In the pantheon of global cuisine, Thai food holds a special place in the hearts of many, with its fragrant aromas and intense, bold flavors. Today, we’re going to take a look at what are likely the two most popular Thai noodle dishes, pad see ew vs. pad thai. Both are beloved favorites and staples of Thai cuisine, but what differentiates one from the other? Let’s find out. Let’s dive into a comprehensive comparison, looking at the unique characteristics of each, their respective preparation methods, and what kind of variations you can expect to see, or even create.

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What Is Pad See Ew

In Thai cuisine, countless dishes cater to a range of tastes, and pad see ew is one dish that stands apart from many others. The literal translation is “fried soy sauce”, but pad see ew is an insanely-popular stir-fried noodle dish that’s exploding with flavor and textures.

The dish is most often characterized by the wide, thick rice noodles that are then drenched in a combination of dark and light soy sauces. pad see ew can find a delicate balance between savory and sweet, and is a simply sumptuous dish that typically features crunchy Chinese broccoli, which contrasts nicely with the soft, chewy noodles. There will also usually be a choice of protein, typically chicken, beef, or tofu, stir-fried into the noodles, making it a hearty, filling dish.

Another delicious and enticing trait of pad see ew is the distinct smoky aroma it gets from the wok hay. The wok hay is the scorching heat and oil of the wok the dish is prepared in, it’s considered an important component of the final dish. The smokiness blends with the soy-drenched noodles, creating a unique dining experience.

Different Types of Pad See Ew

Despite the basic ingredients and method of preparation being the same, pad see ew can often present itself in a myriad of ways thanks to the countless regional adaptations and touches of personal flair that are added during cooking. Some versions opt for alternate greens like bok choy, while others introduce additional proteins like shrimp into the recipe. 

For those who like it hot, certain variations turn up the heat a bit by integrating dried chili flakes, or even fresh chilies. Additionally, vegetarians and vegans can enjoy plant-based versions that substitute conventional protein for tofu or tempeh, which showcases the dish’s wonderful versatility. Each preparation of pad see ew has a unique charm, making it able to cater to many potential cases.

How Do You Make Pad See Ew

Making pad see ew at home can be incredibly rewarding, and delicious. The process is relatively straightforward, even for those new in the kitchen. Start by heating the wok and adding a bit of oil, then stir-frying your favorite protein until fully cooked.

Now, throw in some wide rice noodles, and let them cook until they’ve softened and soaked up the oil. Mix light and dark soy sauces, a pinch of sugar, and a drizzle of vinegar, and add over the noodles. Add in the Chinese broccoli and a well-beaten egg, and stir-fry everything until the ingredients are well combined and the sauce has evenly coated the ingredients.

Delicious Pad See Ew Ingredients

The charm of pad see ew is in the simplicity of the ingredients. At its heart are the wide rice noodles, which are the base for the rest of the flavors. The sauce adds complexity with light and dark soy sauce, while the fresh veggies add a refreshing crunch.

Great Pad See Ew Recipes You Should Try

  • Traditional Chicken Pad See Ew: This recipe is a classic, using chicken as the main protein.
  • Spicy Shrimp Pad See Ew: For a seafood twist and added kick, try this version with shrimp but add chilies.
  • Vegan Pad See Ew: Plant-based eaters can relish this delicious rendition that replaces animal protein with tofu.

What Is Pad Thai

As we venture further into the delights of Thai cuisine, we come to pad thai, a dish that is as popular globally as it is in its homeland. Pad thai is a vibrant, stir-fried noodle dish that beautifully embodies the essence of Thai cuisine with its combination of sweet, sour, and salty flavor profiles.

The star ingredient in pad thai is thin rice noodles, stir-fried with a tangy tamarind sauce, eggs, and a protein like shrimp or tofu. Bean sprouts, garlic chives, and crushed peanuts appear regularly, with each adding its layer of flavor and texture to the dish.

The origins of pad thai date back to the middle of the 20th Century, primarily during a push for Thai nationalism, quickly earning a beloved spot in the hearts and minds of locals, and eventually even the world. Today, whether you get it from a bustling street cart in Bangkok or in a top-tier restaurant in NY.

Different Types of Pad Thai

Even with such a standard, a traditional recipe like pad thai, it’s still incredibly well adapted to a range of different interpretations and variations. Some versions may swap out the usual tamarind sauce for a tomato-based sauce or add a unique touch with dried shrimp or pickled radish. For protein in the dish, the most common two options are going to be shrimp and tofu, but it’s not impossible to find chicken or beef options, even those that use mixed seafood.

Vegetarian or even vegan pad thai changes the animal-based proteins, and uses tofu or an array of vegetables, while a spicy version may also include dried or fresh chilies. No matter what your tastes are, from traditional to contemporary, there’s a version of pad thai that can make you smile.

How Do You Make Pad Thai

Making pad thai at home can be a fun and exciting culinary journey. Start by soaking thin rice noodles in warm water until they just start to soften. Then, in a separate bowl, combine the tamarind paste, fish sauce, and sugar to create the distinctive pad Thai sauce.

Heat the wok over medium heat, then add oil and stir-fry your protein of choice. Add in the beaten eggs and scramble them lightly, then toss in your softened and drained noodles, and pour your pad Thai sauce over the concoction. Stir-fry the noodles until they have been coated evenly in the sauce.

Finally, stir in the bean sprouts and garlic chives. After everything’s been well combined, transfer your pad thai to a serving dish. Garnish with crushed peanuts and a wedge of lime, and your homemade pad Thai is ready!

Delicious Pad Thai Ingredients

Pad Thai’s unique blend of flavors comes from a diverse set of ingredients. Central to the dish are extremely thin rice noodles, and a tamarind-based sauce to give it its trademark tangy flavor. The sauce is typically made by combining tamarind paste, fish sauce, and sugar for an incredibly popular sour, salty, and sweet combination.

When choosing protein, common choices are going to be either shrimp, fish, or tofu. The protein is meant to add a hearty element, while garlic chives and bean sprouts bring a refreshing crunch to the dish. A squeeze of lime gives the dish a burst of fresh citrus. In most executions there will also be a topping of crushed peanuts.

Great Pad Thai Recipes You Should Try

  • Traditional Shrimp Pad Thai: This classic recipe features shrimp as the star protein.
  • Chicken Pad Thai: A tasty alternative for those who prefer poultry.
  • Vegan Pad Thai: A plant-based delight, this recipe swaps out animal-based ingredients for vegan-friendly alternatives.

Wrapping Up: What are the key differences between Pad See Ew vs Pad Thai?

While both pad see ew and pad thai are stir-fried noodle dishes that are famous in Thai cuisine, the biggest differences lie in the core flavors and the essential ingredients. 

Pad see ew is characterized by wide rice noodles and a savory-sweet sauce made with soy sauce, and is commonly served with Chinese broccoli and a protein selection. 

Pad thai, on the other hand, features thin rice noodles and a tangy, tamarind-based sauce. It’s typically served with bean sprouts, peanuts, and proteins like shrimp or tofu. 

Both dishes offer a unique, delicious experience, showcasing a bit of the diversity of Thai cuisine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I make pad see ew and pad Thai vegetarian or vegan?

Absolutely! For a vegetarian alternative, you can replace the fish sauce with soy sauce, and substitute another animal-free protein. Common vegan & vegetarian alternatives include seitan and tofu.

Q2: Which is spicier, pad see ew or pad thai?

Neither dish is traditionally spicy, however, modifications can be made to both dishes to include heat. That said, when ordering it in a restaurant, pad thai is typically served with a side of dried chili flakes or even fresh chiles, both of which will make the dish dramatically spicier if added.

Q3: Can pad see ew and pad thai be made gluten-free?

Yes, both pad see ew and pad thai can be made gluten-free. You will need to ensure the soy sauce is gluten-free, and you will need to source gluten-free rice noodles, as well as make sure all other ingredients have no glutenous components. If gluten-free rice noodles cannot be found, other gluten-free noodles can be used in a pinch.

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pad thai vs pad see ew

By: drizzlemeskinny
pad thai in black dish next to pad see ew in red dish


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