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What’s the difference between Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles?

Are you wondering what the difference is between Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles? I’m going to talk through the ingredients, the preparation, as well as the nutritional comparison between both of these very popular Thai dishes.

Both Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) and Pad Thai are popular noodle dishes that hail from Thailand. Aside from their origins and the fact that they are made from rice noodles, that’s where the similarities end.

Drunken Noodles and Pad Thai vary from both ingredient switches and sauce differences, which provide a large variation on how both dishes taste.

Difference Between Drunken Noodles and Pad Thai

The differences between these two dishes is that Pad Thai is nuttier and sweeter whereas Drunken Noodles is spicy and savory.

Pad Thai is made of rice noodles that is made of a sauce made with tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar that includes a protein like chicken topped with crushed peanuts.

Drunken Noodles (also known as Pad Kee Mao) is a spicy noodle stir-fry that has a flavor profile that includes more vegetables and a thicker, savory sauce made of oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Drunken Noodles often includes ground pork as the protein with vegetables like baby corn, snow peas, and Thai basil.

Similarities Between Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles

Both dishes are stir-fried with rice noodles and often a protein. Both provide a flavor profile that is ultimately sweet, similar to other Thai noodle dishes. They are also the two most popular Thai dishes, with Pad Thai being the most popular.

Pad Thai versus Drunken Noodles

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is renowned as the national dish of Thailand. Often, it is the number one ordered item at your local Thai restaurant due to it’s bold, umami flavors. Pad Thai is normally made with thinner rice sticks than Drunken Noodles.

The flavor profile is characterized by its rich, vibrant flavors. Unami from the fish sauce and dried shrimp, sour due to the tamarind paste, sweetness due to the palm sugar. The noodles are often 1/4 inch in width and interlaced with this savory sauce. It’s often sprinkled with crushed peanuts on top with a lime wedge squeezed for garnishment, which provides another layer.

Related Post: Easy and Simple Pad Thai Recipe from Pre-made Sauce

drunken noodles vs pad thai

Drunken Noodles

Drunken Noodles is a Thai rice noodle dish that is dressed with a spicy, yet savory sauce. While variations of Drunken Noodles are vastly different in the streets of Thailand, the two ingredients that are consistent in every adaptation are chicken, Thai Basil, and baby corn. Drunken Noodles do not have alcohol in the recipe.

Drunken Noodles is often referred to by other monikers like pad ki mao, pad kimao, and phat khi mao due to the variation of spelling as it’s being translated to English.

Translation of Pad Kee Mao

The literal translation of Pad Kee Mao means drunken noodles. The theory behind the name of this dish is because this spicy Thai noodle dish should be paired with an ice cold beer and often a great cure for a hangover.

What’s healthier – Pad Thai or Drunken Noodles?

Overall, Pad Thai has less calories than Drunken Noodles. Pad Thai has 357 calories per cup whereas Drunken Noodles has 323 calories per cup.

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Both Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles) are delicious and very popular Thai dishes that are authentic and savory.

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