Saturday, May 24, 2008

Phad Thai

Next week I will be in Chiangmai and looking forward to it. The reason is it has been two years since my last trip up there. I used to travel to North Thailand since 1993. I was so enamored by the trips that in 1995, I spent time learning Thai for a year (twice a week) in New Town P.J. The native Thai teacher is married to a Malaysian.
In Suphanburi having noodles for lunch with my family
My first trip to Thailand was in1993. My wife and I landed in Don Muang airport and we made our way to Mor Chit (for travelers to the North) to board a bus to Chiangrai. We took lunch there. That was my first introduction of Thai food. I was amazed at the amount of sugar the locals used. It went into their noodles too. The other seasonings were nam pla (fish sauce), gluer (salt), phrik (chili powder) and finally manau (lime juice).
One of my favorite food or dessert was their kong warn. I love all of them. There were so many varieties. It comes with all type cereals, dried fruits, vegetables and starchy legumes. Then it was topped off with thick coconut milk. As for dessert all over the world it was very sweet. I love to indulge in it and often look forward to it as an antidote for being homesick.
However, there is one dish that I did not get use to. It is the Phad Thai (Thai fried noodles). Why? Too sweet! Too sour because of the lime juice and very spicy. I always tell the chau kong (shop owner) or the mae kar por kar (hawkers) from where I ordered my food, “Mai owl nam tharn (no sugar), mai owl manau (no lime juice) and mai owl phrik (no chilli). Time and time again it comes with all the three and in abundance. I gave up. Mind you it's not my language! I guess it will not be Phad Thai without those. These nationalistic Thai will not want to dilute their culture for some foreigner!
Hailing from Ipoh, I am used to having my Char Kuay Tiaw (Chaw Hor Fun – in Cantonese) plain. Just a few dashes of soya sauce. No sugar. No MSG. No lime juice. No chili paste. It’s the aroma that I crave for the most in Chaw Hor Fun. It is the chemistry that took place when the noodles (from Ipoh) went in a very hot wok esp. if it is over charcoal flame.
That reminds me to go back to Ipoh. It’s been 3 months!

2 comments:

Rasa Malaysia said...

Hi there, thanks for leaving me a comment on Satay Prawns. :)

Rasa Malaysia said...

You are right about sweet...most Thai dishes are sweet, especially all their noodles, use too much sugar I think. I answered your comment in my post. Please check it out.