Pad Thai is actually a fairly modern dish in the scheme of Thai history. It was came out of a competition in the 50’s to create a national dish for Siam. Turns out the combination of rice noodles, egg, prawns, spring onions, tofu, dried shrimp, coriander, chilli, peanuts, bean sprouts, and a flavouring paste tastes pretty good when fried together in a super hot wok!
I wouldn’t label this as the best pad thai in Bangkok, but it is one of the oldest and most well known joints. They run a tight ship and an incredible experience none the less.
Here at Ghost Gate Pad Thai, there is always a queue. Generally speaking this is a sign of good food, which in this case is relatively true, but I reckon the wait is mainly due to their iconic identity. This place has been written up in that many travel publications, and that many food forums that it is the first thing that comes to mind when you think ‘Pad Thai joint’. The demand is so high that the noodles are fried en mass in ginormous woks operated by petite pocket-rockets of cooks. Amongst the mounds of bean sprouts the size of the Egyptian pyramids and skyscraper-tall stacks of eggs, the Pad Thai production line is orderly and calculated. Everyone wears a uniform, and has one specific job: from cracking eggs, to plating noodles onto melamine plates, to laying out topped and tailed spring onions.
Variations to your Pad Thai are tolerated, but don’t push your luck by requesting the ‘low fat, decaf, mochaccino frappe’ of Pad Thais. You are also encouraged to order one of their famous orange juices or young coconut juice slushies to quench your post-Pad Thai thirst. They’re both pretty darn good, but I usually opt for the slushy.
When your plate is slid in front of you, add dried chilli flakes, crushed peanuts, sugar, and perhaps some fish sauce from the condiment cart. Squeeze the wedge of lime and scatter raw bean sprouts over the top before mixing everything together with your plastic chopsticks. Pair your noodles with small bites of spring onion and fresh banana flower for fragrance and an interesting texture to each mouthful. If you ordered yours in an egg basket, you are either one to break the egg up and mix it in with the noodles, or carefully dismantle it spoonful by spoonful. Each way is probably a reflection on your personality and probably indicates the tidiness of your car or something.
Finish, pay, and move on. Don’t sit around to chat. There are hungry people waiting. It’s time for dessert at one of the neighbouring stalls or in nearby Chinatown.