I have this friend. He is good looking, successful, very happily married, and an accomplished Thai cook. I should dislike him intently, but I don't. I owe him my love Thai cuisine because I had never tasted the amazing complexity of flavors in true Thai cooking before he took me out to a Thai restaurant for the first time some years ago.
If you poll a group of occasional Thai diners, they will probably say that "Pad Thai" is one of their favorite dishes, as it is mine. I discovered recently, however, that this is really a name without much meaning. Literally translated, the term "Pad Thai" means "Thai style stir-fried noodles". Leaving a wide range for interpretation. A wonderful recipe (from a wonderful web site and blog) can be found here.
In any event, reading up on this dish on the Thai Food and Travel site, I became aware of the American controversy in the preparation of Pad Thai. Apparently the typical way the noodles are made in Thailand renders the noodles dry and a natural tan color. Some American restaurants put catsup in the noodles to color them and give them more flavor or they add hot pepper sauce with a similar but kicked-up effect. I eat the "red" Pad Thai noodles at restaurants and I always like them. Even though I was uninformed of their lack of "authenticity". I have only had the "drier", tan Pad Thai once. At Trader Vic's. I have a multitude of good Trader Vic's stories that will have to wait to another time. Suffice to say, the difference between the "dry" preparation and the "red" versions is dramatic. A completely different flavor, much more delicate and sophisticated. And, no, I had not imbibed multiple Mai Tais at Trader Vic's before my dinner. Only one. Or perhaps two.
Although I prefer the "dry" style of Pad Thai, I certainly like the "red" style also and I'll eat it again the next time it shows up on my plate. The Epic notion is that if you like the flavor, don't worry about the authenticity. Just enjoy what shows up for you during any given meal. Or in the course of any given day.