So, you want to know about pad Thai?
There’s a lot to love about pad Thai. It’s extremely flavoursome, comforting and features the five classic elements of Thai cuisine: sweet, salty, spicy, sour and bitter. Famously Thailand’s national dish, it’s little wonder we’ve adopted this iconic dish with a dizzying amount of passion. With Thailand and Brisbane both sharing sunshine, heat and humidity in common, it’s only natural the Thai cuisine scene is thriving. So, we thought we’d venture to the capital of the Sunshine State and work out where on earth to get the best pad Thai in Brisbane.
A brief history
The dish consists of rice noodles stir-fried with eggs and firm tofu, and then flavoured with tamarind, fish sauce, dried shrimps, palm sugar, garlic and red chillies. Most pad Thai will also come with prawns, chicken or other fresh seafood. It’s then always served with crushed peanuts, bean shoots and lime wedges.
Historically pad Thai was introduced in the late 1930’s by the leader of the time, Plaek Phibunsongkhram. With a desire to make Thailand more Westernised, a new national dish was ordered. And so, pad Thai was born. Which we are obviously very, very stoked about.
A match made in heaven
Brisbane and Thai food go together like satay sauce on chicken skewers and there’s thankfully a fair amount of Thai restaurants peppered throughout BNE. But for us, these selected restaurants offer the very best pad Thai in Brisbane. We highly recommend working your way through them all, one delicious pad Thai at a time.
The best pad Thai in Brisbane
What better place to start our guide to the best pad Thai in Brisbane, than with Longtime. Situated on the bustling Ann Street in The Valley, the location of Longtime adds to its charm – it reminds owners Frank Li and Tyron Simon of the wild streets of Thailand. The space features soft lighting, a tuk tuk at the entrance, Thai ornaments and plants woven through the light fixtures. It all comes together and makes dining here an ambient experience you’re not likely to forget. As for the menu, it’s of Michelin quality and is not just typically Thai. Think ceviche, prawn larb tacos, Hervey Bay scallops with butter Sriracha and more besides. Our pick here is the pad see ew with crispy pork belly, choy sum, pickled chilli and crispy garlic. While not the classic pad Thai, it’s a treat you don’t want to miss.
When: Tues – Sun: 5:30 til late
Where: 610 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane 4006
To Be Thai
Cooking up delicious pad Thai for over a decade, To Be Thai in New Farm is a local favourite for very good reason. But the secret is well and truly out now. Spacious and breezy, this restaurant is one of the best spots in town for authentic Thai cuisine. The menu features all the basics you’d expect, which are brought to life with fresh quality ingredients and produce. There’s also quite a few noodle dishes and for a creative take on pad Thai, we love the pad kee mao served with thick noodles, egg, fresh chilli and basil. Delicious!
Lunch: Mon – Fri: 11 – 3pm
Dinner: Mon – Sat: 5 – 10pm
Where: 1/92 Merthyr Road, New Farm, Brisbane 4005
Thai Ginger Restaurant
Thai Ginger Restaurant is a Southeast Asian delight. Located in North Lakes, not of the Brisbane CBD, it’s a casual restaurant that features relatively simple decor and some of the best Thai food in the city. There’s an extensive menu here that includes jungle, massaman, yellow and Panang curries; many stir-fries; seafood specialties and of course the signature pad Thai. It’s fresh, wholesome and perfect for relaxed evenings out with the family or your best mates.
Lunch: Mon, Tues, Fri: 11 – 2pm
Dinner: Every day except Tuesday: 4:30 – 8pm
Where: 1 College St, North Lakes, Brisbane 4509
Dining at Thai Ayuthaya in Chermside will leave you feeling as though you’re in a picturesque village in the Land of Smiles. You’ll be greeted by relaxing wafts of incense, followed by delicious aromas coming from the kitchen. The space itself features Thai artworks and statues, and there’s plenty of flowers and plant life which adds to the experience in the best possible way. As a treat, we highly recommend starting with a round of curry puffs filled with chicken and potato or the coconut prawns. As for the pad Thai? It features a secret tamarind sauce that honestly sets it apart from any others we’ve tried and leaves you dreaming of the next time you get to eat it.
Lunch: Wed – Sun: 11 – 2:30pm
Dinner: Mon – Sun: 5:30 – 10:30pm
Where: 725 Gympie Road, Chermside, Brisbane 4032
Thai at Home
Designed to feel like you’re dining in your own living room, Thai at Home in St Lucia is all about sharing home-cooked, authentic and flavourful Thai cuisine. Is there anything better? We think not. Located a stone’s throw from UQ, the menu is made up of dishes inspired by traditional dishes from the owner’s grandmother. It’s safe to say, the food here will leave you delighted. Of course the pad Thai is a stand out. You can opt for the classic with your choice of seafood, tofu, chicken, beef or duck, or go for the glass noodle pad Thai from the chef’s recommendation. Our tip: order the satay chicken skewers to start.
Lunch: Mon – Thurs: 11 – 2:30pm; Fri – Sun: 12 – 3pm
Dinner: Mon – Thurs: 5 – 9:15pm; Fri – Sun: 5 – 9:30pm
Where: 5/224 Hawken Drive, St Lucia, Brisbane 4067
Last but certainly not least, we have My Thai. An Auchenflower local haunt for over 20 years, this charming restaurant is the brainchild of chef extraordinaire Busara Nulnanan. The vibe here is soft and tranquil, while the menu is a standout. Featuring all the regulars, it’s set apart by the generous use of excellent produce and attention-to-detail preparations. Each dish is layered with rich and unique flavours that complement each other perfectly, and there is liberal use of lemongrass, ginger, garlic and piping hot chillies. The pad Thai here is served with chicken and features a secret pad Thai sauce that we’d do pretty much anything to get our hands on. Brilliant and charming, it’s a strong hold for the Brisbane Thai community and offers some of the best pad Thai in Brisbane.
When: Tues – Sun: 5 – 9pm
Where: 113 Haig Rd, Auchenflower, Brisbane 4066