From food courts to sidewalk vendors to posh Thai restaurants, each has its own version of this delicious and fragrant stir-fried dish. Though each Pad Thai differs in terms of presentation, quantity and toppings, it all makes use of a generous amount of flat rice noodles mixed with eggs, fish sauce and served with crushed peanuts and a slice of lime at the side.
With only three days to scour the streets of Bangkok, we didn't waste anytime in trying out what this Asian shopping and culinary mecca has to offer. Every meal always has a plate of Pad Thai for us to try out prompting the start of what I'd call the...
Pad Thai #1: found at the Big C food court
It was raining so hard during our 2nd night and most of the malls were closing. With our stomach slowly growling louder and louder we asked the taxi driver to bring us to the big supermarket beside our hotel. We literally raced up to the top floor to make it to the food court. After settling on our seats, we ordered a plate of All-Shrimps Pad Thai. The place has a very casual feel with cleanliness not being it's top strength still it is packed with a mix of locals and foreign customers alike.
After 5 minutes, our Pad Thai was served. It's a small serving of rice noodles mixed with minced shrimps, tofu and onion leeks. On the side is handful of bean sprouts and chopped nuts which Paul quickly mixed in with the noodles. This version has a perfect consistency. It's neither too dry nor was it swimming in sauce. We love the creamy texture that perfectly complimented the fiery hot green chicken curry bowl which we also ordered.
We enjoyed it so much that we got another order this time with mixed seafood. The cost is 63baht (approximately Php. 86 / $1.92) which is very reasonable considering that it's really good and that the serving is good for 2.
Pad Thai #2: found at the MBK food court
After spending the entire morning going on a city tour around Bangkok, we proceeded to one of the biggest shopping malls called MBK (formerly known as MahBoonKrong) Center.
On the 5th floor of this 8 stories high complex is their food court called The Fifth food avenue. I love their concept where each customer is given a card for the food tenants to swipe upon receiving the orders and the total bill will be paid upon exit. This food court is bigger and cleaner compared to the one at Big C. It features food stalls specializing in different global cuisines such as Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Greek, Italian and of course Thai.
We wasted no time in deciding and ordered a plate of Pad Thai to share together with a sizzling platter of Japanese Yakiudon, a serving of Chicken Satay and a couple of Vietnamese Spring Rolls. As a perfect accompaniment, we each got a tall glass of Thai Iced Tea to drink.
MBK's Pad Thai is bigger in size making it good for 3-4 pax to share. The bean sprouts have been mixed in with the noodles, minced pork and tofu leaving a small stalk of cilantro and a handful of chopped nuts at the side. Although we enjoyed MBK's Pad Thai, we find it a bit too dry for our liking. It tastes a bit bland as compared our first Pad Thai at Big C.
Perhaps, given the posh atmosphere, this Pad Thai is worth 110Baht (approximately Php. 150 / $3.28) which is a bit expensive compared to the other Pad Thai's being sold elsewhere.
Pad Thai #3: found at the Suvarnabhumi Airport
Before we finally bid good bye to Bangkok, we just had to have one last taste of our favorite noodle dish and so at Dragon Jade near Gate D, we enjoyed our last plate of Authentic Pad Thai.
Although its texture is better than the one at MBK, it still didn't match up to our first Pad Thai at Big C. However, it's more flavorful perhaps due to the presence of a few chili peppers which successfully perked up the taste. This Pad Thai is also the most expensive one that we've had most probably because the restaurant is located inside the airport. At 190baht (approximately Php. 256.5/ $5.7) Dragon Jade's Pad Thai is only good for 2 pax.
I guess our favorite Pad Thai is pretty obvious. We love the creamy, just right texture of Big C. It's surprising that we found the best Pad Thai in a very unassuming place. One that lives in simplicity yet produces a very delicious stir-fried noodle dish to the delight of its customers.
It was so good that it made our happy tummies say Khap Koon Kap!!