From bustling street vendors to sophisticated restaurants, pad thai is a dish that transcends every food class. No matter who you're with or where you choose to chow down, pad thai is a failsafe that always delivers an aromatic flavour and a zesty finish. But what if you fancy branching out?
Luckily we've found the perfect alternative for you – panang curry. This rich Thai curry dish is full of the same hot, nutty flavours as pad thai but with an added heartiness that will satisfy anyone's hunger pangs. We compare the two Thai food favourites.
The classic: pad thai
The most famous of Thailand's national dishes, pad thai is a perfect symphony of fried rice noodles, egg, tofu and vegetables. But the true heart of this dish is its wonderful combination of hot and fragrant spices that turn a simple stir-fry into something special. Tamarind, fish sauce, garlic, chilli, a smidge of sugar, dried shrimp and lime juice come together to give pad thai its ultimate slurpability.
While universally accepted nowadays as a Thai dish, pad thai probably has origins in Chinese cuisine. It's most likely an Indo-Chinese fusion of flavours and ingredients brought to life by Thai chefs.
No matter where and when pad thai was made, it's still globally loved. But what if we told you there was a filling, meaty and moreish alternative?
The alternative: panang beef cheek curry
Pad thai is a hard classic to beat. But if it's a spicy aromatic flavor with a nutty finish you fancy, panang curry is an awesome alternative. And Pok Pok Jnr in Melbourne serves it up with style.
Panang shares the same base flavours as pad thai: spicy chilli, shrimp paste, garlic, fish sauce and peanuts. But where it differs is in its heartiness. It's thick, saucy and finished with whole chunks of tender meat for extra oomph.
Not one to follow the curve, Pok Pok take this dish one step further by using beef cheek, making this dish into the richest panang we've tasted. Paired with dried chilli, lemongrass, kaffir lime and coriander root – not to mention a side of fluffy jasmine rice – this dish hits the spot every time.