A SINGULAR DISH: AUTHORITY ON AUTHENTICITY
Mildly chewy, but what did I expect of this white meat? Shoving the ends of unevenly-broken chopsticks into my mouth, I attempt to target slippery noodles between my lips. I slightly tilt my head back, mouth ajar with sharp, outward breaths. It’s really hot.
Another order of pad se-ew, another late weekday night. It’s my thirteenth hour today, but if I go home I’ll go straight to bed. Instead I settle on some ambiguous floor of the library so I can force pen to paper. “Order some steamy noodles. Unravel briefly. Get to work.”
Eleven minutes after clicking “Place Order,” I get the call.
Nowhere near situated, I run down five flights. Subconsciously rationalizing, “Leave your valuables! People are trustworthy and won’t rob you!” I mustn’t keep Delivery Guy waiting, lest he momentarily hate me.
Back with my untouched belongings, I open the carton. The soy hits me, but no smell of sweetness or rich garlic. The crunch of the broccoli satisfies me, but wish it was its bitter Chinese counterpart. Something different exhibits itself. Sesame oil? What kind of pad se-ew is this? Not authentic. But what is authentic? Who am I to judge? I’m not Thai. I’ve never eaten pad se-ew in all its glory in some busy Bangkok café. Did someone Thai make my order? Or write this recipe? Pretty positive Delivery Guy spoke Mandarin.
Overcook your protein just a touch, undercook your vegetables just a tad– may as well be an ancient Thai proverb. But there’s really nothing to complain about. Noodles are hot. Flavors are clean. Vegetable is green. Oh look, some chicken that’s still tender! I’ve been looking for you… Another order of pad se-ew, another late weekday night.