November 7, 2017
Celebrating Pad Thai
Soak rice noodles in water for a few hours. Fry some eggs with tofu. Throw in lots of vegetables. Toss everything around in a sauce of tamarind, fish, and shrimp. Top it all off with roasted peanuts. Stick a fork in, make it messy, and slurp it all up!
These are the basics of Pad Thai, the uniquely sweet-salty noodle dish that is a signature street food of Thailand, and a heartwarming favorite for foodies around the world. In fact, it was today in 1945 that the tasty dish was announced the national cuisine of Thailand!
During the Second World War, Thailand faced an acute shortage of rice, a staple for the Thai people until that point. Rice noodles however happened to be cheap, filling, and plentiful. Coupled with vegetables and cheap sources of protein such as shrimp and prawns, rice noodles could provide a well-balanced, nutritious meal. An age-old recipe (thought to be introduced by Chinese traders) was popularized amongst vendors and began to be hawked widely on the streets. Overnight, a national favorite was born.
The recipe might be simple but each chef adds their own signature taste to the sauce, making it sweeter, spicier, or something in between. As with all street food, the messier and more social a meal, the better it tastes!
Today’s Doodle was inspired by Doodler Juliana's own research into cooking up Pad Thai with a friend. She wanted to be able to show all the delicious ingredients up close and invented some small pea-sized characters to be our culinary guides. Her lovely creation celebrates the process of cooking this unique dish and eating it with friends — warm, colorful, messy, social, and wonderfully Thai.
Kob khun mak, Pad Thai!