Drunken Noodles vs. Pad See Ew: Unraveling the Delicious Differences

Drunken Noodles vs. Pad See Ew: Exploring the differences

If you’re a fan of Thai cuisine, you’ve probably come across Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew on a menu. These two popular dishes may seem similar at first glance, but they have distinct differences in taste, ingredients, and overall flavor profiles. In this article, we’ll delve into the nuances of Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew, highlighting their unique characteristics and helping you decide which one to try next time you’re craving Thai food.

1. What are drunken noodles?

Drunken Noodles, also known as Pad Kee Mao, are a delicious blend of sweet and spicy flavors. These noodles got their name because they were traditionally served as street food to people who had spent the night partying and were in need of a satisfying meal.
The dish consists of a combination of vegetables, protein (such as chicken, beef, seafood, or pork), and a sticky garlic sauce made from oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Drunken Noodles can be garnished with onions, Thai basil, and chopped chilies for an extra kick of heat. The overall taste is bold and flavorful, with a pronounced spicy element.

2. What is Pad See Ew?

Pad See Ew is another popular Thai dish known for its rich flavor and distinctive aroma. Unlike Drunken Noodles, Pad See Ew is not spicy, but offers a punch of flavor that is sure to please your taste buds.
This dish features flat and wide noodles that give it a chewy texture. The sauce is a combination of soy sauce and molasses, resulting in a complex and slightly sweet flavor. Chinese broccoli and mushrooms are often added to add freshness and substance to the dish. Scrambled eggs are often added to further enhance the flavor profile.

3. Differences in Ingredients

While both Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew share some common ingredients, they also have notable variations that contribute to their distinct flavors.

Drunken Noodles ingredients:

– Green garlic
– Fresh chili
– Oyster Sauce
– Fish Sauce
– Soy Sauce
– Fresh Peppercorn
– Thai basil
These ingredients release bold flavors when cooked in oil and combined with the rest of the dish. Drunken Noodles have a savory, spicy profile that sets them apart.

Pad See new ingredients:

– Onion
– Sugar Molasses
– Soy Sauce
– Chinese Broccoli
– Mushrooms
– Eggs
The sauce for Pad See Ew is typically made with garlic, molasses, and soy sauce, offering a milder and sweeter flavor compared to Drunken Noodles. Chinese broccoli and mushrooms add freshness and depth to the dish, while scrambled eggs add additional flavor.

4. Differences in appearance

When it comes to appearance, Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew have distinct characteristics that make them easily recognizable.
Drunken Noodles have a dark color due to the combination of various ingredients, including vegetables and proteins. Pad See Ew, on the other hand, features wide, lighter-colored noodles and is often served with scrambled eggs. The differences in appearance allow you to distinguish between the two dishes at a glance.

5. Differences in taste

Taste is a crucial factor when exploring new dishes, and Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew offer unique taste experiences.
Drunken Noodles have a strong, spicy and fragrant flavor. The blend of sauces, along with the use of chilies and Thai basil, creates a vibrant and flavorful dish. The choice of protein and vegetables can further enhance the flavor.
In contrast, Pad See Ew offers a milder, sweeter flavor profile with no spice. The Chinese broccoli and mushrooms contribute a fresh and earthy flavor, while the soy sauce helps balance the sweetness. Pad See Ew is a great option for those who prefer a less intense flavor experience.

6. Differences in sauce

The sauces used in Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew play a significant role in shaping their distinct flavors.
Drunken Noodles rely on a savory sauce made primarily from oyster sauce. Soy sauce and fish sauce are often added to enhance the flavor and aroma. The resulting sauce is strong and fragrant, with a dark appearance.
On the other hand, Pad See Ew’s sauce consists of soy sauce, which may be combined with molasses or sweet soy sauce to achieve a sweeter flavor profile. This simpler sauce is often accented with garlic for a spicy yet mild taste.

7. Similarities Between Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew

While Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew have their own characteristics, they also share some similarities:

  • Both are popular Thai noodle dishes.
  • Vegetables are often part of the recipe.
  • Both can be customized with different protein options, such as chicken, beef, seafood, or pork.
  • They are typically served as a main course and can be enjoyed with additional garnishes such as onions and herbs.


In conclusion, Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew are two delicious Thai noodle dishes with contrasting flavors and characteristics. Drunken Noodles offers a spicy and robust taste, while Pad See Ew offers a milder and sweeter experience. The choice between the two ultimately depends on your preference for spiciness and intensity of flavor. Whether you’re looking for a bold and fiery dish or a mellow and sweet one, both Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew are sure to satisfy your Thai food cravings. Next time you visit a Thai restaurant, try one of these flavorful delights and embark on a culinary adventure through the vibrant world of Thai cuisine.


1. What is the main difference between Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew?

The main difference is the flavour profile. Drunken Noodles has a spicy taste while Pad See Ew is sweeter and milder in comparison.

2. Can I customise the protein in both dishes?

Yes, both Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew can be customised with your choice of protein such as chicken, beef, seafood or pork.

3. Are Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew gluten free?

This depends on the specific ingredients used in the recipes. Traditional versions of both dishes may contain gluten due to soy sauce and certain noodles. However, gluten-free alternatives can be used to make these dishes suitable for people with gluten sensitivities or dietary restrictions.

4. Which dish is spicier, Drunken Noodles or Pad See Ew?

Drunken Noodles is hotter compared to Pad See Ew. The use of fresh chilli and peppercorns in Drunken Noodles contributes to its fiery flavour, while Pad See Ew tends to have a milder taste.

5. Are there vegetarian or vegan versions of Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew?

Yes, both dishes can be made vegetarian or vegan by omitting the meat and using plant-based protein alternatives such as tofu or tempeh. They can also be made vegan by using vegetable stock instead of fish sauce or oyster sauce.

6. Can I find drunken noodles and pad see ew in most Thai restaurants?

Yes, Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew are popular Thai dishes and are commonly found on the menus of Thai restaurants worldwide. However, specific variations and availability may vary from restaurant to restaurant.