The HISTORY of Pad Thai

Pad Thai, with its harmonious blend of flavors and vibrant colors, has become an international symbol of Thai cuisine. This beloved dish has a rich and fascinating history that stretches back several centuries. Today, we’ll embark on a culinary journey to discover the origins of Pad Thai and explore its transformation into a global sensation. As we delve into this delectable story, we’ll also shine a spotlight on Chef Lalita’s signature Pad Thai recipe, which has been dubbed one of San Francisco’s best for over 27 years.

From Thai street food to global sensation.

Where did it begin?

To truly understand the roots of Pad Thai, we must turn back the clock to the 16th century, when Ayutthaya was the capital of the Kingdom of Siam (present-day Thailand). It was during this period that Ayutthaya’s international trade flourished, bringing with it the influences of Chinese and Ayutthaya’s neighboring countries. Among the culinary treasures that emerged from this fusion was a dish known as “kuay teow pad,” which translates to stir-fried rice noodles.

The evolution

While kuay teow pad was an integral part of Thai cuisine, it wasn’t until the 1930s that the dish truly began to resemble the Pad Thai we know today. During this time, Plaek Phibunsongkhram, the Prime Minister of Thailand, embarked on a mission to nationalize the country and promote Thai identity. As part of this effort, he initiated the “Thaiization” of various cultural elements, including food.

Phibunsongkhram’s government sought to unify the Thai people by creating a national dish. Thus, the name “kuay teow pad Thai” was officially coined, emphasizing the Thai identity of the dish. Additionally, the government launched a campaign to popularize Pad Thai, highlighting its affordability and nutritional value. This led to widespread adoption and propelled Pad Thai to become a beloved street food across Thailand.

Chef Lalita's Signature Recipe

In the heart of San Francisco, Osha Thai has been a prominent fixture in the city’s vibrant culinary scene for over 27 years. Chef Lalita, renowned for her masterful Thai cuisine, has elevated the art of Pad Thai to new heights with her signature recipe. Combining traditional flavors with modern techniques, Chef Lalita has created a Pad Thai experience that is unparalleled.

At Osha Thai, Chef Lalita’s Pad Thai starts with perfectly cooked rice noodles, stir-fried to achieve a delicate yet slightly chewy texture. The dish is then infused with a harmonious blend of tamarind paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime juice, creating a balance of sweet, sour, and savory notes. As for the protein, guests have the choice of succulent shrimp, tender chicken, or crispy tofu, ensuring a delightful experience for every palate. Garnished with fresh bean sprouts, roasted peanuts, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime, Chef Lalita’s Pad Thai tantalizes both the eyes and taste buds.

So now you know the history… have we tempted you to sample ours? Make a booking on our website or pop into the restaurant – we’re open every day for lunch and dinner at 4 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco. 


Laurent Fine dining,
107 Duncan Avenue, New York
Open: 09:00 am – 01:00 pm