Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Newspaper sub-editor likes pizza.

This story from yesterday's paper is headlined: Thai tops pizza as fattiest takeaway.

As a generalisation, that takes some beating.

So let's go along with it and generalise. Generally, Thai food is packed with vitamin-dense vegetables, herbs and spices. Generally, in terms of mass sales at major pizza outlets, pizza is packed with ham that was scraped off the abattoir floor, compacted and then shot out of a mulching machine. Generally, Thai food is fiery and flavourful and is accompanied with and balanced by healthy, non-fat steamed rice. Generally, pizza's key flavour drivers are fat-dense ingredients such as cheese, and it is accompanied by z-grade television and beer. Generally, Thai food is served in moderation. Generally, pizza comes in a box the size of your DVD player, but squarer.

So how do we arrive at Thai tops pizza as fattiest takeaway? By extrapolating the contents of one Thai dish - Pad Thai - across the whole cuisine. The only way pizza - generally speaking - is healthier than Thai is if you eat the box and give the contents to the dog. (And since pizza is accompanied by z-grade television and beer-drinking, I'm sure it has happened and no-one has noticed except the dog.)

But no, consumer group Choice is sure Thai food is out to kill us:

"Pad Thai, which is probably one of Australia's favourite takeaway meals, tops the list of all the Thai dishes both because of the fat content - it's a noodle dish so it's energy dense - and also the sodium involved," Choice spokeswoman Elise Davidson said.
Ignoring the 'fat content/noodle dish/energy dense non sequitur, is Pad Thai really 'one of Australia's favourite takeaways? Maybe in Elise's neighbourhood. But let's look at some Australia-wide facts. According to IBISWorld, which provides high-quality industry market research analysis and reports to people who want facts instead of spin or some spokesperson's jaundiced opinion, Australia's top five takeaway food companies are (1) McDonald's; (2) Yum! Foods Asutralia (KFC, Pizza Hut, etc); (3) Competitive Foods Australia (Hungry Jack's, Domino's Pizza, Fasta Pasta, etc; (4) Quick Service Restaurants Holdings Pty Limited (Red Rooster, Chicken Treat, Oporto, etc) and (5) Domino's Pizza Enterprises (the part not owned by Jack Cowin of Competitive Foods above).

Not a whole lot of Pad Thai being sent out by that lot.


jo said...

I'd love to know why they say that becauase when I make it it's tamarind, fish sauce (Nam pla), palm sugar (not a lot),noodles, tofu, some scallion, dried shrimp, maybe some chicken or shrimp and then it's cooked in lo, maybe 1TBS rape seed oil or peanut oil. Please, tell me why pad thai is comsidered fat filled? No coconut milk, it's not deep fried. What are they on about?

neil said...

Love it when you skewer them like that. Seems to me Choice will say whatever it takes to get media attention.

S'pose you could take 1,2,3,4and 5 straight to the toilet and flush it, that way you'd cut out the middle man.

Julie said...

And they throw in the sodium content. I'm really tired of hearing about my sodium intake. If you're otherwise healthy (particularly your kidneys) your sodium intake doesn't matter a whole heck of a lot. The one statistic I read was that 8% of the population is affected by sodium intake. That means THE OTHER 92% OF US ARE NOT!

Plus I'm still trying to figure out how Pad Thai is high fat, because I know what's in it, and it looks like a whole lotta veggies to me!

kitchen hand said...

No idea where they were coming from, Jo.

Neil you would think Choice would be deconstructing the food giants like a good little left-leaning body. No idea what their intention was.

Julie, these obsessions seem to wax and wane in the media.