What Is Pad Thai?

What Is Pad Thai?

Pad Thai is one of the national dishes of Thailand. However, its popularity is international as it has great taste. It is mostly served as street food, but you can also eat it in many restaurants in Thailand. This delicious dish contains simple and accessible ingredients. It can be made with shrimps, chicken, or even tofu.

It has a mixture of carbohydrates, vegetables, and proteins, so it is a nutritious and balanced meal. Since the ingredients may vary, it is possible to find quite a few different recipes. The recipe below is the most popular one. 

ingredients for pad thai


  • 6 ounces of flat rice noodles
  • 8 ounces uncooked shrimp 
  • 2-3 chopped garlic cloves 
  • 1 shallot (finely diced)
  • 2 eggs (whisked with a fork)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 2 ounces bean sprouts
  • 1-ounce peanut (crushed)
  • 1 tamarind
  • 1 lime

How to Cook Pad Thai with Shrimps

  1. First, put the rice noodles in a deep bowl. Boil enough water to cover them. Cover the noodles with boiling water until tender. 
  2. Then, crush the tamarind with a fork in another bowl. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, and fish sauce and stir to make a dish. Set aside.
  3. Heat half of the oil in a wok over medium-high heat.
  4. Chop the shallot and saute for 2-3 minutes together with the chopped garlic in the wok.
  5. Add the shrimps, and then add some salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 4-5 minutes more.
  6. Rinse the noodles under cold water and drain. Add the noodles and stir. 
  7. Add the pre-prepared sauce and stir again. 
  8. Making a space on one side of the wok, pour the other half of the oil. Break the eggs and stir the white and yolk well. When the egg is cooked, mix it with all the other ingredients.
  9. Add bean sprouts and stir for the last time. 
  10. Serve onto plates with lime wedges and the crushed peanut on top. It is served hot.

Tips for Flavour

If you want your home-cooked Pad Thai to be as delicious as the traditional one, there are some useful tips you can benefit from. First of all, you need to have all your components ready before you cook. Having a good wok pan that heats up fast is another key factor. A carbon-steel wok with a flat bottom might be practical as carbon-steel woks conduct heat well. Conducting heat is very crucial for stir-fried dishes like Pad Thai. Undercooking noodles is also important. Noodles continue to absorb the liquid of the sauce. If you overcook, noodles can be mushy. Finally, you should scramble the eggs separately and then add them to the other ingredients. This will preserve the texture, and you can avoid overcooking all the ingredients in the wok. 

the history of pad thai

The History of Pad Thai 

The history of this popular dish is not too old. Although rice noodles date back to much earlier times, Pad Thai was introduced to Thailand in the 1930s by Plaek Phibunsongkhram, the then-prime-minister. Back then, Thailand used to focus on nation-building. The prime minister wanted to create a national dish to arouse feelings of nationalism among people. Noodles were originally from China, so he used Chinese noodles on purpose and called the “Pad Thai” dish. According to another scenario regarding the dish’s provenance, Thailand suffered a rice shortage during World War II. To reduce domestic rice consumption, the government under the rule of Plaek Phibunsongkhram promoted noodle consumption instead. Thus, the national dish of Thai came into being. 

FAQ on Pad Thai

What does Pad Thai mean?

Pad means to stir fry, and the word Thai obviously refers to Thailand. So, the name of the dish stands for stir-fried noodles from Thailand. Many dishes in Thailand have “pad” in their names.

Is it difficult to cook this dish?

No, it is quite easy to cook. It usually takes half an hour – 20 minutes for preparation and 10 minutes for cooking. If you prepare the ingredients in advance, it takes a maximum of 15 minutes.

Is there a vegetarian/vegan version? 

Yes, both versions are available. If you are a vegetarian, you can substitute soy sauce for fish sauce, and you can make it with tofu instead of shrimps or chicken. You can replace tofu with various vegetables like red pepper strips and broccoli florets and omit eggs entirely in the vegan version.

Where does it come from?

It isn’t easy to trace the origin of the dish. However, many people believe Chinese traders introduced it. On the other hand, others believe that it is a dish of Vietnamese origin.

Conclusion on Pad Thai

In this article, we have explained what kind of dish Pad Thai is, how to cook it, and how to make it more savory. We also have covered the history and the origin of the dish. This internationally popular dish appeals to all senses, and it is a must-try delicacy!  Want to learn about another cuisine? Then, you should try out the French toast!

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After working for so many years in the screenwriting business, Ralph decided that he needed to be more involved with the digital world. Therefore he became a content writer by putting his skills into practice after learning about subjects he's interested in, mostly social media.

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