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Pad Thai Battle Royal

THAILAND | Friday, 18 May 2007 | Views [2851] | Comments [2]

In an effort to turn you, the readers, on to the best of the best of the best, sir...with honors, I have volunteered my own bowels and stomach lining to be the judge of the first annual Pad Thai Royal Rumble!

To qualify as a contender is easy: simply be one of the several Pad Thai vendors on the two popular backpacker streets in Bangkok, Khoa San or Rambuttri. Though many were expected to show only six showed, one of whom was eliminated due to unacceptably unhygienic facilities. This left five contenders, each of which was unabashedly judged on five aspects:

1. Noodle to Veggie Ratio
2. Overall Quantity
3. Availability of Accoutrements
4. Cleanliness
5. Overall Flavor

Each qualifier was judged on a scale of 1 through 5 for each of these categories, with an additional two points available for the availability of chicken. The judges: we two backpackers, unconcerned with our intestinal fortitude, focused on one goal: Show the world real Pad Thai.

Our competition began at the east end of Kho San and would continue to the west end of Rambuttri. With the sun to our backs on this overcast morning, we set out to determine who was a true Pad Thai artist, and who couldn’t cut the noodles. We present to you now, the competitors in no particular order, as the true champion will become apparent.

Competitor #1: "A Slow Start"

A disappointing start, there was no chicken available at this vendor, which would become a theme throughout the competition. An additional characteristic that would carry throughout was the cost: 20 Baht (about 60 cents). This vendor offers four different types of noodles, but overshadows the flavor with too many veggies. Her ratings are:

Category #

1. Noodle to Veggie Ratio = 2
2. Overall Quantity = 3
3. Availability of Accoutrements = 5
4. Cleanliness = 4
5. Overall Flavor = 2

Total: 16/25, not a good showing

Competitor #2: "Same Same, But Different"

Though similar to the last, this competitor displayed four types of noodle, but only cooked one. Again, no chicken was offered, and again, the flavor of the noodles was masked by the overpowering amount of vegetables in the mix. Ratings:

1. Noodle to Veggie Ratio = 1
2. Overall Quantity = 3
3. Availability of Accoutrements = 5
4. Cleanliness = 4
5. Overall Flavor = 3

Total: 16/25

Competitor #3: "UFO: Unidentified Frying Objects"

This was just a disaster. We'll call this woman the Pad Thai Nazi. She offers no options, and there's no wiggle room: all orders come with egg, each batch is pre-made, and though she displays four types of noodles, she fishes underneath her cutting board in an unseen batch for only one type of noodle. And she wears too much eyeliner.

1. Noodle to Veggie Ratio = 1
2. Overall Quantity = 2
3. Availability of Accoutrements = 4
4. Cleanliness = 3
5. Overall Flavor = 2

Total: 12/25, we didn't even finish it

Competitor #4: "How can someone spell so wrong, and cook so well"

Looking beyond the fact that she has several misspelled variations of the words vegetable and Pad Thai, your initial impression is that of cleanliness. Though her facilities and offerings differ little from her competitors, her last touch of flare is a little spring onion in the mix, which makes all the difference in the world. This is the way Pad Thai is supposed to taste.

1. Noodle to Veggie Ratio = 3
2. Overall Quantity = 4
3. Availability of Accoutrements = 5
4. Cleanliness = 5
5. Overall Flavor = 4

Total: 21/25

Competitor #5: "Pad Thai Perfection"

This little family operation is a hidden gem down at the end of Rambuttri. For those brave enough to venture all the way down, your reward comes in the form of heaping mounds of Pad Thai, AND SHE OFFERS CHICKEN!! This woman cooks her Pad Thai like a pro, with her daughter along side, making some of the best shakes Baht can buy. Her single flaw is the number of flies she attracts; obviously these are flies with distinguished palates.

1. Noodle to Veggie Ratio = 5
2. Overall Quantity = 5
3. Availability of Accoutrements = 5
4. Cleanliness = 3
5. Overall Flavor = 5

+2 chicken availability
Total: 25/25, a true champion reveals themself

That's the whole show, folks, and we think its obvious who the winner is. Before we close, we'd like to give honorable mention to the following vendors who wished to compete but didn't meet the neccessary requirements (no pad thai):

Our Falafel Friends

Our Mueseli Mates

This freaks us out, I ate a cricket, and I won't touch this:

Tags: Food & eating



Leave it to you attempt an eating contest in a place like Thailand, I am damn proud of you son!

  Alex May 23, 2007 12:41 AM


I love seeing Sanchez (WN logo) escort you on this worthy gastronomical tour. Glad you found your Pad Thai nirvana at last...

  crustyadventures May 23, 2007 10:02 AM

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