The History Of Pad Thai

The History Of Pad Thai

Pad thai is the number one dish asked for at Thai restaurants in the United States. It is a dish of Thailand, or is it?

In 2009 Gastronomica wrote quoting Nitya Pibulsonggram, Thailand’s former ambassador to the United States, saying in respects to pad Thai, “It may be the original fast food in Thailand.”

Does Pad Thai Originate In Thailand

Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken

The full name of the dish in Thai is “kway teow pad thai,” which translates to “Thai-style stir-fried noodles.”

The cooking method of stir-frying meat, vegetables and noodles together with sauce is more Chinese than Thai.

Noodle stir-fries are typically unique to Chinese cuisine. In fact, just about every ingredient found in pad Thai isn’t native to the people of Thailand.

The only really Thai ingredient is the pounded dried chillies – and that is according to the Bangkok Post (food section).

Chef Kasma Loha-unchit a Thai-American Cooking Teacher and Author

Chef Kasma Loha-unchit a Thai-American cooking teacher, and author, notes in her own recipe, to translate “kway teow pad thai” as Thai-style stir-fried noodles,’ would clearly suggest the recipe has origins that are not Thai.

How Pad Thai Was Introduced To Thailand

Chicken Pad Thai

The popularization of the noodle dish, was but one of several measures taken by Thai authorities in the 1930s to both Westernize and modernize the country.

Thailand unified around the recipe as its national dish, that in 1932 Thailand’s then prime minister, Phibun, popularized the dish.

He distributed the recipe as it was considered a nutritious, well-balanced and inexpensive meal to prepare.

Thailand Food Vendor
Making and Selling Pad Thai

Phibun’s government not only disseminated the recipe for pad Thai, but encouraged street vendors to make and sell it throughout the country.

Fun Facts About Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai

Once you’ve had pad thai, it’s easy to know why it’s so popular. The ingredients can vary, but it will always have rice noodles, peanuts, scrambled eggs and vegetables stir-fried in an awesomely delicious sauce.

It’s full of fresh flavors, and the sauce has the perfect balance of sweet, sour and savory tastes.

In 2007 there were some 11,600 and in 2008 over 20,000 Thai restaurants worldwide, many of which have donned the name of Thailand’s most popular noodle dish, again according to Gastronomica.

Given that pad Thai can now be found in more than 2 million Google searches, it would certainly seem unthinkable to call the dish by any other name. But it wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, either.

As Thai food goes truly global, lover’s of pad Thai can now say that their favorite dish has become as ubiquitous as the Mexican taco or Italian spaghetti.

Read more here on How To Prepare Authentic Thai Food With These Key Ingredients – recipes included

Search for more Asian food by typing “Asian” in the search box below and click search.

More Deliciously Yummy Recipes

Chicken Pad Thai

Pad Thai is one of the most well known stir-fried Thai dish.

The combination of rice noodles, vegetables, and chicken all tossed in a sweet and sour sauce with a little bit of spice makes for a tangy and delicious plate of food.

Read More Here About The History Of Pad Thai

Toss Those Rice Noodles, Vegetables & Sauce With Shrimp Pad Thai

This recipe is a fast and easy version of traditional pad Thai. It maintains the authentic Thai flavors, and therefore, guaranteed to please your taste buds.

Chicken Pad Thai

For the Pad Thai Sauce:

1/4 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons fish sauce

3 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili sauce, or to taste

3/4 tablespoon tamarind paste, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water

For the Pad Thai:

8 ounces rice noodles

1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped chicken breast or thigh

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 to 2 fresh red chiles, minced

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup radicchio, chopped (or vegetables of choice, like kale, green or red cabbage)

1 cup carrots, julienne cut, 2-inch match sticks

1 cup asparagus, sliced, length 2-inches

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/3 cup cashews

Lime or lemon wedges, for garnish

Make the sauce by combining the tamarind paste mixture, chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar, and chili sauce. Stir well to dissolve.

Taste-test for a tangy balance between sweet and sour. Add more sugar if too sour or more tamarind if too sweet.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and dunk in rice noodles. Stir to separate. Only cook until they are limp but still firm and slightly chewy (they will finish cooking later in the pan).

Drain the noodles and rinse well with cold water to prevent sticking. Set aside.

Place the chicken in a small bowl. Stir together the soy sauce and cornstarch and pour over the chicken. Stir well and set aside.

Preheat a wok or large frying skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil followed by the garlic and minced chili, if using. Stir-fry until fragrant about 30 seconds.

Add the marinated chicken. If the wok or skillet becomes dry, add the chicken stock. Stir-fry 5 to 7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.

Add the drained noodles and pour the prepared sauce over. Using two utensils, use a gentle “lift and turn” method to fry the noodles (like tossing a salad).

Stir-fry in this way 5 minutes, or until the noodles are chewy. If you find your skillet too dry, add a little more oil.

Add the vegetables and continue frying for 1 more minute, or until the noodles are cooked. The noodles are done when they taste chewy and a little sticky.

Taste-test for seasoning, adding more fish sauce until your desired flavor is reached (you can add up to 1 tablespoon fish sauce).

Top with generous sprinklings of fresh cilantro and cashews. Serve with fresh lime or lemon wedges on the side.

More Deliciously Yummy Recipes

Mango Thai Noodle Salad With Sesame Ginger Dressing

Mango Thai Noodle Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

If you like Asian noodle salads, then you’ll love this fresh and bold deliciously yummy Mango Thai Noodle Salad.

It features gluten-free rice noodles, fresh crunchy vegetables, ginger, cashews, sweet chunks of mango and fresh herbs like Thai Basil, mint and cilantro.

This visually appealing and delicious salad is remarkably low in calories and fat.

Mango Thai Noodle Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

8 ounces rice noodles

2 mangos, diced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 cups snow peas or sugar snap peas, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced

¼ cup EACH: cilantro, mint, and Thai basil ¼ cup whole cashews, roasted

Sesame Ginger Dressing

¼ cup avocado oil (or any neutral-tasting vegetable oil)

3 tablespoons EACH: sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and tamari sauce (or a gluten-free soy sauce)

2 tablespoons EACH: tahini and honey, can sub maple syrup

1 tablespoon finely minced ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon salt

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Once cooked, drain them in a colander then cool them under cold tap water. Set them aside to drain completely.

In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Pour the dressing into a large salad bowl.

Next place the cooked rice noodles and all the remaining ingredients and toss until well coated and everything is mixed together.

While this Thai Noodle Salad can easily be served as a lunch or brunch dish, it can be a main meal dish as well.

Just add some marinated barbecued chicken thighs.

This Asian inspired salad can serve 4-5 persons. Therefore, marinate 4-5 chicken thighs (skinless, boneless) with some gluten-free soy sauce or tamari sauce, a little fish sauce and coconut sugar.

Marinate meat for more than 30 minutes. Then cook on a bbq grill. Chop meat and add to salad.

Read more here about Cooking With Chicken Thighs.

And if you like mangoes , then you’ll love the deliciousness of our Apple Mango and Radish Salad.

More Deliciously Yummy Recipes

Shrimp Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food and at most restaurants in Thailand.

Street Food Vendor – Thailand

The dish is typically prepared 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 a pad thai sauce, which gives the dish its signature tangy salty flavor with a hint of sweetness.

The History of Pad Thai

Stir-fried rice noodles were introduced to Thailand from China centuries ago.

The original name of Pad Thai is Gway Teow Pad Thai.

Gway Teow means “rice noodles in Chinese” which suggests that there are some elements of China in the dish.

Rice Noodles

But the present name tells us all about the famous dish. ‘Pad’ means ‘fried’ and ‘Thai’, means Thai style.

It is believed that a similar dish was brought to the Ayutthaya kingdom by Chinese Traders in the 1700s.

The website Expique writes that Pad thai is a relatively recent addition to Thai cuisine, and traces its origins to a period of ultra-nationalism in Thailand in the wake of the 1932 revolution.

Pad thai was listed at number five on a list of “World’s 50 most delicious foods” readers’ poll compiled by CNN TRAVEL in 2017.

Tim Cheung journalist for CCN says of the 2017 poll, “Here’s a food Thai people can’t live without. Similar to Bulgogi, pad thai is packed with nutrients stirred into one glorious fried-noodle dish.


Tim says Pad Thai’s secret is in the sauce — tamarind paste. If anyone ever creates a Hall of Food Fame, that should be first on the list.”

Tamarind Paste

Shrimp Pad Thai

10-12 ounces dried flat rice noodles (1/4-inch wide; sometimes called pad Thai or banh pho)

1/2 pound cooked medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, tail on if desired (for looks)

Medium Shrimp

3 tbsp tamarind paste

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tbsp chili sauce (recommended: Sriracha)

4 medium shallots, minced

4 garlic cloves, minced

4-5 scallions, green and pale green parts, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup radicchio, chopped (or vegetables of choice, like kale or green and purple cabbage)

1 1/2 cups peanut oil

Lime wedges

In a small bowl add the tamarind paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, and chili sauce, sir until sugar has dissolved, set aside.

Add rice noodles to a large bowl and pour hot water over them, making all noodles are submerged in hot water.

Soak the rice noodles, according to the instructions on your package, until they are tender. Usually 4-5 minutes. When done, drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Next, heat a wok or frying pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil, then swirl to coat side of pan or wok.

Stir-fry scallions, garlic, and shallots until softened, about 1 minute.

Add noodles and stir-fry for about 2 minutes.

Next add crushed peanuts, radicchio, sliced green onions, tamarind sauce and simmer, turning noodles to coat with sauce evenly, about 2 minutes.

Plate noodles and top with cooked shrimp, and chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

Green Curry Chicken

Green Curry Chicken

Most curry dishes use a curry paste which is a pureed blend of beautiful smelling or aromatic spices, herbs, and vegetables. It is widely used as an ingredient in the cuisines of many cultures to make curries, stews, and other dishes. Most of the time though, Indian food comes to mind when you talk about curry. There are many different types of curry pastes, and each country’s blend has a distinct flavor.

The common spices used are cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cardamon, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and onion. The base ingredient to start a curry paste is turmeric, which makes a yellow curry. Red pepper is added to make a red curry, and cilantro is added to make a green curry paste.

Using all of these ingredients makes for a healthy meal. To learn more about the healthy side of these culinary spices link here – Spice and Herbs Benefits -.

Our featured recipe uses green curry, and here is what you will need.

1 lb. rice noodles, cooked

1 pound (1-inch) cubed chicken breast tenders

½ lb. cut green beans, steamed

2 cups tricolor pre-chopped bell pepper mix

Oils to Use for Healthy Cooking - avocado oil or coconut oil2 to 3 teaspoons green curry paste

1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk, divided

Cooking oil, avocado oil or coconut oil ————->

Steam green beans first, about 5 minutes, then remove steaming basket and use boiling water to cook rice noodles according to package directions. Set both aside when done. Rinse rice noodles when cooked.


Chicken cooking in coconut oil and green curry sauce - Green Curry ChickenHeat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking oil. Add chicken to pan and sauté 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Stir in curry paste and cook 1 minute more, stirring frequently.

Meat and Vegetable Mix for Green curry Chicken

Stir in 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.

Stir in bell pepper mix, and remaining coconut milk. Cook 3 minutes or until peppers are tender. Add steamed green beans and mix in. Add ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt (optional).

showing the details of the Meat and Vegetable Mix for Green curry ChickenThere are 3 rules to a good meal. Besides flavor and smell, can you SEE what else makes a good meal appealing? Leave a comment below to let us know if you can guess the third rule of a good meal.

Green Curry ChickenPlate the rice noodles and top with Green Curry Chicken. If you wish top that with cilantro or with fresh basil as we did here. If you find the rice noodles to sticky, just take a plate one serving at a time and run warm water over it. Shake it dry and plate it. Enjoy!!


What Others are Writing about Across the Web: