While living in Thailand, we’ve discovered the amazing phenomenon of “Easy Thai” (the phrase came from the back page of a menu at Rom Jinda, one of the few restaurants we frequent that actually has an English menu). “Easy Thai” is a set of dishes that can be found at just about any rarn ar harn dtarm sang (“food to order” stall) in town, whether they advertise it or not. It is a subset of Thai food that consists primarily of stir-fry dishes, mostly served khao rad (over rice), including:
|Pad Prik Giang
|Stir-fried with red curry paste, Thai eggplant, lime leaves
|Pad Kra Pao
|Stir-fried with chili and basil
|Rice noodles fried “Thai style”
|Pad See Iw
|Wide rice noodles with morning glory and other vegetables
|Kratiem Prik Thai
|Stir-fried with garlic and pepper
|Pad Mit Monmuang
|Stir-fried with cashew nuts
|Stir-fried with fresh chilies
|Stir-fried with ginger and mushrooms
|Thai omelet with tomatoes and onions
You can also specify the base of your dish, otherwise you will likely wind up with pork (the usual default):
For noodle dishes, you should request the width of the noodles: sen yai (wide), sen lak (medium, fettuccini-width), or sen mee (thin, vermicelli-width). Otherwise you may get a surprise when your Pad See Iw shows up sen mee.
Finally, frequenters of Easy Thai often add other modifiers, such as kai dao (with a fried egg on top), pet prik (spicy), or sei gong (to go). It’s kind of like ordering coffee in Seattle.
Easy Thai has become a staple of my lunch-runs, as it is cheap, fast, fresh, and delicious. At a rarn ar harn dtarm sang, an easy Thai dish runs 25-35 Baht (~$0.75-$1; meat and fried eggs can add a few Baht to the cost). My current favorites are pad prik giang, pad thai sen yai, and pad kra pao. I’ve never seen pad prik giang on menus at home, but when I return to Seattle I’ll have to ask Jamjuree if they’ll make it for me!