Where Life and Lunch Meet: The Phad Thai Theory

Welcome to my first ever Where Life and Lunch Meet

This is a new thing inspired heavily by reading Jeffrey Steingarten and Tony Bourdain (specifically his book Nasty Bits.)  I have found these two men’s tales about their (often obsessive) explorations of food to be educational, insightful, sometimes humorous, and generally, a fine thing to read.  Plus, they’re always laden with food terms you can use to impress and astound your friends.

I hope to bring similarly good literatue to you, O gentle reader!

I have a theory about Thai food restaurants.  This is what I always tell people when I take them for their first Thai experience. 

However, before the theory, some background.  When it comes to your first Thai meal with me, you have two choices: phad thai and phad sea eaw.  Phad thai is the official dish of Thailand and is made from rice noodles, shrimp, chicken, this tangy/sweet sauce, peanuts, green onions and chilies.  Phad sea eaw is a great noodle dish featuring wider rice noodles, mushrooms, broccoli, and a sauce made from soy sauce and dark soy sauce. 

By the way, no curries allowed.  Phad thai or phad sea eaw only.  I am a vicious Thai taskmaster.

With that aside, elementary phad thai theory goes like this.  When figuring out whether you should order phad thai or phad sea eaw, there are two things you should know. 

  1. I have never had a bad plate of phad sea eaw.  It delivers every time, varying between a 7 and an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
  2. I have had bad phad thai.  Sometimes I order it and it’s a solid 2.  Other times I order it and it’s an 10… or a 12.  I don’t know if it’s the chef or the freshness of the ingredients or stray alpha particles, but there just some days when phad thai is garbage and sometimes it’s a dream.

So…which do you choose?

That decision is up to you.  It depends on what you want.  The sure thing that is good or the chance for something great.

There’s no right or wrong answer.  There’s just lunch. 

Me?  I’m a Phad Thai man myself.  I do enjoy a good phad sea eaw, but a bad dish (which can be salvagaed with a little sambal olek) is more than worth a plate of amazing phad thai.


  1. The food in Bangkok is yummy and not expensive, all the locals we met were very nice and anxious to advice use. We stayed at Bann Thai Resort and Spa- a completely different place to the hectic tourist trap in the west of Bangkok like that KhaoSan Road place.

  2. Would you kindly translate your blog into Italian as I’m not so comfortable reading it in English? I’m getting tired of using Google Translate all the time, there is a cool WP plugin called like global translator which will render all your articles automatically- this would make reading posts on your great blog even more cosy. Cheers mate, Thailand!

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