Stalls dot the streets in major cities like Bangkok but the best version of this famous Thai street food I found was in Lumnaria, in Lopburi province. At that stall, the jovial used a large wok to make giant batches for her clamoring fans. She started by combining small strips of chicken, shrimp or other meat with the garlic in the first stage of the stir-fry. This was counter-intuitive, since many cooks fry aromatics alone first. Add chicken, shrimp or other meat to this dish if you wish.
Something that may surprise you is that Pad Thai stalls don’t always use a wok many often employ large flat griddles for cooking Pad Thai, pre-seasoned noodles of various shapes are at the ready, kept warm. Place your order, a portion slides into the hot spot, and the stir-frying commences. Like much of Thai cooking: no wok, no problem. Use a sauté pan for equally authentic results. Additional crunchy raw bean sprouts, dry-roasted peanuts, lime wedges, and ground chilies are served on the side, allowing the guest to customize the texture and flavor to taste.
© 2008 Robert Danhi. All rights reserved.