TasteAtlas stirs the pot: Pad kaprao sizzles to the top of global stir-fry rankings

Photo via Facebook/ Ratchabar กะเพราผัดรัชบาร์

Food guide platform TasteAtlas unveiled its list of the 50 best stir-fry dishes in the world, with Thai fast food favourite pad kaprao claiming the coveted top spot. The website added that Thai pad kaprao also stands as the fourth most frequently ordered dish by foreigners visiting Thailand.

Pad kaprao scooped first place in the rankings with an impressive 4.8 stars rated by global voters on TasteAtlas. The website mentioned that pad kaprao is a must-try dish for anyone visiting Thailand. The main ingredients typically comprise minced meat or seafood, holy basil, and an array of aromatic herbs, often accompanied by fried eggs.

TasteAtlast also suggests the best local restaurants to give a try pad kaprao in Bangkok including Raan Jay Fai in Samyan neighbourhood, Ung Jia Huad in Asok and Ratcha Bar 32 in Chatuchak.

In an interview with ThaiRath, renowned Thai chef Khai Deechantuek openly acknowledged that pad kaprao may not be an authentic traditional Thai dish, but it undeniably stands as the most popular Thai culinary delight, cherished by both locals and visitors alike.

Khai explained that pad kaprao is a to-go dish for locals but it might be different in the eyes of foreigners. He used to work in Malaysia and pad kaprao was the most popular dish, followed by Thai fried rice. Pad kaprao with chicken and meat is the most popular.

According to Khai, minced meat is best for the dish as the meat can absorb all the flavours from the spices and holy basil.

Recently, controversy ignited on Thai social media surrounding the concept of “authentic” Thai pad kaprao. Some food enthusiasts insisted that authenticity should comprise only meat, holy basil leaves, chilli, and fish sauce, leading to the exclusion of vendors who incorporated sweet soy sauce into their pad kaprao recipes. Conversely, others professed their fondness for pad kaprao enriched with chopped long beans, baby corn, and mushrooms.

Khai, shedding light on the matter, revealed that while the steps for making pad kaprao may appear simple, achieving its deliciousness can be challenging. The absence of standardized recipes further complicates matters. For instance, some Thai cooks include kaffir leaves, while others introduce holy basil flowers to their versions.

Emphasizing the absence of a single “authentic” pad kaprao, Khai underscored that each dish is tailored to individual preferences. The paramount consideration is the use of fresh ingredients.

Pad Kaprao is also used in several fusion dishes such as spaghetti with pad kaprao sauce, pad kaprao pizza, rice curry with pad kaprao topping, pad kaprao burgers, etc. The condom brand MyONE Thailand even launched a special chicken kaprao flavoured condom, in March.

The Michelin Guide website also reports that pad kaprao is also considered a Thai dish in Japan. Japanese food lovers usually order pad kaprao with minced chicken in Thai restaurants in Japan. What makes pad kaprao unique in Japan is coriander. Coriander has also become more popular in Japan, leading to creative dishes such as coriander hot pot, coriander ice cream and coriander drinks.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.