During high school, my sister Holly chose to ditch the trappings of senior year—prom, football games, college-prep drama—and instead crossed half way across the globe on a school exchange program to a very different place than the white-bread town we grew up in. A place where the locals would unabashedly touch the light, blonde hairs on her suntanned arms and where she towered over the tallest of the adult men.

When her year of schooling was up and it was time for her to come home, my mom, dad and I were lucky enough to take a month long trip to visit her temporary home and host family.

And that is where my love for Thai food and its culture was born.

FoodieCrush Magazine Pad Thaiphoto > foodiecrush

While living in Los Angeles, there were a few note-worthy Thai restaurants like my favorite —right next door to my offices on Larchmont Blvd. that served the BEST spicy garlic tofu EVER—but there were also tons of delicious Thai restaurants on nearly every corner. It was way too easy to order delivery at least once a week thanks to the Thai menus we’d find strapped to the front door or slyly slipped under the weathered welcome mat. And it was cheap, cheap, cheap. And good, good, good.

But where we live now we have a far more limited supply of Thai joints, and they’re more fancy than funky.

So when my husband found a link on his Facebook page from his friend Tom for Vegan Metal Chef’s Pad Thai recipe, we were inspired. And we laughed. And we were totally impressed by his original take on food blogging and using his sincere—yes, sincere—approach to promote veganism. And of course the awesomeness of his swarthy knife.

If you’re looking for a few options that aren’t vegan, check out the list of spicy coolio noodle recipes below.

FoodieCrush Magazine Koko Cooks Pad Thaiphoto > Koko Cooks

So we were in the mood for Pad Thai thanks to above-said Vegan Metal Chef, but most recipes call for tamarind, which we had none of. After doing some searching on the www., we found Koko Cooks’ recipe for Pad Thai and thanks to Suzanne, we didn’t miss the tamarind at all. We did add some fried tofu and sliced chili peppers, just cause we could.

FoodieCrush Magazine Savory Sweet Life Pad Thaiphoto > Savory Sweet Life

Averting the amateurish and probably American-inspired move of using ketchup in pad thai recipes, Alice’s recipe for Savory Sweet Life ‘s Pad Thai shares the secret of adding just a couple of tablespoons of sauce at a time to avoid a gloppy mess of rice noodles.

FoodieCrush Magazine Jasmine Tea Pad Thaiphoto > Yogi Studio/Jasmine Tea

Jasmine’s recipe for Pad Thai on Jasmine Tea uses a little wider noodle and her recipe for sweet mango smoothie is a nice foil to the spicey hits of the pad thai.

FoodieCrush magazine Use Real Butter Pim's Pad Thaiphoto > Use Real Butter

Jen’s version of Pim’s Pad Thai makes for super easy assembly thanks to her step by step photos on Use Real Butter, making the stir-fry part of the recipe (in a frying pan instead of a wok) super simple to put together.

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