If you are a fan of Thai food, you would probably have tried Pad Thai. “Pad” means “stir fry” in the Thai language, so as you can guess there is a lot of other delicious stir-fried food apart from Pad Thai. For stir-fried noodles alone, Thailand has many other delicious dishes like Pad Kee Mao (which translates to drunken noodles) and Pad See Ew. However, you may not know which one you will like more or which one would be to your liking. Learn more about the similarities and differences between Pad Kee Mao vs Pad See Ew with us in this post!
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Similarities between Pad Kee Mao vs Pad See Ew
Let’s start with the similarities between the two, and there are only a few of them. Like Pad Thai, both Pad Kee Mao and Pad See Ew are stir-fried noodles where the dish typically consists of noodles, vegetables, and some protein.
Both recipes of Pad Kee Mao and Pad See Ew contain a good degree of flexibility when it comes to noodle type, vegetables, and protein sources. For example, you can find both dishes with large noodles, rice noodles, vermicelli noodles, Mama instant noodles or even spaghetti.
You can also freely choose the source of protein like pork, chicken or seafood. Seafood Pad Kee Mao however is quite common and you should give it try!
Differences between Pad Kee Mao vs Pad See Ew
There are a few similarities between Pad Kee Mao and Pad See Ew. On the other hand, there are many differences that set the two stir-fried noodles apart.
The first is on the visual aspect. If you put the two dishes side by side you will notice that Pad Kee Mao contains a variety of ingredients and herbs. In contrast to that, Pad See Ew appears simpler and it has a striking feature of dark-colored noodle.
The next question might be, why Pad See Ew look darker? The answers lie with this dish’s name. In Thai, “see ew” means soy sauce. So the second difference is the sauce. And there is your answer, Pad See Ew makes use of both dark soy sauce and sweet soy sauce which turn the color of stir-fried noodles dark brown. Pad Kee Mao on the other hand does not make use of any soy sauce, instead, it uses oyster sauce.
The third difference is the key ingredients and herbs. It is established that many types of noodles and protein sources can be used in these dishes. However, there are ingredients and herbs that simply are irreplaceable. Pad Kee Mao has garlic, kaffir lime leaves, fingerroots, fresh peppercorn, fresh chili, and Thai basil leaves as the key herbs. After being exposed to hot oil, these herbs give out a strong aroma, making Pad Kee Mao a truly fragrant dish. While Pad See Ew key ingredients might be pale in comparison to Pad Kee Mao, it also makes use of garlic and another unique ingredient which is an egg.
Last but not least, the taste. Based on what you have seen so far, you can already guess that Pad Kee Mao has a stronger taste and is more fragrant. Pad See Ew on the other hand has milder taste but it can still be seasoned with chili flakes and vinegars to enhance the flavour. Otherwise Pad See Ew prominent taste is only sweet.
Is Pad Kee Mao spicy?
Yes, Pad Kee Mao tends to be spicy, especially if you order it in Thailand. Pad Kee Mao mostly draws its spiciness from fresh chili. However, if you ever chew on other herbs like kaffir lime leaves, fingerroots, or fresh peppercorn – you will also realize that these herbs are “spicy”. They are spicy in a slightly different way than fresh chili. If you are not a fan of spice, avoid chewing on these. You can also reduce spiciness level by reducing the amount chili or opt to swab fresh chili out for dried ones to reduce “hotness” of the dish.
Pad Kee Mao vs Pad See Ew: which one should you try?
We personally prefer dishes with a stronger taste with lots of herbs and spices. Pad Kee Mao is right up our alley because of this. However, if you haven’t tried both, we will always recommend trying both. Keep in mind though, that if you really aren’t into spices, you may find Pad Kee Mao spicy so Pad See Ew might be better for you.
One other thing to note – when you are in Thailand, the Pad Kee Mao will taste much better than what you find outside Thailand. The reason is, that Thailand is a land of spices and herbs therefore vendors can go all out when they make the dish. If you want to try your first Pad Kee Mao, do it when you visit Thailand!
Explore Thailand with us!
- Jim Jum hotpot: Thai-style spicy & sour hotpot
- Mookata: Thai BBQ and Hotpot in restaurant/buffet/at home
- Thai Sausage: grilled northern Isaan & Sai Ua sausages
- Nam Jim Jaew: the delicious Thai dipping sauce & recipe
- Boat noodles: Recipes & the right way to order boat noodles
- Thai BBQ pork & chicken and the sauce
- Tom Yum Noodles with Soup and its Dry version
- Pad Kee Mao Calories & Nutrition
- Pad See Ew Calories: How healthy is this dish?
- Thai fried egg: what it is and how to make one