I have always had a love-hate relationship with pad thai. I ate pad thai for the very first time at a Thai restaurant in San Diego. An evening dinner out on a student budget used to be a huge treat then! A group of us had once visited a decently good Thai place which was bus-accessible (bus-accessibility was a must for any outing!). As it was our very first Thai experience, we had pretty much asked the waitress to order the menu for us and she had suggested a spicy pad thai followed by some sweet coconut ice-cream! I absolutely loved the flat rice noodles drenched in a tangy, hot and sweet sauce and crunchy peanuts on top.
Over the time though I realized that a good pad thai is not easy to come by. Many times either the sauce is too strong or the whole dish is soggy or oily! After a few unfortunate encounters with pad thai I eventually changed my thai restaurant go-to dish from pad thai to a green curry dish which probabilistically is always decent.
But the cravings for a good pad thai won't stop! Then recently I came across this Mark Bittman's minimalist column urging people to think about pad thai as a make-at-home option and I wondered why I never thought about making pad thai at home. Strange how sometimes in your mind some dishes just get so associated with restaurants that you don't ever think of making them at home! The recipe seemed easy enough, was uber-flexible and luckily I had all the ingredients at hand (thanks to my new work route which is en-route an ever-inviting asian store).