Tom Kha vs Tom Yum_featured

Tom Kha vs Tom Yum: Similarities & Differences

Thailand is known for spicy and sour soup. Household names like Tom Yum soup may need no further introduction, but have you heard of Tom Kha soup? We have written other articles on Tom Yum noodles and Tom Yum hotpot. Recently we also covered the topic of Tom Kha soup calories. Learn more about similarities and differences between Tom Kha vs Tom Yum here!

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How about the taste of both soups?

Both Tom Kha and Tom Yum have spicy and sour taste. This spicy and refreshing taste comes from chili, lime and a bit of fish sauce and sugar. Both soups make good use of Thai herbs to add nice aroma to the dish. Having said this, we will cover more of the soup ingredients in a later section.

The creamy version of Tom Yum soup also contains creaminess (usually from coconut milk), very much similar to Tom Kha soup. So from taste and texture standpoint, the two soups are quite similar

Tom Kha vs Tom Yum: appareance

Tom Kha vs Tom Yum_featured

The most striking difference between Tom Kha vs. Tom Yum starts with the soup color. Tom Yum is a red/orangish-colored soup. On the other hand, Tom Kha has a mild, white-colored soup. Tom Yum (especially the creamy version) derives its red color from red chili, shrimp, but most importantly Thai chili paste. Tom Kha’s white color is due to its major ingredients, coconut milk!

Soup ingredients


We have mentioned earlier that the two soups can taste quite similar. That is because they share many same ingredients such as:

  • Herbs: Lemon grass, kaffir lime, galangal, shallot
  • Seasoning: Chili, lime, fish sauce and sugar


Despite the similarities, there are a few striking differences in the ingredients.

  • Protein: While both soups can use any protein, the most common protein for Tom Yum is shrimp (Tom Yum Goong) and other seafood. On the other hand the most common protein for Tom Kha is chicken (Tom Kha Gai)
  • Other key ingredient: Key ingredients for Tom Yum soup are chili paste which adds spiciness as well as red color to the soup and evaporated milk that adds creamy texture to the soup. Whereas for Tom Kha soup, the soup is either made purely from coconut milk or a mix between chicken stock and coconut milk!

Apart from the list above, there may be some other variations of the two soups. For instance, addition of mushrooms, tomatoes or even onions – this really depends on the recipes.

Calories for Tom Kha vs Tom Yum

There are two versions of Tom Yum i.e. clear Tom Yum and creamy Tom Yum. That is why Tom Yum can have as low as 270 calories or as high as 350 depending on the recipe. Check out our other article on Tom Yum soup calories and health benefits. 

On the other hand, Tom Kha contains ingredients like coconut milk which is high in calories. Hence, a serving of true Tom Kha soup made from 100% coconut milk can have as high as 700 calories. However, this number may be lower if the Tom Kha uses a mix of chicken stock with added coconut milk.

Which soup should you try?

Both soups are great! If you like clear soup, unfortunately Tom Kha soup does not have the option. However, Tom Yum has both versions: clear soup and creamy soup. We personally prefer Tom Yum because of the clear Tom Yum soup. In hot weather like Thailand and Singapore, clear Tom Yum soup is very refreshing and feels lighter. We do love creamy Thai soups as well but only have it once in a while. Also, keep in mind that soup like Tom Kha should be consumed in moderation due to its calorie count. 

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Tom Kha soup calories_featured

Tom Kha Soup Calories & Vegetarian Option

Thailand has many renowned dishes like Tom Yum soup or green curry. However, you might have seen a white-colored soup in a Thai restaurant or while you are in Thailand. The white colored soup you have just seen is called Tom Kha soup. But do not let its plain look deceive you, the soup is rich in flavours. Having said that, do you need to be worried about Tom Kha soup calories? Let’s learn more about Tom Kha soup calories in this article.

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What is Tom Kha Soup?

Tom Kha soup refers to a spicy and sour coconut milk soup which most commonly contains chicken and mushroom. The one containing chicken in the soup is called Tom Kha Gai – as Gai means chicken in Thai. Coconut milk gives Tom Kha a smooth tasting, white colored soup base which is then enhanced by herbs like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal. These herbs add nice fragrance to the soup. Tom Kha derives its taste primarily from fresh chili, lime and fish sauces. Some recipes also add a bit of sugar for sweetness.

Tom Kha soup calories

Tom Kha soup calories_ingredients

A serving of Thai Tom Kha soup, which makes use of 100% coconut milk, for a single person contains about 700 to 900 calories. However, if you have Tom Kha soup with a bowl of rice, then you are looking at adding another 100 to 200 calories to the meal.

You might wonder what makes Tom Kha soup so high in calories? Let’s break Tom Kha soup’s major ingredients down.

  • Protein = 708 cal
  • Vegetable = 64 cal
  • Coconut milk = 800-900 cal
  • Other seasonings = 30 cal
  • Total = 1,700 cal for 2 servings

From the breakdown above, the answer lies with coconut milk. That is, 100% coconut milk without dilution contains as much as 800 calories per 500 ml box. 

Can Tom Kha be lighter on calories or can it be vegetarian?

A recipe which makes use of chicken stock can reduce the amount of coconut milk by up to half, effectively reducing Tom Kha soup calories count. Apart from that, switching to leaner chicken like chicken breast can also help (or add more mushroom and less chicken). 

While you cannot remove a key ingredient like coconut milk from Tom Kha soup, you can consider another great tasting Thai soup like Tom Yum instead. Clear broth Tom Yum contains less than half of Tom Kha calories.

Can Tom Kha be vegetarian? The answer is yes. There are recipes that purely use coconut milk and no chicken stock. For such a recipe, removing chicken and replacing it with a variety of mushrooms effectively makes the dish vegetarian (and might need to replace fish sauce with salt).

What other vegetables fit well with and help with Tom Kha soup calories?

While Tom Kha soup mostly contains mushroom, some other vegetables also fit well into the soup.

For example, you can add tomatoes into Tom Kha soup. Tom Kha soup is sour thanks to lime. And as you can imagine, adding tomatoes will add more sour taste to the soup. Another vegetable you can add is white Chinese cabbage. While they contain water and may dilute the soup, they also absorb the nice spicy & sour Tom Kha soup once simmered!

Should you try Tom Kha and is it healthy?

Tom Kha is a delicious dish that you should try. It might be a bit high in calorie count but there are ways to reduce the it. So if you are health conscious, you can still have this Tom Kha soup by making a healthier version of it. Vegetarians can also try this Tom Kha soup by replacing the proteins with vegetables and mushrooms. 

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beef larb_featured

Beef Larb: taste, recipe and pork/chicken/veg alternative

Larb is a great-tasting Thai dish that did not enjoy as much spotlight as its cousin, Thai papaya salad aka Som Tum. For those of you who are not familiar with Thai food, but is a Marvel movie fan, hear us out. Larb is the dish Aunt May used as the reference in her pun to Peter in “Spiderman: homecoming”. There are many variations of larb like beef larb, pork, chicken or even vegetarian friendly version! Learn more about Larb in this post.

beef larb_aunt may

Larb: Thai-isan dish

Larb is a spicy and sour meat salad originated from the Isan region of Thailand (North-eastern Thailand). Even though larb is often called “salad”, it is actually a cooked dish that is served hot. The main ingredients include meat, herbs and seasoning. Thais normally serve this dish with some fresh vegetables at the side. Larb also tastes great when eaten together with sticky rice. You can often find larb in Isan style or Som Tum meal. People often serve larb along side Som Tum or some Thai BBQ, together with sticky rice and/or kanom jeen. There are many variations of larb dishes, but our favourite is cooked beef larb!

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Beef larb vs. Chicken larb vs. Pork larb

As mentioned above, there are many ways to make larb. You can make larb with beef (hence beef larb), pork, chicken, or even duck. Larb typically makes use of minced or finely chopped meat which also works great in absorbing all the seasoning and spices. If you are visiting Thailand, there are a few things to watch out for when ordering larb

  • Beef larb: In Thailand, there are both cooked and raw beef larb. While in Bangkok, you can expect most vendors to sell larb with cooked beef. However, just indicate in your order to be safe.
  • Pork larb: Pork larb sometimes also contains innards such as pork liver or intestine. If you are not a fan of innards, you should ask the restaurant to exclude them.
  • Spicy level: Larb (or Isan food in general) tends to be spicy. If you are not used to eating spicy Asian food, asking for a milder version might be a good idea.

Recipes for Beef Larb

Whether you are looking to cook beef larb or other variations like pork/chicken, the preparation method, herbs and seasoning are mostly similar.

For every 500g of beef, you will need:

  • Shallot: 3x
  • Onion: 1/2x
  • Chili flake/dried chili: 2-3 tablespoons (put less if you cannot handle spice)
  • Lime: 2 teaspoons
  • Fish sauce: 2 tablespoons
  • Ground roasted rice: 2 tablespoons
  • Chopped spring onion/parsley: 1-2 tablespoon(s), kaffir lime leaves can be added as well!

The cooking process is simple. First, boil minced beef until almost cooked then remove it from the cooking pan/pot. Mix all the seasoning and herb into the pan/pot at low heat then put minced beef back in. Stir well and lastly add ground roasted rice before serving. You can serve it with fresh lettuce or with kanom jeen /sticky rice.

Can larb be vegetarian?

We quoted larb as Thai meat salad earlier. While this is true, we recently come across many meatless larb dishes here in Thailand. Before we move on, we have to say that these larb dishes are meatless, however they may still contain fish sauce which is a product of fish.

So what type of meatless larb have we seen? We have seen tofu larb (made with fried tofu) or with various types of mushrooms as well as glass noodles. The meatless version of larb also tastes great with sticky rice and kanom jeen! Having said this, we still stand with our decision that beef larb is the best!

Should you try Beef Larb in Thailand?

Yes! If you have tasted other more popular Thai food like Som Tum, you should expand your horizon by trying other dishes like larb. Among other larbs, we enjoy beef larb the most. Since there are many types of larb that you can have, you can pick one to your liking. Plus, with the beef larb recipe that we shared above, you can make your own at home too. Simply change the meat option if you want to make your own chicken/pork/duck larb.

what does butterfly pea tea taste like_featured

What does butterfly pea tea taste like? Learn about its taste!

Have you seen nice blue or purple color in cafes or Thai restaurant? While you may have wondered if the drink has been colored artificially, the blue or purple colour might be natural! In Thailand, people have been using butterfly pea as a natural food and beverage coloring. With more innovative drinks coming out, we started to get questions like “What does butterfly pea tea taste like?” Let’s find out the answer in this article.

What are “butterfly peas”?

what does butterfly pea tea taste like_butterfly pea plant

First of all, what are butterfly peas and which part of the plants that people use to make coloring? Butterfly pea is a plant commonly found in South and Southeast Asia. The plant’s scientific name is Clitoria ternatea and it belongs to a flowering plant family. Butterfly pea flowers are typically dried and used for coloring, however you can also find butterfly pea extract directly.

What does butterfly pea tea taste like?

Butterfly pea itself has very little to no taste. So to answer the question “What does butterfly pea taste like?”, the answer is, little to no taste, that is for pure butterfly tea without any additives. There is no standard recipe for what people often call butterfly pea tea, in fact, there are so many different beverages that people commonly call “butterfly pea tea”.

Pure butterfly pea tea

Pure butterfly tea is made of dried butterfly peaflower and hot water. It is a flower tea without any caffeine! However, you will need to take note that unlike rose tea made of rose petals or buds, butterfly tea does not contain any strong fragrance. Hence, the tea itself will not have strong taste or smell. Some butterfly tea bag may have a bit of added fragrance or some may choose to add honey into the mix in order to add smell or taste. Nonetheless, brands that are promoting butterfly pea tea for health benefits usually will only have 100% butterfly pea in their tea bags.

Butterfly pea lemonade

what does butterfly pea tea taste like_lemonade

Butterfly pea lemonade is where it gets more interesting (and refreshing!). It is very common to add lemon or lime into butterfly pea tea, but whether the beverage is classified as tea or lemonade, it depends on the amount of lemon.

You can brew the butterfly pea and then mix it with lemon (or lime juice in Southeast Asia) and a bit of sugar for a refreshing sour and sweet taste. Some recipe also introduces soda water for some fizz. You can also add herbs like lemon skin or rosemary for more taste and fragrance! So what does butterfly pea tea taste like here? The answer here is: it can taste like lemonade!

Butterfly pea milk tea

We have covered sour and refreshing taste of butterfly pea lemonade, but another popular butterfly pea tea beverages is butterfly pea milk tea! Butterfly pea milk tea, like its cousin Thai milk tea – is a milky beverage. But here we use butterfly pea tea as a base instead of the red Thai tea (hence the drink base color is blue!)

Common ingredients include hot water, dried butterfly pea flower, fresh milk, some syrup and ice. In Thailand, people also add evaporated milk for extra milkiness! So what does Thai butterfly pea tea taste like here? Milk tea!

Health benefit of butterfly pea

The popularity of butterfly pea is not only because it adds interesting blue color to food/drinks, but also its health benefits.

Butterfly pea’s blue color is due to anthocyanins, which are antioxidant compounds. Specifically the name of the antioxidant responsible for the bright blue color is ternatins. Studies show that ternatins can alleviate inflammation and prevent cancer cell growth. There are other antioxidant compounds in butterfly pea that have different functions like anti-cancer, antimicrobial, antiviral, and boosting immunity.

Many people also consume butterfly pea tea for weight loss, to stabilize blood sugar and also they put topically on the skin for hydration.

Is butterfly pea tea nice to drink?

Yes, it is nice to drink and there are variations of butterfly pea tea, each with a unique taste. If you like it more herbal and healthy, you can have it just as is, brewed like the way you brew tea. But if you like it more refreshing with some citrusy smell or taste, you can make a butterfly pea lemonade. And, if you like milky taste and texture, you can create a butterfly pea milk tea. Pick your favorite.

Other than its unique color, butterfly pea tea is also packed with antioxidants that are healthy for the body. This makes butterfly pea tea drinks not only attractive in color and tasty but also healthy. 

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Thai fried egg_basil pork

Thai fried egg: what it is and how to make one

You are most likely familiar with sunny side up, over easy, medium and hard. But have you tried Asian fried egg? Thai fried egg in particular is crispy and it enhances the flavour and texture of many Thai dishes! Having said that, you should find out more about this type of fried egg and what makes it unique with us!

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What is Thai fried egg?

Thai fried egg or Kai Dao refers to a way that egg is commonly fried in Thailand. However, keep in mind that it does not mean fried egg made from Thai chicken or eggs. Instead, what sets this Thai style fried egg apart is the way to cook it such that the egg white becomes crispy while egg yolk is still runny (or completely cooked if that’s your preference).

While Thais often serve this egg alongside other Thai dishes, you can eat it alone with white rice as well. However, normally we will add a simple sauce made from fish sauce, chili, and sometimes lime to the dish for some extra taste.

Thai fried egg_chili

How to make Thai style crispy fried egg

There are a few simple tricks to achieve the crispiness of Thai fried egg while keeping the egg yolk runny.

The heat: To achieve the ultimate crispiness, you will need high heat. Hence, cooking with a stove/gas would be easier than an induction cooker

The pan: Curved pan (commonly used in Asia) or we call it “wok”

The oil: Generous amount of oil to ensure that it can cover all of the egg white

The cooking method: First, heat the oil with a big fire then reduce to medium right before you add the egg. Second, add the egg into the center of the curved pan to ensure that the egg white is surrounded by oil. Then, use a spatula or wok turner to scoop up oil from the side to pour it over the egg yolk until it suits your liking (runny or over medium). This will produce crispy egg white with runny egg yolk in the middle!

Thai style crispy fried egg

What dishes go well with this egg?

We would not call Thai fried egg a dish, however, this egg makes many other Thai dishes a lot better. In fact, many restaurants in Thailand offer this egg as part of the dish. Otherwise, you can pay an extra THB10 – THB15 for it.

  • Kra pao: Kra pao or Thai basil stir-fried is one of the staple dishes in Thailand. The dish however is not complete without Thai fried egg! Or better yet 2 of them
  • Thai green curry: Thai green curry is delicious with rice or Ka Nom Jeen noodles. However, whether you like rice or noodles, the green curry will taste better with a fried egg! (boiled egg also works as an alternative)
  • Pad Kee Mao: Pad Kee Mao tastes great on its own, however adding a fried egg can make it even better!
  • Garlic pork: Stir fried pork with a lot of garlic and soy sauce and white pepper also goes really well with fried egg or Thai chili sauce
  • Fried rice: Thai fried egg and chili fish sauce add taste and texture variation to fried rice on top of bringing more nutrition. Check out simple fish sauce recipe here
Thai fried egg_basil pork

Is Thai style crispy fried egg different from Thai omelette?

If you have heard of Thai omelette with crab, it is different from Thai style crispy fried egg. Similar to their Western counterparts, fried egg and omelette are different things. We will be covering Thai omelette in a different article.

How much do we enjoy this egg and why?

We especially love this egg when it comes with other dishes, especially Kra Pow rice. This is because the egg really adds texture to the food, especially the crispy edges of the Thai fried egg. Moreover, if you have runny yolk, it will add moisture to the dish. We do not know about you, but we do not like our dish to be too dry sometimes. In conclusion, go ahead and try Thai fried egg and see whether you like it as much as we do!

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lard na_soup noodle

Lard Na (aka Rad Na): Thai noodle with thick soup

Have you ever seen noodles with sticky soup while in Thailand or when you are in a Thai restaurant? The dish you just saw is called Lard Na and it is quite delicious! Previously we have talked about other Thai noodles including Pad Thai, Pad Kee Mao, and Pad See Ew and their comparisons as well. Learn more about this noodle, its variation, taste and what makes the soup sticky here!

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What is this dish about?

Lard Na is a Thai dish that originates from Chinese cuisine. Based on its name, Lard Na directly translates to “Lard” = Pour, “Na” = surface or topping. The dish derived its name from how this types of noodles are prepared and served. First place your noodles in a bowl, then pour the hot soup which also contains protein/vegetables before serving, hence the name Lard Na. If you had lived in Malaysia and Singapore before, you will also see some similarities between this noodle and Hor Fun.

lard na_lard na soup

Lard Na soup: what makes the soup sticky?

This dish’s unique feature is its sticky soup base, but what makes the soup sticky? This noodle commonly uses pork stock soup as the base. You can then mix the stock with corn starch for the sticky texture. To enhance the flavor, Thais often add to the soup a bit of sugar, white pepper, light soy sauce, and fermented soybean sauce.

Lard Na noodles

You can use many types of noodles in this dish. Thais usually use large rice noodles as Lard Na noodles. However, the most special noodle type for this dish would be the crispy egg noodles. Lard Na with crispy egg noodles makes use of fried round/flat egg noodles to add extra texture and crunchiness to the dish (which is very yummy!). Apart from that, you may find other noodle variations such as vermicelli or even instant noodle!


lard na_ingredients

From our coverage on Pad Thai, Pad Kee Mao and Pad See Ew, you should know by now that Thai noodles are flexible when it comes to ingredients. The same also applies to this noodle. Nonetheless, we will go through the common ingredients below.

Noodles: You have a broad choice of noodles ranging from crispy noodles to vermicelli or big rice noodles. You can mix and cook the rice noodles with dark soy sauce first before being served

Soup: As mentioned in the above section, you can create the soup/gravy using soup stock, corn starch and a bit of sugar, white pepper, light soy sauce, and fermented soybean sauce

Protein: Specially prepared Pork is the most common choice for this dish. Slice the pork and mix them with corn starch, baking soda, oyster sauce, pepper, and egg for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This is to give the pork taste and tender texture. However, apart from pork, you can also find other meat options like chicken and seafood as well

Vegetables: The most common vegetables used in Lard Na are young kale and baby corns. However some shops also add other vegetables like carrot, asparagus or mushroom

Do not forget about seasoning

While Lard Na is a Chinese cuisine-influenced dish, it cannot escape Thai’s love for seasoning. Thais typically serve this dish with chili, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, and white pepper on the side (or at least chili and vinegar). We personally love adding spicy and sour taste to our noodle!

Should you try Lard Na in Thailand?

If you like noodles with thick soup / gravy, this noodle might be right up your alley. You should try this noodle while in Thailand because there is a difference between this and the Chinese-style thick gravy noodle. Also, with the different kinds of seasoning typical of Thai dishes, you will have a unique experience with this dish. 

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Pad See Ew calories_featured

Pad See Ew Calories: How healthy is this dish?

We have covered many stir fried noodle variations in Thailand. Previously we make a comparison between two popular Thai stir fried noodles Pad Kee Mao vs Pad See Ew. In this article, we will be breaking down Pad See Ew calories and how to make a lower calories version of this Thai noodles.

Pad See Ew calories

A serving of Pad See Ew has roughly between 500 to 900 calories depending on the serving portion. For our estimation, we use a recipe from Phol Food Mafia. Compared to other Thai stir-fried noodles like Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao, Pad See Ew have a relatively simple recipe and their calories for 1 to 2 servings can be found below.

  • Noodle: Large rice noodles 484 calories
  • Protein: Pork and egg 270 calories
  • Vegetables: Chinese Kale 30 calories
  • Sauce and seasoning: Dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and oil 135 calories

A combination of the above ingredients totals up to 900+ calories for 1-2 servings. Note that in Thailand, Pad See Ew is often served with a range of optional seasonings like sugar, chili, fish sauce, and fish sauce. So if you add any of these (especially sugar), the calorie count will go up as well!

Noodles calories in Pad See Ew

Pad See Ew noodles calories mostly come from carbs, or the noodle itself. This dish typically makes use of big rice noodles which has a relatively high-calorie count when compared to other noodles. Another popular noodle alternative for Pad See Ew is vermicelli which contains 150 calories / 100g as opposed to 220 calories / 100g. Making this switch can reduce Pad See Ew noodle’s calories from carbs by more than 40%.

Ways to reduce calories in this dish

Pad See Ew calories_vermicelli

If you are health conscious, you might want to cut down the Pad See Ew calories further. Similar to the alternatives that we offer to cut down Pad Thai calories or Pad Kee Mao calories, you can cut down Pad See Ew calories too.

You can simply opt-out from adding any other optional seasonings like sugar or fish sauce. Meat and egg are a must for Pad See Ew. However, you can choose to replace pork with leaner chicken in order to reduce calorie count!

Is Pad See Ew healthy?

Consuming anything in moderation is still considered healthy. Similarly, if you consume Pad See Ew in moderation you will be fine. However, keep in mind that this dish tends to be sweeter. In addition to the carbs (noodles) used in this dish, the sugar in seasonings can pose a risk to those with blood sugar health problems. 

You can choose to reduce the sweet soya sauce and oil when making this dish if you are health conscious. Also, reduce the calories of the dish by following our recommendation for alternatives. 

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Pad Thai vs Lo Mein_difference

Pad Thai vs Lo Mein: difference, origin, taste and more

Are you a fan of dry or stir-fried noodles like us? You can find many delicious stir-fried noodles all across Asia whether it is Pad Thai, Lo Mein, chow mein, yakisoba, japchae or even ram-den (from the famous parasite movie). Having lived in China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore, we will be drilling into the difference between Pad Thai vs Lo Mein. Previously we have other noodle posts as well: Pad Thai vs Pad Kee Mao and also Pad Kee Mao vs Pad See Ew: similarities and differences. So tag along and know more about your favourite noodles.

Difference between Pad Thai and Lo Mein origin

As the name suggest, Pad Thai is a stir-fried noodle dish from Thailand (Pad means stir-fry in Thai). Pad Thai is a common dish you would find in Thai restaurant around the world. In Thailand, Pad Thai are commonly sold by street side vendors as an affordable staple food. However, at the same time, you may also find fancier Pad Thai in restaurants like those served with large river prawns or Pad Thai nicely wrapped in egg.

Lo Mein, on the other hand, is a dry noodle dish from the Chinese cuisine. The word Lo means toss or mix while mein (or mien) generally refers to noodles in Chinese. Interestingly, Lo Mein may or may not be stir-fried. For example, one way to make Lo Mein is to boil all the ingredients before tossing them together with sauces. You can also boil the noodles and stir-fry them with ingredients together with the sauces.

Pad Thai vs Lo Mein: taste and texture

pad thai calories_sauces

The most striking difference between Pad Thai vs Lo Mein is the taste and texture.

Pad Thai is a stir fried dish with a complex taste made up of sweet and savoury tastes, a bit of creaminess/nutty-taste from egg and peanut. The dish has your usual stir-fried noodles texture. However, you will feel a lot of texture variations from other ingredients like peanuts and fresh/raw vegetables like beansprout, raw-green mangoes or even banana blossom.

Lo Mein, on the other hand, has a nice but simpler flavour mostly consisting of salty, savoury taste derived from soy sauce. There are many variations of Lo Mein. Some versions of Lo Mein also draw fragrance from sesame oil, while some other use scallions / scallion oil.

Pad Thai vs Lo Mein: ingredients

Pad Thai vs Lo Mein_ingredients

Both Pad Thai and Lo Mein have a good degree of flexibility in recipes. So there are many variations of both dishes. However, key differences in common ingredients include:

  1. Noodle

Pad Thai make use of “chan” noodles, a special noodle originated from Chantaburi province in Thailand which is made from rice flour. Meanwhile, Lo Mein use wheat flour. Many noodles used to make Lo Mein also contain egg, hence they are slightly yellow in color.

2. Sauce/seasoning

Pad Thai makes use of palm sugar, tamarind, fish sauce and peanut to give that sweet and savoury flavour. On the other hand, Lo Mein primarily use soy sauce/dark soy sauce, while some variation also add in oyster sauce, sesame or scallion oil.

3. Protein

Most Pad Thai will have tofu and eggs as ingredients, and the most classic version will come with shrimp. There are Pad Thai with chicken or pork as well but they are a lot less common. Based on what we have seen, Lo Mein has a lot more flexibility when it comes to the protein source.

4. Raw vegetables

Pad Thai is usually served with raw vegetables on the side. Common vegetables include bean sprout, chives, raw mango and banana blossom. Lo Mein are usually not accompanied by raw vegetables.

Which noodle should you try?

If you have not try both, try all! They are quite different in taste and texture, so decide which one is your favorite after you eat both. Try Pad Thai when you are in Thailand, whereas Lo Mein is more or less the same in any Chinese restaurant in or outside Thailand.

Personally we prefer Lo Mein to Pad Thai because of the taste. Pad Thai tends to be a bit sweet, whereas Lo Mein is on the savory side. If you have sweet tooth and peanuts, most likely you will enjoy Pad Thai!

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pad thai calories_shrimp

Pad Thai Calories: how healthy is Pad Thai?

Pad Thai is a stir-fried noodle from Thailand that is known far and wide across the world. The dish itself probably needs no further introduction. However, do you know how many calories would a serving of Pad Thai noodles have? We are talking about those authentic ones with really rich taste. Previously we touched on the topic of Pad Kee Mao calories. Now, find out more about Pad Thai calories in this article.

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Calories breakdown

pad thai calories_sauces

A serving of Pad Thai with its full ingredients and seasoning can have as high as 600 to 700 calories! That is higher than a serving of Big Mac! This might make you wonder what makes Pad Thai such a high-calorie dish? The answer lies within Pad Thai’s ingredients and seasoning which give it such a rich taste.

Pad Thai typically uses a special type of noodles called Chan noodle which has high calories count of 350 calories per 100g. This is a lot higher than other types of noodles. However, at the same time, it has a very unique chewy texture that makes it the top choice for this dish. Other ingredients calorie count breakdown is below:

  • Protein: 128 calories
  • Vegetable: 164 calories
  • Seasoning/sauces: 300 calories
  • Cooking oil: 240 calories

Noodles and other ingredients total up to ~1360 calories for 2 people’s servings. So it will be around 600-700 calories per 1 person serving.

As you can see, apart from the noodles themselves, Pad Thai is cooked with a lot of oil (for the stir-frying process). Also, its seasoning and sauce also contain high calories count due to palm sugar.

Are you a fan of strong taste and fragrant dishes? check out our comparison between Pad Thai vs. Pad Kee Mao!

If you are not a fan of oil or calories then consider other soup noodles from Thailand such as Boat noodles or Tom Yum noodles!

Can you reduce calories in Pad Thai?

The answer is Yes. But you will need to give up some components that make Pad Thai unique. Shrimp variation of Pad Thai is the most common one throughout Thailand. However, you may sometimes find other variations like Pad Thai with grilled pork, chicken, or giant river prawn. Some of these variations may have higher calorie count than normal Shrimp Pad Thai.

Changing noodles from Chan noodles to vermicelli can change the calorie count from 350 calories to 160 calories per 100g of serving. Recently, we have also seen noodle-less pad thai which adds ingredients like finely sliced green/sour mango instead of noodles. Green/unripe mango should have less than 60 calories per 100g! Pad Thai is typically served with a slice of lime for its sour taste – so green mangoes would be a good choice here.

Peanuts contribute to about 10% of Pad Thai’s total calorie count. Cutting peanuts removes some interesting taste and texture from the dish, but Pad Thai is still enjoyable without (also helpful to those who are allergic to peanuts). 

Another obvious way to reduce calories in your Pad Thai is to cut on oil and sugar. Keep in mind though, that this will impact the taste of the food directly.

In this scenario, if we swap out noodles for raw mango and cut out peanuts, a serving of Pad Thai may have as low as 300 to 400 calories without giving up on any other ingredients and seasoning!

Should you try Pad Thai given its calorie count?

Pad Thai is a world-famous dish but you will need to watch out for how much you eat it as there is a wide range of ingredients that make up for that rich and complex taste, and they do have calorie count.

If you are health conscious then consider other Thai stir-fried noodles or soup versions.

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Pad Thai vs Pad Kee Mao

Pad Thai vs Pad Kee Mao: calories + similarities/differences

Pad Thai is a world-renowned dish, but we are more of a big fan of the spicy & fragrance Pad Kee Mao. Between Pad Thai vs Pad Kee Mao, what are the similarities and differences? Learn more with us and decide which one should be your favorite Thai stir fried noodles!

We have also talked about Pad Kee Mao calories in a separate article before. We have also touched on the topic of Pad Kee Mao vs Pad See Ew

Table of Contents


Both dishes names start with “Pad” which means stir-fried in Thai. As the names imply, both dishes are stir-fried Thai noodle dishes. Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao also both contain a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to what protein can be used in the dish. However, the most common/famous one tends to be its seafood variation. The same flexibility also applies to noodle types. However, Pad Thai is dominated by “Chan” noodles while Pad Kee Mao commonly uses big noodles or Thai instant noodles. That is really about it when it comes to similarities.


Pad Thai vs Pad Kee Mao

The two dishes have a lot of differences. While common noodles and main protein options are covered above, there are still many differences. 

Vegetables: Pad Kee Mao tends to involve more cooked vegetables than Pad Thai. A bowl of Pad Kee Mao may have many vegetables ranging from mushrooms, carrots, baby corn, or even kale. However, Pad Thai has limited vegetables and is often limited to chives. However, Pad Thai is usually served with raw vegetables like bean sprouts, raw mango, and banana blossom.

Other protein: Pad Thai tend to have other sources of protein outside of its main protein like dried shrimp and tofu.

Herbs: Pad Thai is not known for herbs, but Pad Kee Mao is full of them. While there is no standard formula, Pad Kee Mao tends to have basil leaves, peppercorn, chili, kaffir limes and finger roots.

Seasoning and sauce: Pad Kee Mao mostly makes use of oyster sauce and light soy sauce whereas Pad Thai uses palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind sauce (+ adding lime before eating for sour taste).

Taste: Based on the above, you can already guess that the tastes of the two dishes are different in taste. Pad Kee Mao is spicy and offers an herbal fragrance whereas Pad Thai has a rich, sweet taste with a tangy, sourness provided by fresh lime at the end.

Pad Thai vs Pad Kee Mao calories

Pad Thai vs Pad Kee Mao Calories

We are using recipes from Phol Food Mania as a reference. Pad Thai has between 600 to 700 Calories while Pad Kee Mao has 460 to 700 Calories per serving by our estimate. The calories tend to vary depending on ingredients and serving size.

Pad Thai vs Pad Kee Mao calories sources also differ:

  1. “Chan” noodle contains higher calories count than other types of noodle
  2. Seasoning and ingredients used in Pad Thai contain more high calorie components like sugar and peanut
  3. Pad Kee Mao tends to be more protein heavy, for example Pad Kee Mao with fattier pork could contain higher calories than shrimp Pad Thai!

Fried noodle dishes like Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao contain considerable calories. Soup noodles like Boat noodle or Tom Yum noodle might be better for lower calorie options!

Read more on Pad Thai calories! or Pad Thai vs Lo Mein: difference, origin, taste and more

Pad Thai vs Pad Kee Mao: who's the winner?

So Pad Thai vs Pad Kee Mao? Pad Kee Mao a.k.a drunken noodle is the winner for us because of its rich herbal taste and fragrance. We are also a big fan of big rice noodles, which has a very special noodle texture that we love. Many of our friends however love Pad Thai for its richness in taste and its unique texture especially when it incorporates raw vegetables (bean sprouts, raw mango, banana blossoms) that are crunchy. Peanuts that are added as a topping will also add to the texture of the food.

All in all, you should try both of these dishes if you haven’t! 

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