada, Cuba, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and several countries in both Europe and South America.[14][15] Google celebrated it as an initiative of Doodler Juliana.[16] While she was researching how to prepare it, she aimed to show all the ingredients up close and with a colourful animation.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "pad thai". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  2. ^ a b c Mayyasi, Alex (7 November 2019). "The Oddly Autocratic Roots of Pad Thai". Gastro Obscura. Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Pad Thai-ผัดไทยกุ้งสด" (in Thai). Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  4. ^ "7-Steps to Properly Eating Pad Thai". Retrieved 2017-05-29.
  5. ^ "The Truth About Pad Thai". BBC. 2015-04-28.
  6. ^ Padoongpatt, Mark (September 2017). Flavors of Empire: Food and the Making of Thai America. American Crossroads (Book 45) (1st ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520293748. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  7. ^ Belle, Rachel. "Why there are so many Thai restaurants in Seattle". My Northwest. KIRO Radio. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  8. ^ Pungkanon, Kupluthai (13 May 2018). "All wrapped up and ready to go". The Nation. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  9. ^ Tapia, Semina (2011-08-15). "Thai National Foods". Archived from the original on 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
  10. ^ ไพวรรณ์, กฤษดา. "วัฒนธรรมการกิน : กินแบบชาตินิยมสมัยจอมพล ป. พิบูลสงคราม". Official of Art and Culture: Muban Chombueng Rajabhat University (in Thai). Archived from the original on 2018-03-15. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  11. ^ "Your pick: World's 50 most delicious foods". CNN Go. September 7, 2011. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  12. ^ Jao saao Pad Thai (2004) - Plot Summary
  13. ^ "Pad Thai: Throwdown With Bobby Flay". Food Network. 2009-11-16. Archived from the original on 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
  14. ^ "Doodles: Celebrating Pad Thai". Google. November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "What is Pad Thai?". Retrieved 7 November 2017.

External links[edit]