My journey as a Padthai Master during Covid time.
I have so much to talk about the time that I was a Padthai Master in my home town, Thung Song , Nakhon Si thammarath. I rent 2 stories high building opened Padthai restaurant. Its was my remarkable time during the pandemic. Moving from a touristic area to a local area complete changing my life. Settled my restaurant next to the bus station where the grassroot people come and go. The sound of vehicle’s horn and the bus driver calling for the clients wake me up at 4 pm. Like an alarm clock.
My daily routine starts everyday by then. I drive my Honda Wave motorbike to the Moring market buy fresh ingredients such as fresh prawn, chicken, pork, bean spout, tofu and fresh rice noodle back to the shop and start opening the shop around 8am.
At that town I can sell Padthai at only 60 Baht per one dish at my cooking class in khaolak I offer Khao Lak Thai cooking class at 1,500 THB per person including market tour and roundtrip transfer. Literary means I need to cook 25 dishes of Padthai to reach the price of charging 1 person for my cooking class. So, I started to think how I will survive during the covid time. The key is sale volume. I get very less profit from 1 Padthai which mean I need to make lot of Padthai everyday . I started to sell Padthai online. I post on Facebook group, delivery online food and grocery delivery platform such as food panda and line man. I did work well but I spent so much commission and I cannot mark up the price because no one will order because very high competition.
I took my assistant to survey another Padthai in Thung Song town. We were surprised by the test of their Padthai which is similar to Tom Yum soup. It too rich and strong flavor At Khao Lak Cooking Class by Pakinnaka Cooking School, our Padthai flavor are different from my home town’s.
Before I open Padthai shop I have been testing and research Pad thai from different places especially Padthai Thipsamai or Padthai Pratoopee in Bangokok. For me this is the best Padthai I ever have in my life.
The story began when Ms. Samai was a young girl. She followed her mother to the Phasi Charoen Canal and helped her to sell Thai food and dessert on a boat along the canal. In this regard, Ms. Samai had a chance to learn how to cook many recipes including PADTHAI. As time passed, Ms. Samai fell in love and got married with Mr. Chote. After marriage, the fishing business of Mr. Chote suffered a loss and needed to shut down. However, they had started a new business which was the first PADTHAI stall in the capital located at PRA-TOO-PEE intersection. The stall was setup onto a footpath, and they open every night with only a small charcoal stove and some old tables. In a short time, they could achieve a good sale until one day, the prime minister, Pleak Phibunsongkhram came with a great reputation and gave a compliment that “Padthai Pratoopee is the true and authentic taste of PADTHAI”. Since 1966 “Thipsamai Padthai Pratoopee” has been created as the name of the restaurant. Thipsamai’s Padthai has been well accepted in the unique and delicious taste by customers. One day Mrs. Samai became ill then Mr. Chote needed to take care of business alone because Mr.Chote was getting old, so it was hard for him to take care of the restaurant and also the economic bubble era had an effect on business. After that, Dr. Sikarachat Baisamut who is the current owner of the “Thipsamai Padthai Pratoopee” (Mrs. Samai and Mr. Chote’s son), with an effort, Dr. Sikarachat can turn crisis into opportunity and bring in many improvements especially performance of manpower that cleanness and ethical behavior are necessary. Dr. Sikarachat also emphasizes the original recipe which selected high quality of the raw ingredients. Furthermore, he has promoted customers to stand in row in order to easy to arrangement and reduce lead time.
As a result, Thipsamai Restaurant can stand out again until now. Currently, “Thipsamai Padthai Pratoopee” is widely accepted by both local and international customers, gourmets, and media. Since, Dr. Sikarachat has the strong intention to distribute the Thai culture and the authentic Padthai to all people around the world, and then he has created Thipsamai Padthai Sauce (Classic recipe, Shrimp oil recipe, and Vegetarian recipe) following his concept of “the customers could easily cook Padthai at home but the taste is exactly the same as having Padthai at Thipsamai Padthai Pratoopee Restaurant”.
Pad Thai is made with rice noodles, which are stir fried with eggs and chopped firm tofu, flavored with tamarind juice, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic, shallots, may add red chili pepper and palm sugar, and served with lime wedges and often crushed roasted peanuts. It may contain other vegetables like bean sprouts, garlic chives, preserved radish, and raw banana flowers. It may also contain fresh shrimp, crab, squid, chicken or other fish or meat.
Many of the ingredients are provided on the side as condiments, such as the red chili pepper, lime wedges, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, spring onion and other miscellaneous fresh vegetables. Vegetarian versions may substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce and omit the shrimp entirely.
Though stir-fried rice noodles were introduced to Thailand from China centuries ago, the dish pad thai was invented in the mid-20th century.
Author Mark Padoongpatt maintains that pad thai is “…not this traditional, authentic, going back hundreds of years dish. It was actually created in the 1930s in Thailand. The dish was created because Thailand was focused on nation-building. So this dish was created using rice noodles and it was called Pad Thai as a way to galvanize nationalism.
Another explanation of pad thai’s provenance holds that, during World War II, Thailand suffered a rice shortage due to the war and floods. To reduce domestic rice consumption, the Thai government under Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram promoted consumption of noodles instead.His government promoted rice noodles and helped to establish the identity of Thailand. As a result, a new noodle called sen chan pad thai (named after Chanthaburi Province) was created. Pad thai has since become one of Thailand’s national dishes.
Today, some food vendors add pork or chicken (although the original recipe did not contain meat because of the government’s perception that pork was a Chinese meat). Some food vendors still use the original recipe.
Thai-American food writer Kasma Loha-unchit disputes the claim of a native Thai origin and suggests that pad thai was actually invented by the Chinese immigrants themselves, because “for a dish to be so named in its own country clearly suggests an origin that isn’t Thai”. Noodle cookery in most Southeast Asian countries was introduced by the wave of immigrants from southern China settling in the region the past century. Loha-unchit states that the ethnic Chinese of Thailand were aware that “Central 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.”
At least as early as 2001, the Thai government used pad thai as a form of “soft power,” creating “the Global Thai Restaurant Company, Ltd., in an effort to establish at least 3,000 Thai restaurants worldwide.”The plan included numerous government agencies and resulted in nearly tripling the number of Thai restaurants globally in seventeen years.
Pad thai is listed at number five on a list of “World’s 50 most delicious foods” readers’ poll compiled by CNN Go in 2011.