Thinking back to all my trips to Thailand, I can’t say that I ever had pad Thai in its native habitat. I’ve had it coast to coast in the US of course and have even attempted to make it at home from a boxed mix and some frozen chicken breasts. The sauce in my prefab version was overly sweet and the noodles rather average. About all that boxed stuff did was fill me up rather than dazzle my tastebuds.
This plate of Pad Thai Saigon style tasted suspiciously similar to that prefab nonsense from Trader Joe’s back home. The three large shrimp and pieces of tofu scattered throughout the pile of noodles were quite good though, and I made sure each piece received a nice coating of the sticky, sweet sauce. But back to those noodles…
What they did to these noodles I have no idea. They were chewy. They were overcooked. They were clumped together. Usually I can manage to ruin a batch of pasta in one of those ways but never all three together. That takes quite some bit of talent! It’s like they threw this foolishness into a wok and let the oil further coagulate things into a wadded up mess of starch.
A while back I had read that Pad Thai is about as unhealthy a dish as they come calorie wise much to my chagrin. I smugly pushed the plate away and calculated how much potential diet wrecking fat and carbs I had just saved by not eating 90% of the noodles. But the way I am wired I immediately began thinking that since I didn’t eat the noodles, I could later swap in a pastry or cookie. Yes, that is how my mind works when it comes to my daily diet.
I stirred around this mass of starch with my chopsticks one more time and decided to just call it a day. Eventually I suppose I will learn my lesson. Straying off the path and ordering food not from the immediate geographical regions in which I am dining just yields a plate of disappointment more times than not in Vietnam.