What does pad Thai taste like

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Pad Thai dish is one of the most popular dishes across Southeast Asia originates served as a noodle dish or an appetizer.  Pad Thai is traditionally made with rice noodles, eggs, and other ingredients. This dish has been exported to many countries worldwide, and it’s often referred to as “Thai food.” One question that Thailand natives and people who have never had it before ask is what does pad Thai taste like. So in this article, we will answer the question about what pad Thai tastes like. Keep reading!

What is pad Thai?

Pad Thai is a particular type of street food widespread in Thailand consisting of stir-fried rice noodles. Pad Thai was promoted by prime minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram and has since become a national dish. Usually, it is made with eggs, tofu, fish, garlic, tamarind sauce, shrimp, red chili, sugar, and vegetables.

The dish is served with condiments like peanuts, chili, and lime wedges. The vegetarian version of pad Thai uses soy sauce instead of fish sauce and doesn’t include shrimp. After frying the ingredients together, they are tossed into a Pad Thai sauce that’s sweet, sour, and savory. This simultaneously gives the dish its signature taste of sweetness, saltiness, and tanginess.

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What is in pad Thai?

The dish contains rice noodles, eggs, tofu, shrimp, fish sauce, garlic, tamarind paste, and less refined palm sugar. Pad Thai dish is characterized by the vibrant, rich flavor with funkiness (from fish sauce and shrimp) and sourness (from tamarind sauce) to the sweetness from the sugar.

The main ingredients are rice noodles, tamarind sauce, protein, peanuts, and a lime wedge. Modern pad Thai uses chicken or any other type of meat instead of shrimp. The dish is often served with various dipping sauces, including vinegar mixed with crushed peanut and sweet chili sauce.

What does pad Thai taste like?

The prominent flavor of the noodles comes from the sauce, which is a mix of fish sauce, sugar, tamarind paste, and vinegar. The other flavors in the dish come from shrimp, chicken, or tofu and added vegetables. Some people also add peanuts to their pad Thai.

Pad Thai has a sweet taste due to the addition of sugar. It also has some tanginess from the tamarind sauce. However, the taste of pad Thai varies depending on the ingredients used. Some people will use tofu, others fish, while others will use chicken.

Despite the ingredients used, pad Thai taste is generally salty and sweet. People have reported that Pad Thai is best served with lime wedges. You can also use bean sprouts and cilantro leaves as toppings. Pouring in too much sauce in the dish should be avoided as its only purpose is to add flavor that should be mild and not overpowering.

 Another thing that might affect the taste of Pad Thai is the rice noodles used. Depending on your preference, you can use the soft or the hard ones. If you love spicy foods, sprinkling chili can add fire to the dish. Pad Thai is eaten with chopsticks in Thailand, but you can use a fork if you are not used to the chopsticks.

What is pad Thai sauce?

Pad Thai sauce is made from fish sauce, sugar, tamarind, and oyster sauce. The main ingredient in this sauce is tamarind that gives it a sour taste. The authentic Pad Thai is made from tamarind pulp soaked in hot water then pressed onto a sieve to form a puree.

Pad Thai ingredients

Pad Thai is growing popular all over the world. The dish consists of: –

i) Rice noodles

Pad Thai is made with dried rice noodles found in the nearest store or supermarket near you. You should use quality rice that’s not prone to breaking. These rice noodles need to be soaked in water before cooking. Whether they should be soaked in hot or cold water can be confusing.

Some people argue that soaking the noodles in hot water clamps them up. Others say that the noodles should be soaked in cold water until they are soft to wind up around the finger. The problem with cold water soaking is that the noodles might turn chewy.

i)) Tamarind sauce

Tamarind is an ingredient used in Southeast Asian cooking and is responsible for the sour taste in a Pad Thai dish. A pureed version of this sauce is available in nearby supermarkets in other parts of the world.

iii) The protein

The most popular protein choice used in making this dish is tofu and prawns. The prawns add a fishy savoriness to the Pad Thai. The tofu you go for a firm piece of tofu as soft ones will disintegrate and spoil your pad Thai.  

iv) Garnishes

Garlic chives are shaped like grass blades. They add garlicky flavor to your dish. They are the best substitute for garlic cloves and green onions. They also add some interesting texture to the dish.

How to make pad Thai

Pad Thai is relatively easy to prepare as long as your ingredients are ready earlier, so things move quickly.

Ingredients for stir fry

  • 250 g rice noodles
  • 300 g shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 200 g tofu, cut into small cubes

For serving

  • 100 g bean sprouts
  • 30 g peanuts, crushed
  • 60 g green onions, thinly sliced

For the sauce:

  • 60 ml tamarind paste
  • 120 ml water
  • 40 ml fish sauce
  • 60 ml palm sugar
  • 30 ml white vinegar


  1. Cook the rice noodles by placing them over boiling water.
  2. Leave them to soak for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the excess water to get them ready to cook. Avoid leaving the noodles for more than 5 minutes unattended.
  4. Mix the sauce in a small bowl.
  5. Place a medium saucepan over a heat source.
  6. Pour 2 tablespoons of oil onto the pan.
  7. After well heated, add the garlic and onions and leave to cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add in the chicken or shrimp and cook until they cook thoroughly all through.
  9. Push the mixture to one side of the pan.
  10. Scramble an egg on the other half side of the pan. If the pan is too dry, pour some olive oil.
  11. After the egg has cooked, mix it with your chicken or shrimp.
  12. Add in your beans sprouts, tofu, rice noodles, and lastly, the sauce.
  13. Toss the ingredients carefully for a minute and a half so that the noodles absorb the sauce well.  
  14. Add peanuts, garlic chives, and toss once again.
  15. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side. You can sprinkle some leftover peanuts and some chili with some extra bean sprouts on the side.
  16. Squeeze the lime wedge onto the food before eating.
  17. Enjoy!

Tips to making Pad Thai

  • Use a large skillet to ensure the Pad Thai gets enough space for proper seasoning.
  • Use a wok (a deep, saucer-shaped traditional pan) to fry the Pad Thai as it makes the best Asian dishes. This pan absorbs heat quickly, which is transferred to the cooked food.
  • Get all the ingredients ready before starting to cook the dish.
  • If you use dry rice noodles, soak them while still maintaining their firmness, then drain.
  • Use a spoon to pour the sauce into the pan you are using to fry.
  • Mix your sauce ingredients in a separate bowl and taste them before mixing them with the noodles.
  • Pad Thai tastes best when cooked in small batches. If you have two servings, then make each at a time.
  • Use a heat-resistant spatula or a wooden spoon to stir the contents in the wok pan.
  • Serve the Pad Thai with peanuts and Chinese chives for an authentic dish right at the comfort of your kitchen.

How to make pad Thai sauce?

The traditional version of pad Thai includes fish sauce, tamarind sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Tamarind sauce is hard to find in stores. Rice vinegar can be used instead.

You will combine two tablespoons of water in a small bowl and one tablespoon of sugar or honey (optional). Next is adding some tamarind sauce, one teaspoon at a time, until the desired flavor is achieved. You can add more if needed after you taste test it. If using chili paste, add that in now as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good side with pad Thai?

I love Pad Thai because it can be eaten with a handful of bean sprout and garlic chives. Also, since it’s a greasy food, i can slice some cucumbers into it and season them with salt.

Are there any good substitutes for pad Thai ingredients?

Yes! If you can’t find tamarind sauce, you can use 1 tbsp. Ketchup, 2tsp oyster sauce,2tbspFish sauce, 1tsp dark soy sauce, 2tbsp rice vinegar, or even1tbsp white vinegar. You can use even the lighter versions of soy sauce. The darker is used just for color. If you can’t find the garlic chives, shallots/green onions can be the best substitutes.

Does pad Thai aid in weight loss?

Vegetables really help in the journey to shedding some weight. Whereas pad Thai is not unhealthy, it does contain lots of carbs that help you stay active all day.


Pad Thai is a popular Thailand dish. Made from stir-fried rice noodles, tofu or shrimp, eggs, onions, and garlic, it’s one dish you will love. Its flavor is typically sweet and tangy. Now that you understand how it is prepared, you can try making it in your kitchen and have a taste of this popular dish.

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