In many parts of the world, finding a bowl or plate of Pad Thai is like finding a hamburger here in the states. It’s just everywhere. Simple rice noodles, onions, egg, spices and a variety of other ingredients. You see, just like a burger, Pad Thai has hundreds of different variations that can include anything from meat or seafood to bean sprouts or pickled radish. Most traditional Thai restaurants will ask you how “hot” you like it typically on a scale of 1-5. Know that the hottest American food is about a 3 on the Thai scale. This food has heat.
Here in the 320, Pad Thai is a little difficult to find. Most communities have a Chinese or Asian restaurant or buffet, but there are only a few that offer this dish the world loves.
It’s not a surprise that Sawatdee leads our choice for Pad Thai in the 320. This is traditional Pad Thai with your choice of heat levels. Served with peanuts and a wedge of lemon. The lemon was the only surprise, as Pad Thai typically comes with lime, but it totally worked. The portion sizes were excellent. In fact, we asked for a box and made a second meal out of the remainder the next day. It reheated well.
We recommend hot Jasmine Green Tea with it.
A great meal starting at under $14 as pictured.
If the Sawatdee name seems familiar, yes it’s part of the 4 store chain in the twin cities. At this time, there is there only greater Minnesota location.
Phone: 320 240-1454
Noodles and Company
Noodles and Company is the only fast casual restaurant on the list. While they serve noodles from around the world, they do offer Pad Thai. It is the Americanized version served with lime and choice of meat. If you’re just starting out or need to compromise with an eating companion who doesn’t want Thai food, this may be a solid option for you. There are two locations in St. Cloud, one downtown and the other near Crossroads Mall.
We know there are some people who believe this doesn’t belong on the list and while we understand, hear us out. If you want to be able to completely customize your own Pad Thai, Mongo’s Grill may be a great answer. Keep in mind that a Mongolian Grill allows you to pick your ingredients, sauces, spices and toppings. The staff fries it up in front of you while you watch. Admittedly, the results are mixed, but you can get a decent bowl of Pad Thai once you’ve been through the line and experiment a little.
You can add your choice of meats or tofu, and the vegetable options are significant. We do recommend finding the recipe cards at the beginning of the line. The cards are right above the bowls. This can be a guide specifically for the sauces that are added. In addition, Mongo’s Grill offers a choice of two sides. We’d recommend fried rice with an egg. After they hand it to you at the grill, make sure you add the peanuts or any other sauces you prefer.
The build your own bowl is around $15 for lunch.
Phone: 320 253-2695