I wish I had bought a wok in Thailand. I just brought back a couple of cookbooks and aprons. I don't think I envisioned myself cooking pad thai at that time, and now, here I am in Portland, craving the stuff. The real deal though - what you can buy in alleys in Chiang Mai for less than a dollar, cooked with egg and garnished with peanuts and a squeeze of lime. It's that sour, salty, sweet, savory, oily balance that takes place as a result of the unification of all of those flavors. There was a place in Seattle I used to go to in college that topped it with a fried egg. That was delicious. At the time that seemed authentic to me, but now, who knows. I can't find any that stack up here, so sometime soon, I'll make some myself with the recipe from David Thompson's six pound tome, "Thai Street Food."
I was immensely intimidated by the heft of the book, as well as by its expert author, but I cooked his crab fried rice and it turned out perfectly, with local dungeness from Linda Brand Crab at the Portland Farmers Market. I could've used a wok for that.