Pad Thai has to be one of my all-time favourite dishes. If I had to choose one thing to eat until the day I die, it’d probably be Pad Thai. When done right, it’s a meal in itself and incorporates all my favourite things – noodles, spice and peanuts.
Thai food in general is definitely my favourite type of cuisine. If someone asks me where I’d like to go eat, I instantly think of Thai, but rarely suggest it for a few reasons – firstly, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and secondly, I don’t want to come across too obsessed with it. But 90 per cent of the time it’s what I want.
My love for Thai food is a relatively recent thing. I still remember the first time I had it. It was the end of grade 12 at Baan Thai on Dresden Row, just off Spring Garden Road in Halifax. I was one of five members of student council, and we went out for supper as a year-end/graduation celebration. One of my best friends – affectionately known as Choda – suggested it, and described it to me as similar to Chinese food in flavour, but much lighter feeling and definitely healthier tasting. She was right!
I was pretty smitten off the get-go. I went back to Baan Thai and to other Thai spots around Halifax pretty regularly that summer before packing up our Honda Odyssey and moving to Ottawa for university. Thankfully Ottawa had even more Thai restaurants – I was in heaven!
And so my Thai infatuation continued. My 19th birthday celebrations began at Royal Thai in the Byward Market. My mom called the owner and got him to surprise me with a huge bouquet of balloons. It was really special and about 20 of my friends came out that night. Unfortunately most of them were still 18… so it was a pretty tame 19th birthday!
Now, whenever my parents come to Ottawa, we always go out for Thai. No one loves it quite as much as I do, but I try to convert as many people as possible. “White people” food seems so bland and boring in comparison! A very wise man once told me “the older the civilization, the better the food.” I think he hit the nail on the head.
Naturally I’ve made Thai food a number of times. Most recently, Pad Thai graced the cover of Canadian Living magazine – a special gluten free version. I had to try it – I’ve made many different Pad Thai recipes, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten it just right.
This recipe is definitely different – but no two Pad Thais are ever the same, so maybe that’s fitting. What’s really interesting is that the sauce is made with ketchup, and dish has three different proteins: tofu, shrimp and chicken (clearly I omitted the chicken because of Lent).
It was very tasty. I highly recommend the chopped peanuts and fresh limes – they add a lot to the flavour. And of course, cilantro is a must (my favourite herb).
Take my advice and give ‘er a whirl – Thai food is totally in. Even my Poppy loves it!