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Street Vendor Video: Pad Thai

This video demonstrates how to make a Classic Pad Thai based on the original style which uses fresh lime (served on the side at the end) to add sour flavor but no tamarind. The main flavor ingredients here are vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and ground chile. The chef here is very well known in the area of Nakorn Pathom, having an excellent reputation. As a result, she's always cooking for a steady stream of customers. Her shop name is Pad Thai Buang Yuan, noting the two recipes she specializes in (Buang Yuan is a type of Thai omelet).

The possibilities are endless when it comes to Pad Thai--please see the video below featuring a street vendor preparing two other versions. We also have our own favorite version of Pad Thai that uses tofu (which we love in Pad Thai!), and takes practice but has a wondeful rich flavor.

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Thai Street Vendor Videos

All of our videos can be found in our Thai Street Vendor Videos section.

Street Vendor Prepares Two Variations of Pad Thai Street Vendor Prepares Two Variations of Pad Thai Radna Wide Noodles in Gravy Radna Wide Noodles in Gravy Stir-fried Seafood Basil, 'Pad Krapao Talay' Stir-fried Seafood Basil, 'Pad Krapao Talay' Garlic Shrimp, 'Goong Pad Gratiem' Garlic Shrimp, 'Goong Pad Gratiem'

Thai Street Vendor DVD

Now on DVD:
Learn How To Cook
Like a Thai Street Vendor

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Highest Quality DVD from Victory Studios, Seattle WA.

Since 2008 we've presented new, professionally-produced Thai Street Vendor videos at ImportFood.com. Many customers say these videos offer the best instruction on how to cook authentic Thai food, and request that we offer it on DVD.

Our new Thai Street Vendor Cooking DVD offers 20 of our most popular videos in full picture format so you can watch them on your computer or at home on your big screen tv. Quality is outstanding, and the DVDs are professional grade not cheap reproduction discs from an office supply store.

The DVD is packaged in a standard case, with a recipe booklet inside detailing the ingredients and method of each recipe shown in the DVD. More Info.



February 17th, 2009
10:53 PM
what an excellent video!! thanks for sharing!
May 12th, 2009
1:47 PM
I love it!!!!!!!!! Thanks for your video
September 8th, 2009
6:43 AM
Your videos are THE BEST!! I can't thank you enough for making it possible to replicate these recipes in our own American kitchens with the help of your techniques and products. Thank you!!
Alacia Fowler
October 16th, 2009
9:51 PM
These videos are great, and you are a wonderful narrator. Thank you so much for posting these on your site.
December 29th, 2009
5:09 PM
I grew up in the states watching my mom cook Thai as a kid. . . I make many dishes at home on my own with products purchased at a local asian market. I've watched several of your videos and am so thoroughly impressed to know now that I'm doing it ALMOST EXACTLY as they do it on the streets in Thailand!!! :) (Sadly, I haven't been back yet, since leaving there as a toddler.) Thank you tons. . . when I'm ready to reorder some staples, I think I might skip the trip to HungFung and use importfood.com . :)
kass lockhart
January 12th, 2010
11:13 AM
Makes us want to book a flight today so we could be eating there tomorrow. Where is that location, anyway?
Howard Culbreth
January 26th, 2010
8:08 PM
You can tell by the way this lady moves that she has been doing this for a long time and is expert at this dish. I have had a hard time with Pad Thai because the noodles get too soft. The rule is to just soak the rice stick in warm water until they are softening but still stiff. Look at the stiffness of the noodles when she puts them in for the correct texture. Also, does anyone know how she makes the shrimp and coconut concoction? Does she re-hydrate the dried shrimp first? How long does she saute the shrimp and coconut together? Where does the reddish color come from/ The chile powder?
March 12th, 2010
10:17 AM
thank you so much for sharing these street vendors video. i've learned so much and so many way of cooking my favorite thai food. this is the best site ever!!!
June 30th, 2010
5:02 PM
There are 3 pans on her cart. The first is tofu, can you tell me what is in the second and third? I know you said fried coconut and dried shrimp was in one of them.
February 13th, 2011
6:33 PM
Thanx for this video! It reminds me of when I used to be in Thailand. The vendor cooks in a very unique way she really inspired me into trying to make my mom's phat-thai recipe and to try others. !
October 26th, 2012
11:49 AM
Greta video!!! Really enjoyed it, thanks!!
January 8th, 2013
6:44 PM
You all are fantastic! Thank you so much for your conscientious service and education! Must order something soon! I love my mortar and pestle that I bought from you....it's excellent and beautiful.
January 15th, 2013
11:39 AM
Great videos have not tried any yet will make ka pow chicken tonight thanks for making these videos and Thai cooking made easy
August 15th, 2013
12:05 PM
l enjoy allways to see your nice and interesting videos.l think l have to start once cooking thai-food.very much thanks for your big job-
October 7th, 2013
1:51 PM
Fabulous...really helpful. I think I might be able to attempt this!
November 26th, 2013
7:29 PM
I could easily live off the "street food" stands in Thailand and be very very happy. With the rare exception they are very friendly and the stands are clean......food is always great. Don't forget the fresh fruit stands........the BEST. If you get caught in the traffic someone will come along offering something to eat while you wait for the light to change..........What a way of life.
Mark K.
December 10th, 2013
7:11 PM
What I LOVE about Thai Street Foods and these videos in particular is the simplicity and unpretentious nature of the food preparation and the cooking and presentation of the final dishes which - all evidence to the contrary - offer up a complex and exotic set of flavor profiles and experiences to those who are adventurous - and hungry - enough to give them a try. Once again, many thanks for the opportunity to see how street food is prepared and ENJOYED in Thailand. Bravo!
December 23rd, 2013
6:51 PM
Thanks so much for the tutorials online! I have a question, though, about the DVD's: do they include the up to 15-20 seconds of "buffering?" Perhaps it's just my location, but those pauses are distracting. Thank you for reading this ...
February 25th, 2014
5:31 PM
Love this site!! I made my first from scratch green curry paste. it is amazing, I will never buy canned again!

Fascinating watching the street chefs. Very talented and efficient.
October 11th, 2014
1:50 AM
Amazing website, love the videos and recipes - thank you :)
Dave Mac
November 8th, 2014
6:32 PM
Great videos and narration!
I've probably made pad thai 100 times this year, based on watching all these videos and others on the internet. I'll admit, the kids are getting tired of it and my testing ;) There really are significant differences in the flavor profiles of the various pad thai recipes, and unless you've tried all the different souring/salting/sweetening combinations you may find yourself confused as to which are "best" and whether you need to use all the choices to be authentic, or just one.
Thought I'd come back here and comment on that.
1. The salted radish used in many "authentic" versions is VERY salty--use sparingly or your dish will be too salty for most Americans taste. Some recipes say "sweet radish" and some say to soak the salted radish to remove most salt, several water changes, and then add some sugar to it... essentially making it into sweet radish. I love the crunchy salt burst it gives, but do recommend you rinse at least once and use sparingly.
2. Some older styles of pad thai seem to use dried shrimp instead of regular shrimp; I've seen local Thai commentators say in posts that this shift to fresh shrimp grew out of competition in the recent past, as vendors looked to add that extra something special for their version. In any case, if you use the dried shrimp be cautious of the salt again, you'll need to reduce the fish sauce probably (which I hate as it's my favorite flavor in the dish), or it will again be too salty.
... Caution for the American cook, I've made this with and without the dried shrimp, and have to say that adding the dried shrimp actually will make the dish deviate maybe too far from what most Americans will recognize as "correct" from restaurants; authentic yes, but the strong shrimp flavor will not be familiar or usually appreciated by those who think they know "good pad thai". As the dried shrimp are somewhat expensive and hard to find, I'm usually quite disappointed when I go to the trouble of making pad thai "authentically" and guests don't appreciate that style.
3. I recommend using a teaspoon or so of shrimp paste (kapi) fried in the oil with the garlic instead of using actual dried shrimp--you get a good shrimp flavor but more distributed and no shocking leathery wee shrimp with extreme flavor burst. For those guests not used to the original authentic style anyways.
4. Seems tamarind is a newer change as a souring agent, white vinegar being the older style. Too much tamarind or over-saucing it using a commercially prepared sauce actually will ruin the flavor profile from what most Americans may be used to from restaurants. I've got tamarind pods I use for juice, tamarind paste in block form, tamarind concentrate in plastic jar, and 3 kinds of pad thai commercial sauce... sorry but I've got to say that white vinegar with white sugar gives a more "authentic" flavor than all the other. I do use tamarind for maybe HALF the souring needed, for the flavor notes it gives as well as the good color to noodles, but I no longer use tamarind as the primary or sole souring agent. Again, the more expensive harder to find stuff isn't 100% on track for flavor.
5. Sweetening agents. Some recipes list palm sugar; some commercial sauces use palm sugar, though most seem to use standard corn syrup or high-fructose syrup anyways. I've used them all, and have 3 different styles of palm sugar sitting on shelf ready for use including a simple syrup that hydrates the noodles and sweetens them at once... Sorry, but the palm sugar flavor is essentially undetectable vs. white sugar. Recommend just using the easier white sugar.
6. Color and other flavor notes-- some of these videos, and others on the net, use a shot of "dark soy sauce" or "Thick Dark Soy Sauce". From a survey of 20 online recipes/videos, I'd say 1/3 of them use this palm-molasses/soy mix. However, consensus is not strong on WHAT sauce exactly--some insist on the SWEET dark soy sauce, and on importfood.com versions you'll see only the much more bitter "Dark Thick Soy Sauce". Which is often called "dark soy" but on the healthy boy brand recommended and linked to is actually labeled "THICK soy" only. Here's the two sauces: Healthy Boy Sweet is in a mostly white labeled bottle with blue/grey lines on it; mostly sweet like slightly bitter molasses. Healthy Boy Thick is in an orange labeled bottle; mostly BITTER, slight sweetness barely, no American comparable flavor really.
My take: 1 t or so of the SWEET soy per pad thai portion will give both the color you want on the noodles (without using tamarind) AND the palm sugar note (while still using white sugar). If you use the THICK soy recommended in one video here, you best use REALLY only 1/2t per portion or the resulting bitter flavor will not be accepted by most American tasters.
7. Lastly, salty: if you're using salted radish, and/or dried shrimp (salty!), and/or soy (sweet OR thick), and/or Golden Mountain or Maggi... you're adding a lot of salt already. Recommend you go very lightly on the fish sauce and plan on letting folks add it themselves at table, or you'll end up overly salty.
Fish Sauce. I just bought a bottle each of the following brands: Tiparos; Lucky; Three Crabs; Purfina (Phillipino version). I go through a 24oz bottle or so every 3 weeks. Taste tested them all with 10 friends invited over for pad thai and larb gai dinner. Order of preference best to worst: Tiparos, Purfina, Lucky, Three Crabs. Three crabs is least salty and has some dextrose in it that makes it a bit sweet and strongly "sardine" smelling. NOT a fan of three crabs. For making nam pla prik sauce as a table condiment (fish sauce with thai chili peppers cut up in it), I much prefer Purfina--least salty and least "offensive" to the Thai-food-loving-Americans I've made taste teaspoons of them all one after the other.
November 9th, 2014
10:16 PM
Thank you Dave Mac for the detailed, factual and informative summary above. We would like you to know that we would appreciate your comments on any of our recipes and videos, so please feel free to share more of your experiences here at ImportFood.com. Your comment regarding the need to rinse salted radish is, in particular, a very important insight into getting just the right flavor. We love salted radish in pad thai but only if it's been rinsed and also, used sparingly. Thanks again for the great tips Dave!
November 3rd, 2015
10:43 PM
Dave Mac, Thank you so much for taking the time to write all those tips!!! It is much appreciated, I will keep them all in mind when cooking my Pad Thai =)
November 3rd, 2015
10:46 PM
Thank you import food for taking the time to show us all how to make all those great Thai recipes. I am going to try to make them once I receive my order =)
November 12th, 2015
12:28 AM
So when and why is tamarind added.
January 14th, 2016
5:01 AM
I love your internet site! I'm presently in Chantaburi, Thailand, and will be returning home soon. I can't go back to eating the old, boring, flavourless, North American foods. Thai's are the best cooks in the world. I will be ordering the cooking necessities to greet me on my arrival home. Thanks so much

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