Pad Thai at Thailicious
Pad Thai at Thailicious
Pad Thai at Kanata Noodle House
Pad Thai at Bite This
Pad Thai
Pad Thai at Savana Café
Pad Thai at Savana Café
Pad Thai at Singha Thai
Where to get Pad Thai
Comments

2009 Feb 22
Its been about 10 years since I was in Thailand, but I don't remember ever seeing the ketchup thing, although some reading indicates it is showing up. I also found it was a bit different at every hawker stand we went to. Some were good, some were not. A lot more common everywhere in Thailand were stir fried broad noodle dishes. They were usually way more interesting and tasty. One of the best dishes I remember was a fried noodle dish with pork, tiny fried garlics with skin on, and deep fried basil on top ... yummmmy.

The thing with pad thai or any thai dishes that is a huge difference here are the condiments. Every restaurant/hawker stand had a bunch of bowls with sugar, fish sauce, chili's in vinegar/or fish sauce and vinegar. Locals would scoop on what ever they wanted with abandon.

2009 Feb 17
itchy
your reasonings have validity and could easily explain it all

who knows
the lady who taught me how to make pad thai used ketcup but other than the colour you could barely tell she used 2 litres to a 40 litre pot

chimi, i find i am slowly becoming a fan of your thinking (and itchy too)
but no
no pickled radishes
i have an aversion to certain foods from being force fed them as a child
pickled radishes
pickled mustard greens
salted and pickled fish
sweet, salty and dried chinese olives (i still gag)
grapes (long story but i can only eat green ones lol)

2009 Feb 17
responding to CC's question, i'm not certain about a Vietnam connection, but (and being too lazy to search) i think the Vietnam war connection is a compelling hypothesis. I wouldn't argue that there's a single lineage to the current ketchup pad thai, so what i suggest doesn't rule out Obi's ideas either.

Anyway, underlying my theory are a couple (vastly over-simplified) generalizations: i) service industries (inc. those serving the service men) flourished in Thailand during the Vietnam war era (and after). ii) Thai cuisine (like most) has been quite flexible / absorbing wrt foreign ingredients and influences, and what's a "better" disseminator of influences than a couple thousand, hungry, US GI's in your country. Banana ke tsiap aside, what's the most likely source (and ingestor) of the tomato ketchup? (For examples from an earlier period, look at how well Thailand and surrounding countries "naturalized" the chili pepper, a recent inductee by historical terms). iii) overseas-Chinese have had a huge (and often under-estimated) influence in the restaurant sector throughout Asia (inc. Thailand). iv) the "nationalized" pad thai, as CC's wiki references point out, is a relatively recent "invention". and v) as street food (as it remains today), its been subject to many, many, many variations.

Simplifying this further, i think the Vietnam war era created a "perfect storm" of sorts that led to the popularization (if not invention) of the "global" version.

fwiw, i enjoy ketchup pad thai, but, in terms of labor and expense, it is the cheaper version (at least in N. America -- don't know about thailand).

2009 Feb 17
No minced pickled radish in there? I prefer the traditional pad thai, lighter coloured, but way better flavour. I find the ketchup version is too sweet for my liking (full disclosure: ketchup, to me, is a horrible condiment, kecap manis, that's a different story altogether!)

2009 Feb 17
CC,
i sense a fellow food historian

well for those that don't realize ketchup is originally from SE Asia ...some say malaysia some say southern china

there is a condiment called ke tsiap
basically a spicy fish sauce
forgive me i do not know how to format this text so you can directly link to this:

en.wikipedia.org

there are many variations to the sauce that originated from the area most well known being banana ketchup which is a very interesting thing

but need less to say it did not go over too well

somewhere someone probably asked for ke tsiap for making pad thai (a cousin to chinese chow fan)and was handed a bottle of tomato ketcup so starting the red trend

while i make my pad thai with tamarind, fish sauce, roasted red peppers, siracchia sauce and a touch of fresh tomatoes this is merely my preferance

and whichever of my elder cousins, added red food colouring to sauces may he never get any rest!
ghastly stuff

2009 Feb 17
Pad Thai : ผัดไทย

I can't find any reference of ketchup being introduced into Pad Thai recipes for American's serving in The Vietnam War (Notice that the Vietnamese call that war, 'The American War').

But here are some interesting facts from a few Thai based web sites (and also seen on other sites like Wiki).

1: In fact, its name, Pad Thai literally means "Thai-style Frying" and for a dish to be so named in its own country clearly suggests an origin that isn't Thai. Indeed, noodle cookery in most Southeast Asian countries was introduced by the wave of immigrants from southern China settling in the region the past century. They brought with them rice noodles and their ways of cooking them.

2: The ethnic Chinese had good business sense, survival skills and entrepreneurial spirit. Seeing how the Thai people were very fond of the combination of hot, sour, sweet and salty flavors, they added these to their stir-fried noodle dishes and gave it a fusion name, much like Western chefs today are naming their dishes Thai this or Thai that on their East-West menus.

3: It was first made popular as a national dish by Luang Phibunsongkhram when he was prime minister during the 1930s and 1940s. It is best served by noodle carts, inexpensive sidewalk eateries, and small, nondescript mom-and-pop noodle shops, rather than fine restaurants, in the cities and towns of Thailand. Wow.

3: Many American Thai restaurants use tomato ketchup, yielding reddish noodles coated with a thick gooey sauce, which has a flavor and color appealing to the American palate.

If anyone can confirm a Vietnam connection to the use of ketchup, please let us know



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Feb 25
Switched things up and had the Pad Thai with shrimp ($2 premium) today. I asked for a hit of spice to wake things up and it was perfect. A little too sweet for my taste but not downright sugary like most places. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, succulent, and quite generous—I counted six.

It's still very cold, and south Stittsville is so out of the way. They would do brisk business in a better location and in warmer weather!

Feb 2
We had the pad thai this weekend. To be fair we were so full from the rest of the dishes it was warmed up the next day. It was pretty good, but a little on the sweet side for me. A squeeze of lime and a little bit of chili-garlic paste worked to amp it up. I have not found a pad thai in the city that I like better than my own.

Jan 10
I'm not a fan of pad thai but I tasted the one my coworker ordered and was impressed at how balanced it was. Not too sweet like some others, but still nowhere near as tasty as the Pad Kee Mao I enjoyed. This is a good Pad Thai and a great option for those who aren't into spicy food.




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2007 Jan 3
Standard Pad Thai with big luscious shrimp and fresh, crisp bean sprouts. Sauce was a tad ketchupy, but still yummy.




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2009 Jun 30
If the dish were good, the massive serving would be welcome. there are really good pad thai's in the city: peace garden and savannah café to name 2. Spring roll king doesnt come close... what an insult to food. veggie pieces were cut too small and were soft & limp, no sour or tang to counter the sweet in the sauce... sauce was way too prominent not enough taste of the hot wok. Pad thai has a complex balance of flavours and textures and it all depends on the prep and cooking. My guess is the amount of food was too big for the wok and the moisture took over in the dish...makes for soggy yuk....

2009 May 26
Shrimp Pad Thai was very good and had an ample amount of peanut sauce with a generous amount of chopped peanuts. I would buy it again. Around $10.




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2011 Apr 23
Best Pad Thai I ever had from a street vendor ... the again, I've never been to Thailand .... yet.





2012 Sep 29
I tried the Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai because I'd had a lot of soup in the days preceding my visit.

It was okay. Too sweet for my taste and too many bean sprouts for my taste. But I would say that about 90% of the pad thais I encounter. Next time I'll have soup again. :-)





2013 Jan 6
The Pad Thai noodles were not served spicy, but that's probably because it's the first choice for people when getting used to Thai food. The flavour was the right blend of slightly sweet and sour and I could see the little bits of tamarind used to flavour it- the real deal! The noodles were light and not at all greasy. It was a very filling dish for a cold day. Ask your server for some hot sauce made in house to spice things up. Our server insisted we try it.








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2011 May 30
this place isnt good . ive tried it twice and felt robbed right after . the pad thai is bland and over cooked . overall disappointed , id give it 3/10

2009 Jan 9
What they serve is gloopy ketchup pad thai. No tamarind in sight. While I'm embarrassed to say this as a major Thai snob, since I consider ketchup pad thai to be an abomination and a mockery of Thai food, it actually tastes okay for what it is.

Just thought people should be warned prior to ordering :-).




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2008 Feb 15
Not too sweet, and not a hint of spiciness (which I like to be able to control with a little sriracha anyways). Definitely recommended.

2008 Feb 15
The pad thai is very tasty (you need to add a little chili sauce). Our server, presumably the owner, warned us that his pad thai is not sweet "like in other restaurants." I was quite happy about that and enjoyed it very much. The egg was unusually tasty, which was reminiscent of some of the dishes at Sweet Basil.

He tried to push us to try a different menu item "T6. Lee Chee's NOODLE" simply because *everybody* orders Pad Thai and he wants people to try something else. Since I hadn't tried the Pad Thai here yet I held firm. Highly recommended, especially if you prefer your Pad Thai without ketchup.



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2008 Feb 20
What better measuring stick to use for a Thai restaurant than the famous old standby? This restaurant's version was lacking any real flavour and required a healthy dose of sriracha to what otherwise was a lifeless dish. A big disappointment.



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2009 Feb 17
given your attentiveness to bang-for-buck economics here at Ottawa Foodies, i can think of no higher praise than your thumbs-up on this, Capt'n. Thanks for clarifying.

EDIT: ps, i think (but am not positive) that the "global" style was first popularized during the Vietnam "conflict" era -- served to American soldiers on leave, maybe?

2009 Feb 17
Hey itchy feet (ed: what a handle!)

Pad Thai at Savana:
I don't know if they use the same recipe but I get the feeling from the reviews that they still do.

In fact, the original recipe came from the chef that got hired away from Sante (Santé Restaurant) when Savana first got going.

The picture is a current Pad Thai from Sante from Craig Wongs food blog. It's alunch portion. Notice they now use a tamarind base (more traditional)and not ketchup (sometimes called the global or world style).

mydinnertable.typepad.com

I can remember the last one I had at Savana (circa 1990). HUGE and I mean HUGE portion with lots of chicken and shrimp. The plate was surrounded by orange (and NOT lime) slices and I think cucumber and/or carrot slices as well.

I can't remember how much it was then,but if it's the same size and has the same amount of chicken and shrimp, then I think it would be worth 16 bucks. Leftovers for lunch are worth 5 bucks alone.

2009 Feb 17
i'm surprised no-one's asked this, and maybe its too gauche to do so, but isn't $16 a tad high for a noodle dish, esp. a ketchup based pad thai (assuming the Captain's recipe is still in use)?

www.savanacafe.com

I've been to Savana once and do remember it as a nice date place w/ nice ambiance. Think i'd go back as it brings two of my fav. cuisines under one roof (Thai / Caribb.), but is the pad thai that great or that huge? Does it come w/ sides? Does it do something the many Thai resties in town fail on ... for $6 less?

www.khaothai.ca
www.siambistro.com
www.thaitaste.ca

2009 Feb 17
Hey Barnickles (and anyone else loving The Savana Cafe's Pad Thai).....

I have the original Savana Cafe Pad Thai recipe. Circa 1988.

See here:

ottawafoodies.com/forum/861

and here:

www.ottawafoodies.com

Anyone wanting a clear copy, just send your e-mail address via a messaage at my Ottawa Foodie profile.

2008 Jul 24
Really, is it still pad thai if there's ketchup in the sauce??? yikes. pad thai is best left up to thai places. try coriander on kent, and you'll see what i mean.

2008 Jul 14
After reading the previous posts about the pad thai, i had to go back and see if they had made a change...it is easily one of my all time favourite dishes!!! i can happily report that after picking up an order after work today, it was just as delicious as i have always found it to be. if not better in my opinion. it was maybe a bit creamier than before, and slightly less citrus-y, but every bit as delicious. i'll be back!

2008 Mar 18
Amazing! I think they put a little bit of ketchup in the sauce.



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2008 Aug 14
Coriander will do a replacement of chicken for shrimp for those of us who cannot partake in seafood. The sauce is sweet, with a bit of zip to it, but not kick, and the peanuts on top are melt in your mouth crumbly.