If you do a Phad Thai image search you will be amazed at how many variations there are. Type "ผัดไทยกุ้งสด" the Thai script for phad thai into google images and again and you will see that even Thai people don't appear to have any definitive concept of what phad thai is. If you look up "authentic phad thai recipe", again various "experts" will tell you their version is "just like in Thailand" or whatever. Most recipes do have some ingredients in common, such as tamarind, palm sugar, and fish sauce, but otherwise it seems to be a free for all.
Recently I had a Phad Thai Showdown against my friend and accomplished Thai chef Joey in Copenhagen. Both were good, but ultimately most people thought mine was better. I watched Joey make his and it seemed very authentic, and that's the problem. By nature, phad thai is a pretty boring dish. People who love Thai Cuisine expect certain things. Big bold flavours like you get in Tom Yum or Massaman Curry . Phad thai doesn't traditionally have those things. I know what the punters want. I threw the kitchen sink of Thai flavours into my version. Besides the necessary tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar, I put lemongrass, kaffir, galangal, red curry paste, oyster sauce, sriracha, rice vinegar, and yes, even the dreaded ketchup! Joey's very nice traditional version didn't stand a chance against the Thai food bomb that exploded on my plate.
I've pulled this stunt against Italian chefs and Caribbean cooks as well, sneaking nontraditional things into their cherished national dishes and coming out on top. There's a lesson to be learned. You don't cook for yourself, or some sacred ideal of what a dish should be. You cook for your customers, and you need to understand what their expectations are. I learned this the hard way from the famous "sheppard's pie incident" in Scotland, which I will relate to you another time. Believe me, you can slave in the kitchen over technique, sourcing the best ingredients, use your grandma's best recipe and put all your love and soul into a dish, but If doesn't match what the customer imagines, or what they are used to eating, the work will not pay off.
hotdog, or one of those Jamaican patties you get in a corner store. If you are hungry and want to eat then eat it. The motto cabbie thinks it's alright.
|Pad Thai Loong Pha|
|The red stuff in the pot is pure shrimp goodness|
|Learn to do this!|
|How it is presented|
|This woman loves her job|
|Menu at Pad Thai Loong Pha|