A dish of stir-fried rice noodles is thought by some to have been introduced to Ayutthaya during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom by Chinese traders,and subsequently altered to reflect Thai flavor profiles. Others believe that the dish is of Vietnamese origin, and the etymology of the dish’s name suggests it.
During World War II, Thailand suffered a rice shortage due to the war and floods. To reduce domestic rice consumption, the Thai government under prime minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram promoted people to eat noodle instead. Meanwhile, wheat noodles were very popular in Thailand, Phibunsongkhram supported the change of name of the country from Siam to Thailand and Thai nationalism. He sought to eliminate Chinese influence. His government promoted rice noodles and helped to establish the identity of Thailand. As a result, a new noodle called sen chan (named after Chanthaburi province) was created. Pad thai has since become one of Thailand‘s national dishes. Today, some food vendors add pork-chops to enhance the taste (although the original recipe did not contain pork because of the government perception that pork was a Chinese meat). Some food vendors still use the original recipe.
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