About a month ago Shefali, Kaya, and I had the pleasure of spending almost twenty hours on two planes (with one layover) to travel 8,651 miles to Bangkok, exactly twelve hours ahead (timewise), where we would spend four short days before another two and a half hour flight (on one plane) to Hong Kong for another four short days. Then we came home. End of story. Actually no. We went to Bangkok and Hong Kong to spend our winter break with Shefali’s family in Bangkok and my family in Hong Kong. But more on that in a future (possible) post wherein I just talk about all the “first” foods that Kaya ate. Yeah, I’m that dad.
This post is about pad thai, specifically the pad thai found at Luang Pha Pad Thai restaurant in Bangkok. You know, that place on Maha Chai Road, a stone’s throw from the Wat Saket? Yeah that one. Ok, to be honest, we had some insider knowledge. Shefali’s sister (not Thai) and her husband (Thai) told us about this place a year and a half ago when we visited them. And boy were we appreciative. The flavor of that pad thai and the simple but elegant way it was prepared were etched into my memory. Plus I took lots of photos.
Shef wants this pad thai and bad… This is from our first trip to Luang Pha.
This small woman is a giant among cooks
But seriously, watching this diminutive woman wielding this massive wok reminded me of what a pleasure it is to watch someone who is really good at what they do. Each gesture and motion is effortless, the perfect expression of thought into action. There is no wasted effort – efficiency epitomized. Or, maybe it’s because this is her job and she does it everyday. In any case, the results are ridiculously good. So, this past trip, Shefali and I brought her mom and her sis (and of course Kaya) along to experience quite possibly the perfect pad thai. Please enjoy some photos and be sure to watch the video above which shows this awesome cook in action. You might even learn how to cook some real pad thai. Though good luck finding the shrimp fat oil…
Luang Pha on busy Maha Chai Road. Because pad thai should be enjoyed with the soothing sounds motor scooters zooming by.
This year, pad thai was a family affair
View of the kitchen
Tools of the trade.
This is how she does it.
Mmm… shrimp fat oil.
The stove: an electric fan that blows air into a wood fire to increase the heat. Genius!
Pad thai wrapped in an egg omelet.
Saheli holds Kaya who wishes she could eat this.
Me and the cook. I’m not really a giant. She’s just tiny.
Beautiful aloo tikki with homemade yogurt and tamarind chutney
In the brief time I’ve known Dildar (aka Guru) and his wife Roompa, they have proven themselves to be not only witty and attractive (perfect date material – good thing they’re married to each other), but also gracious hosts and fantastic cooks. Together with Alka (also a fantastic cook), they are The Foodist Colony. Once a month or so, they cook for and host supper club during which they prepare a delicious multi-course meal (each course is served with a drink or cocktail of Dildar’s creation) for a select number of lucky guests . Now, I have yet to partake in one of these fabled meals, but I will soon. To tide me over, I was fortunate enough to invite myself over to Dildar and Roompa’s apartment to video and sample one of Dildar’s childhood favorites: aloo tikki served with tamarind chutney.
It’s tough being me. I know. But that’s why this blog exists – to share with all of you, the delicious things I get to eat. Count Dildar’s aloo tikki among them. And count yourselves lucky to be given his recipe and these oh so informative cooking videos. Please enjoy!