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  • Google’s ‘Pad Thai’ doodle

    Posted on November 7th, 2017 at 06:32 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    You may have noticed today’s Google Doodle, which “celebrates Pad Thai.”

    Having lived in Thailand for 13 years, I consider myself something of an aficionado — but my wife’s the expert. My wife still makes the best Phad Thai I’ve ever had. She learned at her mother’s knee, in South Eastern Thailand.

    A couple of notes. ผัดไทย or Phad Thai (that’s the way my wife spells it) is pronounced, more or less, “pud tai.” Thai is a tonal language, so you’ll never get it right. It literally means “stir fried, Thai style” which describes the situation quite well – stir fried noodles, done the Thai way, almost always in a cast iron wok.

    There’s an entire cuisine built around Phad Thai. Every Thai village has at least two or three different roadside stalls selling Phad Thai, and they’re all different. The best Phad Thai IMHO is, invariably, available near the sea, where fresh shrimp makes it Phad Thai Goong. (Goong = shrimp) Phuket is a Phad Thai paradise.

    I’ve had good Phad Thai in the US, but most of it’s kinda blah. The recipe offered by Google/YouTube is OK, but you really need to get original, authentic, fresh ingredients — which I can find in several Asian grocery stores in Nashville and, especially, Atlanta. If you’re curious, watch this excellent video from a real Thai Thai named Poo.

    Avoid the temptation to use the American “Sriracha” sauce — you know, the bottle with the rooster on it. It’s made by a Vietnamese guy in Los Angeles. Which is fine, but the best stuff comes from Sriracha, the eponymous province in Thailand where Sriracha sauce was invented. My favorite is Sriraja Thai Panich from Theparos Food Products, which you can find in Asian markets all over the US. It’s completely different from the rooster stuff.

    Some day, I swear, I’ll write a book about real Thai food.