If you’re visiting PEI for the first time or for your 100th time, you’ll find out that there are some great places to eat here … unless you’re looking for anything “ethnic”.
For instance, you’ll be able to find noodles and even with an ever growing Asian population on the island, it’s still ridiculously tough to find reasonably priced, “big” portioned Chinese food. This isn’t a knock on the island, it’s not Toronto or Montreal or Vancouver … so expectations should be managed appropriately.
After being here for almost 3 years, I can definitely say that things have improved and are getting better with time. Maybe in 10 years, we might have a “PEI Eat Street” … maybe!!!
Where to find the best Pad Thai on Prince Edward Island?
After many trips to Thailand and eating Thai food all over the world, I have a pretty definitive personal opinion on what makes up a great tasting Pad Thai. What looks so easy on the streets of Bangkok, Phuket or Pattaya usually gives way to platters of gummy, greasy garbage noodles on the island.
The main problem is that following the basic tenets of stir-frying, which include using a smoking-hot pan with a good amount of oil and cooking in small batches can be problematic, since you need to have the right hardware in the restaurant. The oil to be smoking or right on the verge of smoking, which keeps the noodles from sticking and getting greasy, along with moving it all the time around the wok, and the dish should take no longer than three minutes to make. Also most Pad Thai here has been “Canadian-ized”, usually with the addition of ketchup and/or some garbage sweet-and-sour sauce. With that in mind, here’s my take on the best Pad Thai on PEI.
1. Khoaw Pon Restaurant : https://www.peithai.ca/
For the longest time, Thai Pad was easily the best Thai food in the Charlottetown area, and by extension, on the entire island. With the advent of Khoaw Pon … as much as I love Sue at Thai Pad, her truck has to slip to #2 in the list. From a Pad Thai perspective, it’s a simply excellent execution of the dish. You should go try it … ask for it “Thai Hot”.
Where to find a good Pad Thai in Charlottetown? I’m super happy to say that @khoawponauthenticthai makes a fantastic Pad Thai. I’ve done the requisite three eatings there with 4 Pad Thais sampled. Good : The right noodles, cooked on super high flame, good chewy consistency with enough sauce but not an overly saucy Thai Express mess (which is tasty BTW). Good balance of sweet, salty, sour and umami. Good balance on the fish sauce … It doesn’t reek of fishiness. Bad : Customer service needs coaching, but I’ll always take great food with average customer service than the reverse. (FYI – I called my third order in – they handed me two boxes of Cashew Chicken – highlighted this – I got the Ethnic “wtf” face – I know it well … I do it all the time, but I don’t expect it from a business ) Ugly : I don’t recommend going for lunch at this time … It took 25 min for my Pad Thai to show up at lunch time . Do go for dinner … !! #PEIFoodie #PEIBrownGuyRecommendation #CharlottetownPadThai #Charlottetownlunch #Charlottetownthaifood @rishiraysankar @saltwaterdining_pei
2. Thai Pad food truck : https://www.facebook.com/ThaiPadPEI/
I support Sumitra’s business wholeheartedly … it’s tough enough running a food business. Try running a food business to an island where the culinary palate has been slow to evolve and love non-island cuisine. With the onerous and byzantine local food regulations, she has to be a goddamn pioneer and risk taker. Her Pad Thai is a homely and comforting portion of Pad Thai with the best Spring roll around garnished with home grown veggies and herbs. I suggest supporting her business first and then branching out.
3. King’s BBQ & Chinese Food : http://kingsbbqchinesefood.ca/
It’s pretty telling that the next best Pad Thai I’ve had, is at a Chinese restaurant. Anna and her crew have an excellent lunch special from 11:30 to 2:30. The $11.00 special with a drink, wanton soup/egg roll and a good plate of “Pad Thai inspired” noodles always hits the spot … it’s quick, decent and works in a pinch. If you’re wondering why I have a picture of super spicy MaPo tofu on white rice … it’s because this is the only Chinese restaurant on the island, I’ve been able to find a MaPo tofu dish that was downright tasty and not resembling some terrible food excrement.
So you’re on the #foodislandpei … Well the thought is a bit laughable but you’re here and you want a decent MaPo tofu dish. You’re going to probably try #kingsbbqandchinese or #noodlehousepei or #splendidessence Personally, I prefer the Kings BBQ the most, but this whole $2.50 charge for 10 cents worth of rice is ridiculous. This means that a $13.50 entree and a small rice, taxes and tip would be about 21.50$ WTF!!!!!! One would figure that for all the new Chinese immigrants coming to the island, someone would break up the status quo and make reasonably priced Chinese food. It has to get better!
4. Thai Express Charlottetown (You can find this corporate one yourself)
I hate myself for even writing a franchise in this list … but a super spicy Chicken Pad Thai from Thai Express Charlottetown (not Summerside – the food isn’t the same … even though it should be exactly the same) garnished with a fistful of peanuts, 6 pieces of squeezed limes, a spoon of fish sauce and coriander (if you ask for it) hits the spot. I obviously “customize” the shit out of my serving.
Did I mention how much I hate myself for saying I like this “Pad Thai” …? I won’t put a stock picture from their website and I won’t photography myself eating their “Pad Thai” … but it’s pretty damn tasty and it’s also a big portion. They’re definitely the winner of the PEI Pad Thai portion size contest … (like Hunter’s Ale house, just not as shitty)
Others not worthy of positive mention or I have not sampled:
- Lai Thai, Mad Wok etc … you’re not going to find any writing from me about these places because I simply don’t have great things to say about their Pad Thais.
- Mad Wok is a franchise type joint, so you should expect franchise food – but just not as decent as Thai Express Charlottetown!!! (I even hate myself for writing this)
- Lai Thai … I’ve eaten there three times over three years … and I’ve seen no improvement in their food.
- Summer Kitchen hasn’t gotten a visit from me as yet, so I’ll have an opinion when I can sample the fare.
- Spicey Chef (https://www.facebook.com/spiceychefrestaurant/) … I have sampled their Chicken Kadai multiple times (and it is really decent, especially when super spicy) … that being said … I’d have to give up a really Pad Thai to experiment and see if they’re worth my time … I think their prices are a little expensive for a random try.