In January of 2013

...we flew halfway across the world and toured many different parts of Thailand. Each region consists of unique & beautiful landscape, rich culture, friendly locals, and mouth-watering food. The first stop was home, a small village nestled right on the border of Thailand and Laos with few stop lights and stop signs, but roads that seem to go on forever. The children would rush home from school to play in the Mekong River with us, their new-found foreigners they liked to call “Farang”. Their favorite playtime included skipping across large rocks that spread out onto the river and hunted for crustacean crabs. We discovered that fishing, hunting, farming, and trading were part of a daily routine for many local Thai folks. They eat simple and live off fish, rice and steamed vegetables that were home-grown on large acres of land. Most of the land is also surrounded by fruit trees such as banana, mango, lychee, and longan. The locals lead a low-key but happy life that includes clean organic eating and manual labour that keeps them active at the same time. Their daily routine varied on a daily basis where they worked when there are tasks to be done, relaxed when there wasn’t much to do, and most definitely knew how to party when the occasion calls. When boredom hit, we would squeeze into a tuk-tuk (a common form of public transportations. It is usually a three-wheeled cycle for private use, and as a vehicle for hire.) or pile onto the back of a tiny pickup truck along with some of the kids that wanted to go on a trip with the Farang. Destination? Anywhere!

Up north in the mountainous area, you can hike to beautiful remote waterfalls, or dip your feet in natural hot springs while munching on quail eggs (which you boiled in tiny baskets further up the hot streams). Places like these are the true gems of the forest. Interested in an adventure with nature? Take a gentle paced ride on an elephant, sight-see exotic birds of the region, and watch out for quick monkeys swinging from tree to tree. At night, we slept in open huts made up of wood plank floors and hay roof tops. The only thing that protected us at night were mosquito nets tucked under a large floor mat we called our bed. Say goodnight to the tree frogs hiding in your bathroom, the geckos that crawled along the walls or ceiling, and most likely the scorpions that lived within the hay roof tops. A refreshing evening breeze would aid in keeping us cool while the night critters performed their “nightly lullabies” while we drifted off to sleep.

On any given day, we would hop on a scooter and stop by the local internet Cafe to update our family on our adventure or grabbed a quick bite to eat at a small street stand. We walked the endless, bustling street markets where merchants competed for your attention. We wandered aimlessly through different temples while minding our manners out of respect to the Buddhist culture. Thai desserts were sampled by the dozen, and our bellies filled up on homemade coconut ice-creams. We savoured every exotic fruits imaginable and took great advantage of the very affordable street masseuses. Sit back, relax, and have a Thai iced-tea, or rather a cold Leo Beer. Consuming cold Beers required some quick pace as these did not stay cold for very long in the hot 80+ F degree weather. Often, people offered to put ice into our beers (much to our dislike) as they did not understand that Canadians do not enjoy watered down beer! As we walk around, we kept our beers cold while on the go, in a plastic bag full of ice (coolers were a luxury!). A lot of the cold alcoholic beverages you could purchase at a street stand consisted of a small plastic bag with your drink content inside, tied with elastic in one corner, and a straw peeking out from the other. (no regulations to stop you from drinking while wandering the streets either!). Establishments would even allow us to take our unfinished bottles on-the-go. Store owners would even open the bottle for you so you could enjoy a cold one, anytime, day or night.

If you like cold beers and hot sun, down south is where you want to be. Beautiful sandy beach shores, line the coast where coconut trees sway with the warm breeze. Take a speed boat to a nearby island for a day and snorkel with the exotic fishes of the sea, followed by sunset over dinner, set up for you to enjoy right on the beach. Southern Thailand cuisine is influenced by the tourists and neighboring countries. You can find anything from burgers to pizzas, pastas to sushi, spicy curries to delicious array of desserts. You name it and Thailand has got it! With so much variety and endless options, it was hard to decide but no matter what, one dish always stood out for us and we found ourselves trying a different version each region had to offer.

During our adventurous travel, we discovered the world of Pad Thai! Many different styles from rustic country to city chic Pad Thai. Ingredients for each pad Thai version included varieties of meat and seafood, or simply grilled soya bean cake. All the different spices and fresh herbs fused together created mouth-watering flavours of spicy, sweet, sour, nutty, and savoury; ultimately causing our mouths to scream “UMAMI!!!”

We were convinced we had found the perfect combinations of classic, authentic yet modern Thai noodle dish and knew we wanted to share our delicious experience with the rest of the world, hence the birth of our new culinary journey called HOUSE OF PAD THAI.