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Why Pad Thai in US taste sweet?

Why Pad Thai in US taste sweet?

Old Aug 3, 15, 8:55 am
  #31  
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Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
I can understand the desire to avoid summer US 98 traffic all too well. Not sure about common ownership with the other Jasmine.
I support a plant in Pensacola and work out of Panama City. I made the mistake of coming back on 98 in late June and despite the extra 30 miles going on I-10, I'd have gotten back an hour earlier had I taken the northern route. I'm sure the locals know how to avoid what's avoidable, but even here sometimes there's just no way. We'll probably make a Bass Pro run some weekend in the fall and I'll look for it then.

Probably no relationship between the 2 restaurants. In PCB, it's spelled Jazmine. It's well regarded locally but I stay on my side of the bridge in the summer when possible and we have a neighborhood Thai place that we frequent - not my neighborhood - but a cozy family owned spot with local customers, unknown to the summer crowd.
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Old Aug 3, 15, 9:59 am
  #32  
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
Maybe I'm just the odd one out but when I eat Asian food "sweet" is not a word that ever entered my mind. Bread--sweet? Huh?
All cheap American food seems to have sugar added to it from frozen dinners to takeaways to bread to cooked vegetables. If you're not used to it (especially when not used to HFCS) you really notice it. My mouth goes dry and I need to drink a ton of water.

I also notice on many US cooking programmes which get shown in the UK that everything from bread to cooked meats to salads appear to have huge amounts of sugar in them, usually with the comment "just to add a bit of sweetness" as if every single item of a meal needs its main taste balanced with sweetness.

Asian cuisine is a bit more complicated as many Asian sauces (including Thai, Cantonese, Malaysian and Japanese amongst others) do actually require some sugar as an ingredient, though you can't usually taste it.
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Old Aug 3, 15, 4:40 pm
  #33  
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Originally Posted by whimike View Post
As somebody that loves bread, and being in the SF Bay Area where sourdough comes from, I just never noticed any of the breads I eat having the slightest bit of sugar.
But you're probably not eating Wonder Bread and the like. I think most bakery/artisanal breads have little to no sugar compared to the mass-produced junk. Some recipes call for a little sugar to give the yeast a bit of a nudge, but my favorite bread recipe calls for no sugar at all.

Last edited by chgoeditor; Aug 4, 15 at 11:35 am Reason: Typo
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Old Aug 3, 15, 5:11 pm
  #34  
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Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
But your probably not eating Wonder Bread and the like. I think most bakery/artisanal breads have little to no sugar compared to the mass-produced junk. Some recipes call for a little sugar to give the yeast a bit of a nudge, but my favorite bread recipe calls for no sugar at all.
That's right. But outside of the US even the whitest, bog standard, mass produced bread does not have sugar added.

Here's a mass produced white bread in the US:

Wheat Flour Enriched ( Flour , Barley Malt , Ferrous Sulfate [ Iron ] , Vitamin B [ Niacin Vitamin B3 , Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1 { Thiamin Vitamin B1 } , Riboflavin Vitamin B2 { Riboflavin Vitamin B2 } , Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ] ) , Water , Corn Syrup High Fructose , Contains 22% or less , Wheat Gluten , Salt , Soybeans Oil , Yeast , Calcium Sulphate , Vinegar , Monoglyceride , Dough Conditioners ( Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate , Calcium Dioxide ) , Soy Flour , Diammonium Phosphate , Dicalcium Phosphate , Monocalcium Phosphate , Yeast Nutrients ( Ammonium Sulfate ) , Calcium Propionate , To Retain Freshness

Here's a mass produced, supermarket white bread in Australia:

Wheat Flour, Water, Baker's Yeast, Vinegar, Iodised Salt, Canola Oil, Wheat Gluten, Soy Flour, Emulsifiers (481, 472e, 471), Vitamins (Thiamin, Folate).

Last edited by bensyd; Aug 3, 15 at 5:22 pm
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Old Aug 3, 15, 6:18 pm
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My pizza dough recipe calls for 10 oz warm water, 1 teaspoon of sugar, one tablespoon of yeast, one teaspoon of salt, 2 cups whole wheat and 1.5 cups white flour. I don't worry too much about the 1 teaspoon of sugar, it gets added at the beginning to get the yeast going, I think because pizza dough is only let to rise one hour, once, rather than the 2 proofs you'd do for bread.
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Old Aug 4, 15, 7:23 am
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Pad thai in Thailand almost always uses tamarind paste for sweetness, whereas many renditions served in the US use sugar instead. Restaurants that use a more traditional recipe tend to have spice wheels on the tables, with three or four different condiments like in Thailand. Usually they are chile powder, fish sauce with diced bird's eye chile (nam plaa prik ki-noo), shrimp paste, and sugar.
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Old Aug 4, 15, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by GatoAndaluz View Post
Pad thai in Thailand almost always uses tamarind paste for sweetness, whereas many renditions served in the US use sugar instead. Restaurants that use a more traditional recipe tend to have spice wheels on the tables, with three or four different condiments like in Thailand. Usually they are chile powder, fish sauce with diced bird's eye chile (nam plaa prik ki-noo), shrimp paste, and sugar.
Tamarind isn't sweet; it's sour.
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Old Aug 8, 15, 11:07 am
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[redacted] The food manufacturers try to hit the bliss point with cheap industrial ingredients. That means adding sugar just to the point where it's too sweet, adding salt the same way, etc. [redacted]

Last edited by cblaisd; Aug 8, 15 at 12:40 pm Reason: Please take off-topic political argumentation/characterizations to OMNI/PR
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Old Aug 9, 15, 1:10 am
  #39  
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Originally Posted by GatoAndaluz View Post
Pad thai in Thailand almost always uses tamarind paste for sweetness, whereas many renditions served in the US use sugar instead. Restaurants that use a more traditional recipe tend to have spice wheels on the tables, with three or four different condiments like in Thailand. Usually they are chile powder, fish sauce with diced bird's eye chile (nam plaa prik ki-noo), shrimp paste, and sugar.
I can't get used to fish sauce because we don't eat fish or seafood. Therefor it has disgusting taste to us. I ordered some meals from a Sichuan Chinese restaurant. Spicy and nice but still tasted some fish sauce.

When we spent 3 weeks in Thailand, the most difficult experience was not getting food we wanted to eat. Every restaurant indoor or outside foot stalls put fish sauce on their dish. We tried but never worked. The only dish we kept eating for lunch and dinner for 2 weeks was " spicy basil chicken with rice" and we had to ask them not to put fish sauce. We loved it. We were very lucky to find an indian restaurant in Chiang Mai & Hua Hin where we went for lunch and dinner for 8 days. The food there tasted much better than the indian restaurants in US.
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Old Aug 9, 15, 4:20 am
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You must have been in incredibly remote parts of Thailand if you only had Thai food on offer.
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Old Aug 13, 15, 10:41 am
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Originally Posted by GatoAndaluz View Post
Pad thai in Thailand almost always uses tamarind paste for sweetness, whereas many renditions served in the US use sugar instead.
tamarind is more of a sour taste, are you thinking of the palm sugar? it has a different taste to plain ol' white sugar.
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Old Aug 13, 15, 3:09 pm
  #42  
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This thread is making me hungry.

The original plan was to go to the gym tonight. Now I'm debating whether to go out for Thai food, barbeque or head to the beach for a couple boat drinks and a plate of grouper.

Decisions, decisions.
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Old Sep 5, 15, 11:51 am
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They dont actually use Thai ingredients, but american ones
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Old Sep 5, 15, 4:27 pm
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Americans do have a bit of sweet tooth. For example, the dishes served in New York's Sichuan restaurants invariably have sweetness to them, whereas the same dishes in Chengdu and Chongqing are completely devoid of it. A cook at a popular Sichuan place in Chelsea (9th Av) told me once that they would have long been out of business if they hadn't sweetened their dishes to suit the local palate.

That said, Southeast Asian cuisines tend to be sweet. That's not so much an American thing. The sugarcane originally came from India, which has important influences on Thai culture and cuisine. Malaysia relies more on palm sugar. I once had pad Thai in a street market outside Bangkok that was garnished with coarse granulated sugar. If anything, Americans would probably object more to that gritty texture than a dish prepared without much sweetness.
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Old Sep 5, 15, 8:31 pm
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Amazing number of stereotypes thrown around in this thread, most of them pretty biased. Not all Americans like "sweet" food and some of us even know the difference between PF Changs and authentic Asian cuisines. Heck, we can even tell the difference between the different Asian cuisines!

Neither bread nor pad thai needs to be noticeably sweet. When I make pad thai, I tend use more sour than sweet in the sauce. I'm sure balsamic vinegar isn't authentic, but we think it goes well with it because we prefer the sour/tart taste to sweet with fresh vegetables.

Best place I've found in the U.S. for Thai food is in Delray (sp?), Virginia, just outside DC. Enough garlic in that stuff to keep the vampires away for a year.
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