Food for Thought: A Short History of Pad Thai
We need food and drink to survive, to nourish us and to keep us in tip-top shape. But did you ever wonder about the history behind certain foods and drinks?
This week we’re bringing you the history behind pad thai!
The delicious flavours of Pad Thai noodles are said to have been introduced to the ancient Thai city of Ayutthaya by Vietnamese traders. Soon after its arrival the flavours were adapted to represent Thai cuisine.
During the 1930s and 1940s, the dish was made popular in Thailand during World War II.
Pad Thai become part of a campaign by the fascist government Plaek Phibunsongkhram seeking to reduce consumption of rice – Thailand at the time was heavily dependent on rice exports.
Pad Thai has since become one of Thailand's national dishes and has become popular in many countries around the world. However, the etymology of the dish’s name in Thai actually suggests more Chinese origins than Vietnamese.
According to Gastronomica, "To help popularize the new noodle dish, the government supplied people with a basic recipe for pad Thai, then encouraged vendors to make use of wheeled noodle carts—like mobile cook stalls equipped with a heat source and compartments to hold ingredients and cooking utensils—to sell the dish on Bangkok’s streets. Because the carts could move easily, pad Thai became a convenience food".
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