Plaek Phibunsongkhram promoted pad Thai in his campaign to establish Thai nationalism. Thailand was a main exporter of rice, and the government hoped to increase the amount available for export. As prime minister of Thailand between 1938 to 1944 and from 1948 to 1957, Phibun hoped to Westernize the country. In 1939, he supported the change of name of the country from Siam to Thailand. At the time, wheat noodles were very popular in Thailand, but Plaek Phibunsongkhram sought to eliminate Chinese influence. His government promoted rice noodles and helped to establish the identity of Thailand. As a result, a new noodle named sen chan was created.
Pad Thai was made popular in Thailand during World War II. Pad Thai has since become one of Thailand's national dishes. Today, some food vendors add pork-chops to enhance the taste (although the original recipe did not contain pork because of the government perception that pork was a Chinese meat). Some food vendors still use the original recipe. It is a fast, delicious and nutritious dish, and has become popular in many countries around the world.