Soak the rice noodles in cold water at least two hours before cooking. Drain
In a large wok, heat oil and stir-fry garlic for 30 seconds. Add shrimp and other meat if used.
Add the noodles, and stir-fry until al dente. Add sauce ingredients, cook to allow most of this to be absorbed (2 minutes or so).
Spread the noodles, etc. Out to the sides, and add eggs. Some will crack the eggs directly into the wok, others will pre-scramble. If cracked into the pan, start stirring them up when partially cooked, so you get 'streaky' yellow and white eggs. As they cook, fold the noodle mixture back in.
Add 1/2 the bean sprouts, peanuts, red pepper, folded into the mixture.
Serve hot, garnished with the rest of the bean sprouts, chopped cabbage, cilantro. Serve with lime wedges to be squeezed into the noodles.
In my house, we have doctored this with Thai hot chile sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or sate-style peanut sauce. It takes to any of these very well, depending on your tastes.