While my college friend was in town, we took a quick jaunt to Phuket, Thailand, for a couple of days. On our first day, we stopped by a little roadside stall serving up pad thai on the recommendation of our hotel proprietor. It was lunchtime, and the stall was filled with locals lining up for banana leaf-wrapped packets of takeaway.
Since pad thai is a fixture on most menus in Thai restaurants in the U.S., I can’t say that eating it in Thailand has ever been a revelatory experience. The basic flavors are the same. That being said, pad thai in Thailand is generally really, really good. Nothing ruins my day faster than a gummy, overcooked noodle, and no pad thai noodles I’ve had in Thailand would even approach the level of gumminess required for my smile to turn upside down.
The stall isn’t much to look at, but the crowd of motorbikes and the nondescript Thai advertising banners out front should be a clue to the tastiness inside
The pad thai goong (with prawns) and pad thai gai (chicken) at this particular stall, however, hit all the right spots. The sugar content was just enough to sweeten the dish and caramelize the noodles when they hit the hot wok. The Chinese chives were fresh and crisp, and the peanuts and bean sprouts gave just the right amount of crunch.
The best part? Our plates came to 80 baht total, which is just over $2. I smiled all day because of that.
Pad Thai Stall | north side of Patak Road between Kata Beach Road and Karon Beach Road | Phuket, Thailand | Lunch only