Top 10 Pad Thai in Manila searched high and low for the best Pad Thai this side of the world. Here, our top picks.

What makes a good phad thai? First is a balance of flavors. It should not just be sweet; it must also contain a bit of saltiness in the form of fish sauce or pungent Thai dried shrimps. There should be some tanginess from the tamarind paste, but not too much to make you feel too satiated after a few bites. A citrusy flavor from lime, lemon or calamansi juice adds an acidic zing. Finally, there must be a bit of herbal flavor in the form of bean sprouts, spring onions or wansoy. Whether or not it should be spicy is a matter of personal taste.

The next thing to look at is texture: the noodles must be properly cooked and not too moist or mushy. There should be an added crunch from either ground peanuts or in some cases, raw bean sprouts. Diced tofu should also add another dimension. Unless it is a vegetarian version, morsels of chicken meat, fried shrimp, or prawns should be included.

It wasn’t easy, but we tracked down the best pad thai in the metro with help of the Thai food experts from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Our original shortlist of 15 restaurants later grew to 18, but it was worth it every time we found a phad thai that made us say "A-roi!" That’s Thai for delicious.


Photos by Anson Yu

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