Pad Thai, also referred to as phad thai, or phat thai, is a popular street food in Thailand. Its main ingredients include dried shrimp, garlic, red chili pepper, fish, vegetables, and tofu in a sauce of tamarind and eggs, cooked all together in stir-fried noodles. How was this dish created?
The creation of this famous Thailand dish goes back to World War II when the country faced a shortage of rice. Thailanders used rice noodles as a substitute and added cheap filling options.
Who Invented Phad Thai?
Plaek Phibunsongkhram, Phibun, was the man who invented Pad Thai. Pad Thai was named after its origin country, Thailand.
Phibun, also known as Plaek Phibunsongkhram, was also locally called Marshal P. He was a politician and Thai military officer who became a Prime Minister from 1938 to 1944 and from 1948 until 1957. He was born on July 14, 1897, in Mueang Nonthaburi, Nonthaburi Province in the Kingdom of Siam to his parents Keed Khittasangkha and his wife.
He played a huge part during the coup in the 1930s which dethroned Thailand’s monarchy and took his steps going up the ladder of power until he became the Prime Minister. Being in the position, Phibun became worried about Thailand, their country, being surrounded by the French and British. Their kingdom, Siam, during that time, had very little to hold their divergent groups together after the removal of the monarchy. (Source: Google Arts and Culture)
In the 1930s, Phibun came up with an idea and put in a lot of effort to redesign their country’s identity and culture. In the hopes to put in a new suit for his country, he passed twelve Cultural Mandates that will help encourage the Siamese people to be well-mannered, productive, and be proud of their country. (Source: Asian Inspirations)
The Origin of the Pad Thai?
People in Thailand used to eat rice with chili paste, vegetables, and salt. Their food was influenced by the Chinese. But during World War II, Phibun saw the rice shortage in Thailand as nationalistic advocacy, and immediately, he took advantage of this opportunity. He introduced the use of stir-fried rice noodles instead of the actual rice and mixed them with vegetables, shrimp, and fish to balance their nutrients.
Pad Thai’s original name was Gway Teow Pad Thai, Gway Teow is a Chinese word for rice noodles, Pad which means fried, and Thai, to refer to the dish in Thai style. The dish was inspired by a Chinese food origin.
Noodle is your lunch was the slogan used to greatly promote the Thailand dish. According to the son of Phibun, even before Pad Thai was brought forward and introduced to be their national dish, his dad was serving it to their family dinner table already.
The Public Welfare Department handed out the recipes to the restaurants and even sold them to the streets by providing free food carts to the people while they banned foreign entities from promoting their wares.
This national advocacy to support their country and help the war effort worked to unite the country. At present, Pad Thai has been famous not just on the streets and restaurants in Thailand but all over the world. This recipe has also been made with different twists but remains to have its original ingredients made known from WWII. (Source: Asian Inspirations)