Today's Phad Thai was by no means a failure but it was certainly ugly.
The tofu immediately fell apart when things got turbulent in the wok. I took a couple of short cuts as well. For example, I didn't feel like soaking the noodles for hours before cooking, so I soaked them in hot water to soften them up before finishing them off in the wok. I also left out the salted radish. Forgivable. Bit in the end, this here Phad Thai was still better than any American restaurant version I have sampled. Maybe it had something to do with the ample amounts of fish sauce. or maybe it was the palm sugar. Then again, it could have been the tamarind. Silly me, it was a mix of the three. It's supposed to taste a little tart from the tamarind, a little sweet from the sugar, and a little salty from the fish sauce (and the dried shrimp). This flavor balance is often lost in the American version. In America, for some inexplicable reason, ketchup often finds its way into the mix. The horror, the horror
My omissions served as a reminder of how much I like this dish as street food. As much as I like Phad Thai, it's not a dish that I'm often inclined to gather and prep all of the ingredients for. This is best left to a street stall where the vendor sells one thing and does it well. It is their job to make sure they have every little detail since that is the point of the enterprise, rather than just another dish on a long list of possible dishes. Same goes for the personal kitchen that can't ever be all things at all times. Choice does have its drawbacks.