Drunken Noodles Vs Pad See Ew: Thai Noodle Showdown

What are the differences between Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew? The main difference is that Drunken Noodles has some spice, while Pad See Ew has a sweeter taste. There are also some differences in the components used, which alter the taste of the meal.

If you’re a Thai food fan, you may have seen Drunken Noodles or Pad See Ew before. However, you might not have had them before.

The two Drunken Noodles (also called Pad Kee Mao) and Pad See Ew are delicious Thai food items that might look similar at first glance, but they’re pretty different in flavor!

Check out the difference between Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew and Pad See Ew to find out what they have in common and discover the best Thai food!

Key Overview

  • Drunken Noodles blend spicy and sweet flavors with a spicy garlic sauce and a choice of protein and vegetables.
  • Pad See Ew is a popular Thai dish with broad, flat noodles, soy sauce and molasses sauce, Chinese broccoli, and scrambled eggs.
  • Both dishes have similar basic ingredients, such as garlic and soy sauce, but differ in the sauces used and the type of noodles and vegetables.
  • Drunken Noodles have a stronger, spicier flavor with the addition of a mix of sauces and chilies, while Pad See Ew is milder and sweeter.
  • Both dishes are stir-fried noodles with a selection of protein and vegetables and are popular in Thai eateries and street food.

Drunken Noodles Vs Pad See Ew: What’s The Difference?

After we’ve learned some more details about the primary ingredients in each dish, let’s look at the areas in which they differ.

 Drunken NoodlesPad See Ew
IngredientsGarlic, fresh chili, oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauceMolasses, soy sauce, Chinese broccoli, mushrooms, egg
AppearanceDarker color, vegetables, proteinLarge noodles, scrambled eggs, and wide noodles
TasteStronger flavor, spicy, fragrantSweet, mild, and mild No spice
SauceFresh, bold, savory, and spicySweet and spicy Mild and sweet

What Are Drunken Noodles?

Drunken noodles
Drunken noodles. Credit: Simplyleb.com

Drunken Noodles is also known as Pad Kee Mao, which refers to (you probably guessed that) Drunken Noodles.

This dish of noodles is a delightful blend of spicy and sweet and is a wonderful combination of flavors!

Drunken Noodles is derived from being a well-known dish served as street food for those who’ve spent the night drinking and need food to eat on their way back.

Drunken Noodles are made from a combination of vegetables and the chosen protein, along with the spicy garlic sauce composed of oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce.

The dish can be enjoyed with beef, chicken or seafood, or pork as a source of protein or simply with a mix consisting of veggies.

You can also top Drunken Noodles with some onions, Thai basil, and perhaps some crushed chilies for those who prefer a hot flavor!

Due to the number of spices in the Drunken Noodles, it does not contain too much sweetness.

What Is Pad See Ew?

Pad See Ew. Credit: Delishly.com
Pad See Ew. Credit: Delishly.com

Pad See Ew, also known as Pad Thai, is a very popular Thai dish packed with aroma and flavor. It’s not spicy; however, it packs an intense flavor that will surely delight you.

The Pad See Ew is made from broad and flat noodles, which gives the dish a soft texture.

Soy sauce and molasses help create a rich sauce, while mushroom and Chinese broccoli can add freshness and substance to the dish.

In most cases, Pad See Ew will be finished with a few scrambled eggs. It’s darker in color and is balanced between sweet and delicious due to the soy sauce and molasses.


Ingredients are the key to an item, but two dishes with similar ingredients may taste very different also!

Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew may be made using different protein and noodles; however, the basic ingredient of each one is identical.

Drunken Noodles are prepared with fresh chili, garlic oyster sauce, fish sauce, fresh peppercorn, and Thai basil. These ingredients produce a distinctive flavor when cooked in oil before adding to the other ingredients.

On the other hand, the sauce used for Pad See Ew is made using an amalgam of molasses, garlic, and soy sauce. The dish uses Chinese mushrooms and broccoli as the base. Adding something like scrambled eggs provides an additional flavor and taste.


While both are noodles, they still have specific appearances, so it should not be difficult to distinguish them quickly.

First, Drunken Noodles is made up of various ingredients, like proteins and vegetables, and it’s a pretty dark-colored food.

On the other hand, Pad See Ew has large, lighter-colored noodles and the inclusion of egg scrambles.


If you are eating a meal that is new, tasting is what will be the most important factor! Although both are composed of noodles and share some of the same elements, Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew are distinct tastes that can be easily enjoyed.

What is the flavor of Drunken Noodles? Drunken Noodles are much more flavorful and have a stronger flavor than Pad See Ew. The addition of a mix of sauces and chilies, as well as Thai basil, makes the dish more fragrant and flavorful. The addition of protein and vegetables will alter the flavor.

What is the flavor of Pad See Ew? Pad See Ew can be described as a milder, more sweet-tasting dish with no spice. The Chinese mushrooms and broccoli add an earthy, fresh taste to the noodles, while the soy sauce is a great way to counterbalance the sweetness.


We’ve reviewed the ingredients that go into each dish. However, the sauces used for both dishes require particular attention.

The sauce used to make Drunken Noodles is made primarily using oyster sauce. However, it could also include Soy Sauce and Fish sauce to increase the flavor and aroma. It’s a flavorful sauce that has a rather dark appearance.

Pad See Ew is made from Soy Sauce, which can be paired with Molasses and sweet, sweet soy sauce to give the dish a sweeter taste.

The simple sauce is often enhanced by garlic. It is delicious and flavorful yet mild enough for those looking to taste a simpler flavor.

What Are The Similarities Between Drunken Noodles And Pad See Ew?

While understanding the difference between Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew may be just one aspect of the story, It is helpful to understand the commonalities!

The most significant difference between Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew is that they’re both stir-fried noodles, usually served with protein and vegetables.

The kinds of noodles used in each sauce may differ, but they’re generally identical. Both sauces include garlic and soy sauce; however, the other ingredients differ.

But both come with a selected protein that includes chicken, beef, pork, or seafood and a selection of vegetables.

There are both Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew in Thai eateries, restaurants that take orders, or even street food since they’re both extremely popular food items.

Should I Try Drunken Noodles Or Pad See Ew?

If you’re still unsure which stir-fried noodle dish to make, let’s dive in and see if you like the sound of it!

If you’re a lover of spicy food or noodle dishes with a thick delicious sauce, Drunken Noodles is your best option. You can pick the protein you want to eat with it and enjoy the heat of the fresh chilies that are added to it.

Check out Nagi’s thai drunken noodle recipe for a fast and easy way to make this delicious Thai noodle dish.

Pad See Ew will be a better choice if you’re not in the mood for heat or excessive spices. It has a milder and sweeter taste than Drunken Noodles and has no heat. However, this doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty and delicious.

It is known that Pad See Ew noodles are usually thicker and chewier than Drunken Noodles. It could be something you like. Be aware of the fact that Pad See Ew also contains scrambled eggs. It could be something you’re interested in or don’t!

NY Times have featured a Pad See Ew recipe that is very popular and only takes one hour to prepare!


What kinds of noodles are used to make Drunken noodles?

Drunken Noodles could be prepared using any kind of noodle you like; however, large rice noodles are the most popular type of noodle used for making Drunken Noodles. They hold the sauce well and will fill you up well.

Is Pad See Ew or Drunken Noodles healthier?

Pad See Ew can be thought to be a little healthier in comparison to Drunken Noodles, as it has fewer calories. On average, a portion from Pad See Ew has 250 calories, while Drunken Noodles contain approximately 320 calories.

Is Drunken Noodles better than Pad Thai?

Drunken Noodles, as well as Pad Thai, are two stir-fried noodles. Pad Thai is sweeter and nuttier, while Drunken Noodles are flavorful and spicy. Pad Thai is also made with an underlying tamarind base, while Drunken Noodles is made with an oyster sauce base.

Summary of Drunken Noodles vs Pad See Ew

Drunken Noodles and Pad See Ew are two delicious Thai stir-fried noodles. However, they’re very different in terms of flavor.

If you’re seeking a bit of spice and heat, Drunken Noodles might be the ideal food for you! However, if you’re looking for something sweeter, gentler, and without any heat, you should try Pad See Ew.

Both dishes are served with a variety of ingredients and vegetables. However, when you are trying them, make sure you choose authentic recipes so that you will truly enjoy the mix of flavors traditional dishes provide.

Did you find this guide helpful?
Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

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