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Google doodles a tribute to noodles

When rice resources dried up, Thailand found a tasty replacement -- and a new identity.

A noodle-flavored Doodle.

Google has cooked up a slideshow doodle to celebrate a noodle that helped define a nation's new identity while feeding her people.

During World War II, Thailand suffered an acute shortage of rice, a staple for the Thai people until that point. As a substitute, the Thai government promoted consumption of rice noodles, which were cheap, filling and plentiful.

Tapping this age-old recipe gave rise to Pad thai, a sweet and salty stir-fried rice noodle dish popular as both a street food and at casual eateries in Thailand. When mixed with vegetables and shrimp, the egg and tofu dish provided a nutritious, well-balanced meal.

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The dish became an overnight hit and helped promote a change in the country's name. Thai Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram, seeking to change the name of the country from Siam to Thailand, promoted the dish as a symbol of Thai nationalism.

Pad thai was listed near the top of the world's 50 most delicious foods in a 2011 CNN readers poll and has become one of Thailand's national dishes.

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