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Pad See Ew Vs Drunken Noodles: Key Differences in Taste and Cooking (2024)

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Is Pad See Ew the same as Drunken NoodlesThe aromatic scent of sizzling noodles and pungent spices beckons your senses.

Have you felt the fiery kiss of drunken noodles or the soothing caress of pad see ew?

Though kindred in appearance, subtle differences set their flavors worlds apart—one impassioned, the other demure.

As you twirl these rice ribbons round your fork, know that centuries of Thai culinary heritage envelop you.

Now taste, and discover which noodles your palate favors in this battle between pad see ew and drunken noodles.

Key Takeaways

  • Pad See Ew uses soy sauce and oyster sauce for a more balanced, mellow flavor, while Drunken Noodles relies on chili peppers, garlic, and Thai basil for an intense, spicy flavor.
  • Pad See Ew features eggs and Chinese broccoli, giving it a more subtle flavor profile. Drunken Noodles packs in more vegetables and herbs like Thai basil for dramatic, complex flavors.
  • Pad See Ew is a little leaner and lower in calories at 255 calories per cup. Drunken Noodles is heartier at 300 calories per cup.
  • Both dishes start with rice noodles and aromatics like garlic, differing in Pad See Ew’s use of oyster sauce and eggs compared to Drunken Noodles’ chili peppers and Thai basil.

Key Differences

Key Differences
The main contrasts between Pad See Ew and Drunken Noodles lie in their ingredient profiles and resulting flavors.

As a noodle food historian and Thai cuisine chef, I’ve found Pad See Ew relies on soy sauce, oyster sauce, eggs, and Chinese broccoli for its more mellow salty-sweetness.

Drunken Noodles derives its fiery personality from chili peppers, garlic, Thai basil, and various vegetables in the mix.

While both dishes share those glorious wide rice noodles, their flavor profiles stand in sharp Culinary Contrasts.

In the Thai Noodle Taste Test Showdown, Pad See Ew’s more balanced savor makes it an easier everyday option, while Drunken Noodles brings on the drama with its Flavor Face-Off of spice, herbs, and umami.

These noodle Cooking Showdowns reveal profiles as different as night and day.

Flavor Profiles Compared

Flavor Profiles Compared
Pad See Ew has a more balanced sweet and salty flavor profile, while Drunken Noodles pack a spicier, intensified umami punch.

Pad See Ew showcases the subtle interplay of soy sauce and oyster sauce, accented by eggs and Chinese broccoli.

Drunken Noodles spotlight chili heat and pungent garlic, lifted by Thai basil’s licorice note.

The former’s a study in harmony; the latter, a raucous dance.

Both celebrate noodles’ supple texture, but Drunken Noodles courts you with its bold flavors.

Health Factor

Health Factor
As we stir and sauté our way to noodle nirvana, let’s consider the health factor.

Both pad see ew and drunken noodles offer hearty enjoyment, but what about calories and nutrition?

Drunken noodles pack more punch at 300 calories per cup – the zesty chiles and sweet basil bring big, bold flavors.

Pad see ew is milder at just 255 calories; its sauce clings deliciously, but less oil makes it leaner.

For lighter options, use chicken instead of pork, add veggies, and skip heavy sauces.

The noodles themselves are pure carbs, so portion is key.

But this is comfort food, meant to nourish body and soul.

With mindful additions and swaps, both dishes can fit into healthy lifestyles.

Now, where’s my wok? These noodles won’t stir fry themselves!

Common Ingredients

Common Ingredients
Compare the common ingredients you’d find in Pad See Ew and Drunken Noodles next.

Both dishes rely on:

  • Rice noodles as the carb base
  • Aromatics like garlic and onion
  • A protein like chicken, pork, or tofu
  • A sauce that likely contains:
    • Soy sauce for saltiness
    • Oyster sauce for savory umami
    • Fish sauce for extra fermented flavors
    • Sugar to balance acidity

The ingredients may seem simple, but it’s the technique and balancing of flavors that makes these noodle dishes special.

Play with the components to suit your tastes.

Cooking Methods

Cooking Methods
Both dishes rely on stir-frying for quick cooking while bringing out flavors.

However, Drunken Noodles requires higher heat to bloom spices and sear proteins.

When stir-frying Pad See Ew, use a wok to toss Chinese broccoli and noodles in a sweet soy sauce.

Balance the flavor with salt, sugar, and scrambled egg.

For Drunken Noodles, crank up the heat to char garlic, chilies, and onion before adding rice noodles.

Toss noodles with a salty-sweet sauce spiked with fish sauce.

Finish by wilting holy basil leaves to impart herbal flavor without overcooking.

Either way, wok techniques like tossing and searing create complex flavor in these noodle dishes.

Other Popular Thai Noodles
Beyond the key dishes we’ve discussed, Thailand offers other noodle specialties worth trying:

Pad Thai leads the pack with its trademark sweet and nutty sauce coating chewy rice noodles, often topped with peanuts and lime.

For those craving greens, Thai Basil Noodles stir-fry flat rice noodles with chili, garlic, vegetables, and the licorice-like Thai basil.

Pad Thai

One of the other popular Thai noodles you’ll commonly see on menus is Pad Thai, with its distinct sweet and nutty flavor profile from its key ingredients like tamarind paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, and preserved radish.

As a Pad See Ew alternative, Pad Thai offers a lighter, tangier noodle dish with a scrambled egg garnish that contributes an exceptionally smooth texture.

Thai Basil Noodles

Discover another popular Thai noodle dish: Thai basil noodles.

Its distinct anise-flavored basil and spicy, garlic-infused sauce make it a favorite.

The three main Thai basil varieties used are holy basil, lemon basil, and Thai sweet basil, each lending its own unique flavor profile.

Quick-cooking ingredients like snow peas and baby corn make great additions.

Modifying the sauce or noodle type allows you to put your own creative spin on this versatile dish.

Getting the Rice Noodles Right

Getting the Rice Noodles Right
Your rice noodles’ texture impacts both dishes, so soak flat rice sticks overnight or boil fresh noodles briefly for the perfect chewy yet tender bite.

To get the ideal texture, follow these rice noodle tips:

  • Dried: Soak in warm water for 1+ hours until pliable but still chewy.
  • Fresh: Blanch in boiling water for 15-30 seconds until softened but not fully cooked.

Proper soaking or blanching ensures the noodles reach the desired doneness during stir-frying without overcooking into a mushy mess. With the right prep, you’ll achieve tender interiors with slightly chewy exteriors that can stand up to the complex flavors in pad see ew and drunken noodles.

Adding Thai Basil

Adding Thai Basil
You’re going to want to add the Thai basil at the very end of cooking the drunken noodles.

This preserves the delicate flavor and texture that makes this herb so integral to Thai cuisine.

The varieties of Thai basil most used in drunken noodles are Siam Queen and Horapha, which have that distinct licorice-like flavor.

Adding the Thai basil at the end really enhances the robust, complex flavor you expect from drunken noodles.

Beyond this dish, Thai basil has many culinary uses like green and red curries, chicken basil stir fries, and can even be used in cocktails.

If you can’t find Thai basil, opt for regular sweet basil, lemon basil, or holy basil as substitutes in your drunken noodles.

Step-By-Step Recipe

Step-By-Step Recipe
Soak the wide rice noodles in hot water until soft.

In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over high heat.

Once the oil is shimmering, add the garlic and Thai chilies, cooking for just 10 seconds.

Quickly follow with the onion, stir-frying for a minute before adding in your protein and a splash of fish sauce.

Allow the protein to cook through before adding the noodles, green onion, and prepared sauce.

Reduce heat and continue stir-frying for a final minute or so to evenly coat the noodles and complete the dish.

The key is to not overcook the noodles, so they maintain that lovely springy texture against the rich, savory sauce.

Which One is for You?

Which One is for You
Rice noodles:


  • Rinse the noodles thoroughly under cold water.
  • Soak the noodles in warm water for 10-15 minutes or until they are softened.
  • Drain the noodles and rinse them again.


  • Rice noodles have a soft and chewy texture.
  • They are also very slippery, so they are often used in stir-fries and other dishes where they can be easily coated with sauce.

Cooking time:

  • Fresh rice noodles typically take 3-5 minutes to cook.
  • Dried rice noodles typically take 10-15 minutes to cook.


  • There are many different brands of rice noodles available.
  • Some popular brands include:
    • Lotus Foods
    • Thai Kitchen
    • Aroy-D

Fresh vs. dried:

  • Fresh rice noodles are more delicate than dried rice noodles.
  • They also have a shorter shelf life.
  • Dried rice noodles are more convenient to store and have a longer shelf life.


  • Rice noodles come in a variety of widths.
  • The most common widths are:
    • Thin
    • Medium
    • Wide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Pad See Ew and Drunken Noodles gluten-free?

You’re in luck! Both Pad See Ew and Drunken Noodles are naturally gluten-free since they’re made with rice noodles.

Just be sure to use wheat-free soy sauce and oyster sauce when making these delicious Thai noodle dishes.

What proteins go well with Pad See Ew and Drunken Noodles?

You’ll relish pairing pork, chicken, beef, or shrimp with Pad See Ew’s delicate soy sauce notes.

For Drunken Noodles, savor spicy ground pork or chicken thigh mingling with the basil’s perfume and chili’s kiss.

What are good vegetarian or vegan substitutes for the proteins in Pad See Ew and Drunken Noodles?

Try tofu, seitan, or tempeh for protein.

Mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, bell peppers, green beans, zucchini, and snap peas make delicious veggie additions.

Marinate or sauté vegetables in a flavorful sauce for best results.

Do you need a wok to make Pad See Ew and Drunken Noodles?

You don’t need a wok to make Pad See Ew or Drunken Noodles.

A large skillet or sauté pan works just fine.

The key is high heat to get that classic Thai noodle texture.

What drinks pair well with Pad See Ew and Drunken Noodles?

Try tea or coffee with Pad See Ew’s sweeter profile.

Go for beer, wine, or cocktails with Drunken Noodles’ spice.

Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder when pairing drinks with these noodles.


In closing, pad see ew and drunken noodles each tantalize taste buds in their own way.

Whether you crave the sweet soy sauce kiss of the former or the spicy embrace of the latter, rest assured centuries of Thai culinary mastery envelop you with each noodle-twirled bite.

Let your palate be the judge between these kindred noodles.

Though different in flavor, both provide a vibrant Thai dining experience you won’t soon forget.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.