Is pad Thai an authentically Thai dish? (And, I'm sorry--I know the word "authentic" is kind of a hot button word on this board, but I'm not sure how else to phrase my question)...The reason I ask is I’ve seen several disparaging comments over the years here on Chowhound along the lines of "That restaurant is just for the pad Thai crowd" in various threads where people are debating the authenticity of various Thai restaurants.
Maybe I have selective memory, but I swear I’ve seen pad Thai on the menu of every Thai restaurant I’ve been to, I think, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. I think I’ve seen a recipe for pad Thai in pad in every Thai recipe book I’ve ever consulted.
I’ve sort of come to the conclusion over the years that pad Thai is a kind of Thai comfort food, maybe like chili might be in the U.S., where everyone’s mom and grandma has a recipe of her own for it and the recipe varies from region to region and even house to house. Is this the case or is it “tourist” fare only?