When growing up I was super picky, and yet I would consistently eat an entire large order of pad thai from the nearby thai restaurant, Bangkok Thai in Danbury, CT. When I moved away from Connecticut I constantly struggled to find pad thai that reminded me of my childhood addiction.
So I took matters into my own hands and spent months trying to recreate the recipe myself. I must have made 50 different variations of this recipe trying to find the secret to the delicate taste and the perfectly glossy noodles. Eventually, after a visit to my parents house, I brought back a takeout order from Bangkok to my Brooklyn apartment. The restaurant had recently come under new management and although they had the same chef, I didn't have the report with the new owners that years of customer loyalty had earned me with the original owners. I took my best shot at matching the flavor once I got home but it was still missing something that I couldn't put my finger on.
I had my partner Connie come over and give me a second thought and she suggested that it was maybe missing oyster sauce. I dismissed this because I hadn't seen oyster sauce in basically any of the dozens of recipes I'd scoured online. In an act of desperation, I called the restaurant and told them that I'd had an allergic reaction to their pad thai and my doctor asked me to find out what might have caused it. I told them that I knew I wasn't allergic to shrimp, fish sauce, tamarind (and basically all of the ingredients I knew were definitely in there) and asked them if there was anything else in the sauce. They finally revealed to me that the thing I was missing was in fact oyster sauce (and Connie will never let me live that down).
Given that pad thai is made thousands of ways around Thailand, I imagine that this particular flavor of the dish must be a regional style, but I've found no other recipes that even come close to the beauty of Bangkok Pad Thai. So, without further ado, I present to you my best attempt at recreating my favorite dish I've ever known.
Download the recipe ⬇️