Chinese Pad Thai (and other likeable contradictions)


So here’s a mystery for you: why does the Pad Thai made by Chinese places taste better than Pad Thai made by Thai restaurants?

Maybe this is not a universal rule, but it sure holds true in Philly. I’ve been to at least three Thai joints here, and only two Chinese places (one of which is our regular: Square on Square), and I have to give it to world’s oldest civilization: they know how to culture-hop.

For anyone unfamiliar with the dish, Pad Thai is a stir-fry noodle dish that usually has some combination of a meat (usually shrimp), tofu, peanut crumbles and egg. It’s usually served with bean sprouts and a wedge of lemon or lime and can be considered, along with fried rice, the very definition of Asian comfort food.

This weird contradiction of tastes, in which I prefer the “fake” version over the authentically prepared food, got me thinking about other such anomalies. The only one that popped into my head was syrup.

Am I the only one that prefers to drown my waffles in Aunt Jemima rather than natural tree blood?

I think not.


One response to “Chinese Pad Thai (and other likeable contradictions)

  1. I think the Chinese can cook pretty much anything they get their hands on. Some of the best seafood, burgers, Greek food, Mexican food, etc. I’ve had in Houston was made by a Chinese-owned and operated restaurant. That said, my favorite Pad Thai here is still done by a Thai place.

    Another fake but delicious thing to add to your list? Velveeta. Mmm…

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