Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pad Thai vs Pad Thai

Hi Guys.  Sorry for the long stretch with no blog entry!  People have been bugging me - "Ed, why aren't you updating your food blog!!"  Ok Lorna, get off my back - this entry is for you!!  Just to let my readers know I've recently accepted a new position at my company and I'm doing a lot of work in the evening - so unfortunately I'm not blogging as much as I want to.  Tonight I happen to have a free night - so no more excuses, here's my next blog entry!

Next to where I work on Broadway and Granville, 2 competing Thai restaurants opened within the same month.  "Jitlada" and "Bob Likes Thai Food".  Both restaurants are located on the north side of Broadway, but on opposite sides of Granville street.  I'll be writing food blog reviews on both restaurants but as a teaser I thought I'll better get something in for the meantime:  A 'Pad Thai' vs 'Pad Thai' throwdown!  So my co-worker and I each went to a Thai Restaurant and ordered their Chicken Pad Thai to go - then brought it back to the office for a taste off.

First a couple of notes on service.  I went to 'Bob Likes Thai Food' and my co-worker went to Jitlada.  I walked in, sat at the bar and had to wait several minutes to be waited on.  But almost immediately after I placed my order they brought me my meal and I was on my way!  It gives me a suspicious feeling that they might have a big pot of Pad Thai in the back and that it wasn't made to order - but I'm not sure.

My co-worker who went to Jitlada reports that she had very attentive service and was given a glass of water while she waited for her food.

The second note is price.  The Pad Thai at 'Bob Likes Thai Food' costs $8 for their lunch special.  The Pad Thai at Jitlada costs $12 for their lunch special.  So that means that for us to rule in favour of Jitlada, the quality of the food has to overcome a $4 handicap.   If all things are equal 'Bob Likes Pad Thai' will win due to being cheaper. 

First let's look at "Bob Likes Thai Food".

It comes with a fried wonton skin wrapper drizzled with sweet chile sauce, a small salad, and the Pad Thai.  We really like the fried wonton skin.  But the salad was pretty disappointing.  Just a couple of leaves dressed in the same sweet chile sauce.   The Pad Thai was fairly good - no ketchup taste which is a sign of an un-authentic Pad Thai.  BUT my co-worker says she tastes BBQ sauce.  I didn't get that initially but after the thought was put in my head I keep tasting BBQ sauce myself!  Authentic Pad Thai must be made with tamarind paste and Ketchup or BBQ sauce is a big no no.

Jitlada's Pad Thai

Jitlada's Pad Thai lunch special comes with a simple house salad dressed in a creamy dressing and a spring roll.  The spring roll is filled with rice noodle and vegetables.  If you eat at the restaurant, you also get a sweet chile dipping sauce which is apparently not available for take out.  The salad is also bigger than 'Bob Loves Thai'.  The Pad Thai itself is also very good.  It's a little bit more tomatoey and also sweeter than Bob Loves Thai.  I don't think they use ketchup but some sort of mix of tomato sauce and tamarind paste.  I wish the flavour of the sauce isn't that sweet so I give Bob Loves Thai Food a slight edge for flavour.  They give you more chicken and tofu than Bob Loves Thai Food, and the chicken is cooked more tender.  

So here's the score card:
Price: Bob Loves Thai Food
Service: Jitlada
Speed: Bob Loves Thai Food
Salad: Jitlada
Fried Accompaniment: Jitlada
Quantity: Comparable
Tofu and Chicken: Jitlada
Flavour of the sauce: Bob Loves Thai Food (slight edge)

Verdict: Jitlada

So after weighing all the factors my co-worker and I both judged in favour of Jitlada!  It was a fun exercise taking the same dish from 2 restaurants and doing a side by side comparison so you might see more of these in the future.

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