I grew up on the mid-Atlantic coast in the 70’s, where Memorial Day meant slathering yourself in baby oil to fry up your first sunburn of the year.  The default location was either your backyard or Hoopes Resevoir, but if you were lucky enough to catch a ride down Route 13, in an hour and a half you could be on Atlantic sand. The beach town of Rehoboth is one in a long string of boardwalk towns from Myrtle Beach to Coney Island and for my high school tribe, it was the place to be.   Back then it was the Ferris wheel, Pac Man, saltwater taffy, pizza, skeeter shoot and French fries.  Memorial Day cuisinet was junk food all the way as we baked our new summer skin salt crusted and sandy … we had never heard the words teenage obesity and spf.  It was heaven.

Since moving to Port Angeles, my family and I encountered a new kind of Memorial Day heaven at the Juan de Fuca festival. Four days of fabulous music, face painting, socializing, tumblers and jugglers, the craft fair … and yes, admittedly we especially  love the food trucks!  It’s like a no-host pot-luck where you can catch-up with old friends, sway to the belly dancing music, smile hard and eat on a paper plate in the street.  In particular, we always go for the Thai Fried Rice.

I didn’t grow up with Asian flavors … spaghetti was the most ethnic dish my daughter of the mayflower mother knew how to prepare.  I don’t have much intuition when it comes to lemon grass and galangal.  I have tried my hand at some authentic thai dishes, but honestly, it just never seems right.

All that changed a few years ago when an exchange student from Thailand came to live with us for a year.   Nutcha Nakyai loved brownies and we loved his after school rendition of Thai fried rice … remarkably similar to food truck fare at the JFFA.  I’ll tell you the secret ingredient direct from Nutcha’s home in Bangkok, the secret ingredient which he swears is essential to real thai teen cuisine is …. Ketchup!

Thai Fried Noodles (or Rice) .. teenager style

Prep vegetables ahead of time so everything is ready to go when you need it.

2 Tbs vegetable oil. (I like to use 1 of these tablespoons as sesame oil sesame oil)

Red pepper flakes as desired

2-3 cloves garlic minced or smashed

½ onion sliced into rings

2 cups sliced vegetables: locally available for Memorial Day: spinach, leeks, broccoli

2 cups cooked noodles or rice

2 Tbs. ketchup

1 Tbs. fish sauce

1-2 Tbs. soy sauce or oyster sauce

1 egg

Heat oil in a heavy wok or cast iron fry pan.  Add garlic and onion and sauté until translucent.  Add rest of vegetables and cook on high heat briefly.  Add ketchup, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, soy sauce or oyster sauce.  Toss until evenly coated.  Add cooked rice or noodles and continue to stir fry, tossing in the pan until everything is evenly mixed. Clear a space on the bottom of the pan, add a little oil into the cleared spot if needed. When oil is hot, crack the egg onto the pan and scramble quickly.  Immediately toss the egg around with the rest of the veggies and noodles.

Voila, there you have it!