Thai cuisine is famous for its amazingly delicious stir-fries and noodle dishes. Thai stir-fried noodles are so popular that you will find them at the food scenes in a lot of different countries. The classic and very recognizable names when it comes to these dishes are Pad Thai and Pad Woon.
Pad Thai happens to be more popular and mainstream than Pad Woon. While the composition and cooking technique of these two dishes are quite similar, they are not exactly the same. If comparing these two super popular Thai noodle dishes is what you have been trying to do, read on as we have gathered all that you need to know about the similarities and differences between Pad Thai and Pad Woon.
Main Difference Between Pad Woon and Pad Thai
Even with their similarities, there are some distinct differences that set apart Pad Thai and Pad Woon. The main difference between these two noodle dishes lies in the type of noodles and the sauce used to cook them.
Even though it is not as enormously popular as Pad Thai, Pad Woon Sen is equally delicious. When it comes to noodles, Pad Woon Sen uses cellophane noodles. These are silky glass noodles that are also sometimes called mung bean noodles. Whereas with Pad Thai, it is made with rice noodles. Another popular Thai noodle dish that is quite similar to these two is the Pad See Ew, which is made with rice noodles that are really flat and wide.
Rice noodles tend to be opaque when cooked, whereas cellophane noodles are transparent once you cook them. Hence they are also called "glass noodles". There is also a subtle difference in texture too.
Similarities Between Pad Woon and Pad Thai
Apart from the type of noodles, the sauce, and a few extra ingredients, there is a lot that is common between Pad Thai and Pad Woon Sen. Just like Pad Thai, Pad Woon Sen is what can be considered a type of Thai fast food. Both the dishes are loaded with veggies and protein, which are all stir-fried together in the wok.
Moreover, when it comes to finishing off the two dishes with garnish, Pad Thai and Pad Woon Sen use similar components such as fresh coriander and bird's eye chili. Both the dishes have a very delicious contrast between the smooth and silky noodles and the crunchy vegetables. Hence the textures in the two dishes are equally amazing.
Both dishes can also be found in the streets of Thailand served by street car vendors, hot, delicious, and full of flavor.
All About Pad Woon
The Pad Woon Sen sauce is one of the crucial ingredients that you need to get right. It consists of soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and water. Each component has a specific purpose. The soy sauce is what adds a salty flavor to the sauce. The oyster sauce adds a really rich flavor that is a keynote of the dish. The fish sauce is what adds the umami to the dish. Even though the smell can be a bit funky, it combines with the other sauces to give it a huge boost of flavor.
What does Pad Woon sen mean?
Pad means stir-fry and sen means noodles in Thai.
Pad Woon Sen is a portion of true comfort food in Thai cuisine. It is made with cellophane noodles or "glass" noodles, a choice of protein (such as beef, chicken, shrimp, pork, tofu, etc.), veggies, and eggs. Everything comes together while being stir-fried in a sweet and savory sauce that elevates the entire dish.
It is really quick and easy to make once you have done all the preparation and have gathered all the necessary protein and vegetable ingredients.
Variations of Pad Woon Sen
You'll find some modified, healthier versions of this dish that uses zucchini noodles instead of glass noodles. You can also switch out the sugar with honey or the vegetable oil with avocado oil if you are really trying to cut down on the calories. While the dish isn't originally gluten-free, you can definitely make it by using gluten-free fish sauce and soy sauce instead of the regular kind.
All other variations of this dish can be done by using different types of protein each time you cook the dish, making it spicy or tangy as per your preference, or playing around with different types of vegetables to use in the dish.
Ingredients in Pad Woon
Other than the eggs and chicken, you can go for beef, pork, or tofu as additional proteins in the dish too. The classic combination for veggies in Pad Woon Sen is tomatoes, cabbage, onions, and carrots. However, you can go ahead and use other vegetables too.
Preparing Pad Woon
To make Pad Woon Sen, the first step would be to prepare all your ingredients. Firstly, soak your glass noodles in room temperature water according to the instructions on the pack. You can also cut the noodles shorter if they are too long. Next, mix the sauce using all the above-mentioned elements. Then, move on to stir-frying the chicken and the veggies. Once they are cooked, move them to one side of the pan and pour your beaten eggs into the space you just created in the pan. Once they have been cooked through, you can bring everything together.
Add your noodles to the skillet along with the sauce. Once you are done stir-frying everything in high heat, kill the heat and sprinkle chopped green onions. Mix it well, serve and enjoy! It is a really simple, fast, and easy dish, much like Pad Thai - if not more.
All About Pad Thai
Pad Thai is quite similar to Pad Woon Sen, as it has been established earlier. However, there are a few enlistments such as crushed peanuts and lime juice. Pad Thai can be differentiated from Pad Woon Sen mainly by the noodle type as well as the sauce. The sauce for Pad Thai consists of tamarind concentrate, soy sauce, fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime juice. Every one of them is vital in giving Pad Thai its signature taste and flavor.
What does Pad Thai mean?
Pad mean stir fry. Pad Thai is a really popular Thai stir-fried noodle dish that can be enjoyed as fast food, street food, or even as a dish at a fancy Thai restaurant. It is so massively popular that you can find it at almost every Asian restaurant all around the world. It is usually one of the most selling dishes on the menu.
Ingredients in Pad Thai
Pad Thai is made using rice noodle sticks. The sauce used to make this dish is quite a particular blend of flavors. It is sweet, spicy, tangy, and savory all at the same time. Prawn and Chicken happen to be the most common protein choices for this dish.
The protein choices for classic Pad Thai are usually eggs, chicken, and prawns. However, pork can also be used. There is a certain way to prepare the protein for this dish. The eggs need to be cut into slices after you fry them. The chicken should be sliced into bite-sized pieces while the prawn should be deshelled with the tail still on.
However, you can switch things up when it comes to the ingredients to try out different variations. For example, you can use pork in this dish besides the usual chicken and prawns. Moreover, this dish works with almost any type of oil such as vegetable oil, peanut oil, or even coconut oil. Bean sprouts are the staple veggies used in Pad Thai. However, you can also add other veggies and try experimenting.
Preparing Pad Thai
After sizzling some minced garlic in your hot wok, add the chicken and stir fry it. Sprinkle some additional seasoning such as brown sugar and salt. Next, add your sauce mixture. You can then add the prawns and cook them for around 2 minutes. Later, add the rice noodles that should have been soaking earlier. Then, add the eggs and the bean sprouts and keep stirring. Finish cooking in high heat and then turn the heat off.
Garnish with chopped green onions, coriander, crushed peanuts, and a tiny amount of bird's eye chili. And that's it! Easy and delicious. It may be a little bit more of a modified version of Pad Woon Sen when it comes to the other ingredients besides the noodles and the sauce. The two differentiating ingredients truly give these noodles their identities.
Summary of Comparing Pad Woon and Pad Thai
Now that you know the exact differences between Pad Woon and Pad Thai, you shouldn't be confused the next time you feel curious to try either one of them. If you are about to cook any of the dishes on your own, you will surely the which ingredients to pick up based on what you're in the mood to eat.
While they are very similar and equally enjoyable, you will now be absolutely aware of what you're being served (glass noodles versus rice sticks that are stir-fried). They are unique despite coming off as extremely similar initially. So, the next time you are at a Thai restaurant and can't make up your mind between the two dishes, recall these differences and then make your decision.
More Thai Noodle Dish Comparisons
If you loved this comparison post between Pad See Ew and Drunken noodles, you might also love these posts:
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- Difference Between Lo Mein and Pad See Ew