During these cold Maine months, there has been one dish that’s given me warmth and comfort; pad thai, a staple dish found in any Thai restaurant that never disappoints. Pad thai serves as an instant serotonin boost on those dreary winter days, warming the body and soothinge the heart with each indulgent bite. Pad thai never gets old. It can be eaten on a daily basis and it will remain the same wonderful splash of flavor with each serving.
Pad thai is a light stir fry noodle dish that consists of rice noodles dressed in a tangy, yet sweet “pad thai” sauce. The sauce consists of garlic and onions combined with a fish sauce and a pinch of palm sugar to produce the sweetness found in the dish. Many Thai restaurants will advertise the dish with little to no spice, but the heat of the dish can be increased upon the customer’s request. Finally, with some crushed peanuts and a squeeze of lime, the dish can be served with your choice of meat that the restaurant provides or the equally tasty vegetable option. It is a delicious option for vegetarian and gluten free diets that can also be modified to accommodate other allergies.
I have had the pleasure of enjoying a few of the Thai restaurants that surround the Bangor and Orono area, and I am happy to report that while each restaurant serves this dish in its own way, they never stray away from the proper pad thai dish.
Here are a few of the restaurants in the Bangor or Orono area that have quality pad thai if you’re looking to try some:
Thai Orchid: 5/5
This is the go-to spot for when the pad thai craving hits. It’s only a 20 minute walk from the University of Maine campus, and well worth it for their delicious pad thai. The chicken pad thai is more savory than sweet, which is perfect if paired with a boba tea. They give you a perfect portion of noodles that can be finished in one sitting and leaves you in a good mood. No need to worry about over-eating here.
MamaDs has definitely the most authentic pad thai in the Bangor area. It is a perfect balance of flavors, and the crunchy bean sprouts complement the dish’s overall appeal. The portion size is huge. There will be leftovers. However, the 20 minute drive into Bangor from UMaine knocks MamaDs one star lower than Thai Orchid. Food-wise, it is as good as Thai Orchid.
Thai Etc: 3.5/5
Thai Etc has a large menu, so its pad thai is very simple. It was very sweet for the amount of food you get, and could have used some onions or spice to balance it out. It’s good, but similarly to MamaDs, it is a bit of a trip away from campus.
Pad thai typically has a higher price tag than other go-to takeout, so it is not the most conducive to a college student’s budget. However, the quality of the dish, and the portion sizes each restaurant serves, makes up for the price and is worth trying at least once.