Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 25, 2007 02:35 PM

Pad Thai - "Authentic" Noodle to Use

I watched an Alton Brown show this morning about how to make Pad Thai. He used what he called "rice stick noodles". I've not made it, but when I've eaten it, the noodles have always been broader and thicker - more like fettucine, for example - can't remember the name of them right now.

Is one more traditional/authentic than the other? He said on the show that the dish was "invented" by the Thai government during WWII as a cheap recipe.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You can find rice sticks in a variety of widths, just like other pasta. In fact, I just bought fettucini-like rice noodles - at Trader Joe's!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Alice Letseat

      The ones he used looked just like vermicelli - Alton referred to them as being "like angel hair pasta" and specifically rejected the flat/fettucini like ones. Not sure why ...

      1. re: MMRuth

        Since I just used them, I'll hazard a guess...they're a little starchy and I think would be kind of awkward with the mix involved in pad thai. You end up tasting more noodle that anything else. I'm not at all sure how I'm going to use the rest of the package I have - maybe as a substitute for rice with another kind of Asian dish.

        1. re: Alice Letseat

          What do you recall seeing used in Thai restaurants? Thanks!


          The photos on this link show the noodles I'm used to. Also interesting back story about the origins.

    2. I usually like Alton's show a lot, but his pad thai episode was just really, really bad. The noodles he used were nontraditional (use slightly thicker rice noodles) and his sauce (which was lacking some traditional ingredients) struck me as too weak and scant to properly flavour the dish (heck, it didn't even really colour it, leaving it a pale, unappealing mess). The recipe seemed deliberately North Americanized... I don't suggest you make this at home. There are pad thai recipes out there that will likely give you much better results.

      1 Reply
      1. re: vorpal

        Thanks - I wondered about that!

      2. This link has a recipe with variations and discussion of the dish's history.