THE tasty Thai noodle dish “Pad Thai” enjoyed all around the world has now been listed in the Oxford dictionary website as a category C2 international word, which puts it on par with words like pizza from Italy, Sanook.com said today (Mar. 10).
A search at https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/ yields the following definition for Pad Thai:
“A dish from Thailand made with a type of noodles made from rice, spices, egg, vegetables and sometimes meat or seafood.”
Background of Pad Thai
During World War II with the influx of a large number of Chinese people noodles had become the most popular dish in the country.
The Thai Prime Minister of the time, Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, kicked off a campaign urging Thai people to eat more noodles and reduce rice consumption due to the economic downturn caused by the war.
“I want people everywhere to eat noodles because noodles are good for health, being sour, salty and sweet, this dish can be prepared within the country and is tasty too.
“Should everyone eat a bowl of noodles everyday, that’s 18 million bowls of noodles consumed, and the cost of the Thai nation is 90 million satang or 900,000 baht in circulation.
“This 900,000 baht will flow to farmers and fishermen and not stay in the hands of any one person. And one baht would still be worth one baht which can always be used to buy noodles. It is not that you can’t buy anything as is currently the situation, which is equivalent to not getting full benefit from money,” he had said.
Cooks create a new dish
After that an idea took hold to adapt noodles and turn it into a Thai dish by stir-frying it. The original Pad Thai was made with Chanthaboon rice noodles from Chanthaburi province in the east but today there are many different versions of the dish.
The creative cooks did not add pork because they did not want it to be similar to Chinese stir-fried noodles, and instead put in dried shrimp, yellow tofu, chives, banana blossom and bean sprouts, all ingredients easily available in Thailand.
Over the past few decades Pad Thai became Thailand’s national dish and also very popular and accepted worldwide similar to Tom Yam Kung.
A plate of delicious Pad Thai, above, and a cook stir-frying it, Front Page. Photos: Sanook.com