Food - Drink
The Chinese Origins Of Thai Stir Fry
Thailand in the 1930s and ‘40s sorely needed to be elevated, not only in the world, but within the country itself, too. Then Thai prime minister, Plaek Pibulsonggram, set his mind on modernizing Thailand, including the designation of a national dish — pad Thai — a stir-fry dish which happened to hail from China.
Though a Thai cooking method now, stir-frying is an inherently Chinese culinary style, and even the full name of pad Thai — kway teow pad Thai — shows its Chinese origins. The phrase "kway teow" refers to rice noodles in the Chinese language, and immigrants from south China possibly brought some version of the dish with them to Thailand.
Regardless of origin, the pad Thai dish promoted by Pibulsonggram was a resounding success — strengthening the national economy, providing a nutritious dish prepared in sanitary ways, and uniting farmers for a sorely needed income base. It also became a way of globally elevating Thai culture in Western populations.