If you love Thai food, you’ve probably tried the classic noodle dish pad see ew. With its broad rice noodles, Chinese broccoli, egg, and soy sauce flavor, pad see ew is comfort food at its finest.
But there’s one question I often get asked about this popular dish: Is pad see ew spicy?
The answer might surprise you. Traditionally, authentic pad see ew does not contain any spicy heat or chilies. It gets its flavor from soy sauce, oyster sauce, and a touch of sugar instead. The result is a noodle dish that is sweet, salty, and savory – but not spicy.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t customize pad see ew and give it some kick if that’s what your taste buds crave! Many restaurants offer a “spicy” version of pad see ew amped up with chili paste or peppers. At home, you can sprinkle on chili flakes or stir fry chilies into the noodles. Drizzling on chili oil, sriracha, or your favorite hot sauce also does the trick.
So while pad see ew isn’t typically spicy, there are easy ways to add sizzle if you want it. Keep reading to get all the details on the
What Exactly is Pad See Ew?
Before we dive into the spiciness question, let’s review what exactly pad see ew is.
Pad see ew is made with wide rice noodles, egg, Chinese broccoli, carrots, protein like chicken or pork, and flavored with soy sauce. The name “pad see ew” means “stir-fried soy sauce noodles.”
The wide noodles are pan-fried until they get that delicious wok char flavor. The vegetables and protein get tossed in near the end to cook for just a minute or two.
The result is a comforting, slightly sweet, savory noodle dish. The textures of the tender noodles and crunchy vegetables pair perfectly.
Pad see ew is the ultimate late night dish in Thailand, served steaming hot from street food stalls. It’s become popular around the world too.
The Origins of Pad See Ew
While pad see ew has become a favorite around the world today, it actually originated right in Thailand.
The history of this iconic noodle dish gives us a delicious glimpse into Thailand’s unique culinary fusion of Chinese and Thai cultures.
Pad see ew was likely created several generations ago by Chinese immigrants who settled in Thailand. These immigrants brought along traditional Chinese cooking techniques, ingredients, and flavors.
One of the most important Chinese cooking methods was stir-frying in a hot wok. This allowed for quick cooking while sealing in flavors and textures.
The Chinese immigrants then merged these techniques with local Thai ingredients. For pad see ew, this included rice noodles, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and Thai vegetables like Chinese broccoli.
The marriage of Chinese cooking methods with Thai flavors resulted in something new – pad see ew! This tasty noodle dish represents a uniquely Thai-Chinese fusion cuisine.
Pad see ew’s origin story also explains why you can find this dish in both Thailand and China. But the Thai version stands out for its distinct ingredients and spicing.
While China uses wider wheat noodles, Thailand’s pad see ew is always made with chewy rice noodles. And the Thai pad see ew balances sweet, salty, savory flavors instead of being intensely savory.
Over time, pad see ew became a beloved staple all over Thailand. It evolved into a convenient, fast street food perfect for busy Bangkok city life.
These days, you’ll find pad see ew cooking away on street carts, at restaurants, and in home kitchens across Thailand.
So next time you order pad see ew, you can appreciate how this iconic dish traces its roots back centuries to the culinary melding of two amazing food cultures.
Is Pad See Ew Supposed to Be Spicy?
The short answer is no – traditional pad see ew is not a spicy dish.
Pad see ew gets its flavor from soy sauce, oyster sauce, a little sugar, and possibly white pepper. But there are no chilies in an authentic recipe.
The soy sauce gives it a deep, savory umami taste. Oyster sauce adds more savoriness. And a touch of sugar balances out the saltiness.
So you’ll taste sweet, salty, and meaty flavors. But not spicy heat.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t add some
How to Make Pad See Ew Spicy
Just because pad see ew isn’t traditionally spicy doesn’t mean you can’t give it some heat. There are a few easy ways to
Add Chili Oil or Sauce
This is the simplest way to make pad see ew spicier.
Look for chili garlic sauce, sriracha, or sambal oelek at your table or in the restaurant’s condiments. Or ask your server to bring some out.
Then drizzle the chili sauce over your steaming hot pad see ew noodles. Start with a little and add more until you reach your desired
The chili heat will balance beautifully with the sweet and salty pad see ew flavors.
Sprinkle Chili Flakes
Chili flakes are another easy way to add some heat to your noodles.
Grab the chili flakes shaker and lightly sprinkle them over your pad see ew. Toss the noodles to distribute the flakes evenly.
The toasted, fruity heat of the chili flakes complements pad see ew perfectly. Just a sprinkle provides a gentle warmth.
Stir Fry Chilies Into the Noodles
If you’re making pad see ew at home, try stir frying some sliced Thai chilies right into the noodles.
This infuses spicy flavor directly into the dish. It also adds nice pops of color from the bright red chilies.
Start with just 1 or 2 chilies. You can always add more next time if you want it hotter.
Add Your Favorite Hot Sauce
Don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own favorite hot sauce to pad see ew!
I like giving my noodles an extra kick with chili crisp oil or Gochujang (Korean red chili paste). The possibilities are endless.
Just drizzle your desired hot sauce over the top. The added flavor and heat take pad see ew to the next level.
How to Make Pad See Ew Less Spicy
While pad see ew isn’t meant to be spicy, you may sometimes get a dish that’s too hot for your taste. Luckily, there are some easy ways to cool down an overly spicy plate of pad see ew.
Skip the Chili Flakes: First, check your pad see ew and remove any visible chili flakes. They often get sprinkled on top.
Add a Little Sugar: A small amount of white or brown sugar can help offset some of the
Boost the Soy Sauce: Extra soy sauce gives your noodles more rich, savory flavor to counteract the heat.
Mix in Yogurt: Stirring in just a spoonful or two of plain yogurt works wonders to gently tame the
Dilute with Water: If the pad see ew sauce is very intense, thinning it out with a splash of water diffuses the heat a bit.
Load Up on Veggies: Piling on extra vegetables like broccoli helps cool the noodles down.
Switch Proteins: Opting for milder proteins like tofu or chicken instead of spicy beef or shrimp can make a difference.
With these handy fixes, you can easily tone down pad see ew that accidentally ends up too fiery for your tastes. A less spicy pad see ew lets you appreciate the complex flavors better anyway!
Tips for Ordering Pad See Ew with the Right
Now that you know how to
spicelevel: Tell your server if you want the dish mild, medium spicy, or extra spicy.
- Ask for chili on the side: Get fresh chili peppers or chili sauce for adding your own
- Order extra veggies: More veggies help balance the heat.
- Request no white pepper: White pepper adds a kick, so skip it if you don’t want any
- Choose your protein wisely: Pork and chicken are milder choices than spicy beef or shrimp.
- Try a veggie version: Tofu pad see ew has less inherent
spicethan meat versions.
- Cool your mouth with drinks: Sip on something cold and creamy like coconut ice cream.
With these handy tips, you can order pad see ew with just the right amount of sizzle!
Other Pad Noodle Dishes in Thailand
Pad see ew is arguably the most famous, but it’s not the only delicious Thai noodle dish that starts with “pad.” Here are a few other popular “pad” noodle dishes you’ll find in Thailand.
Pad Thai – Pad thai features thinner rice noodles, tamarind sauce, peanuts, lime, and bean sprouts. It has a refreshing sour and sweet flavor.
Pad Kee Mao – Also known as “drunken noodles”, this pad is spicy and made with wide noodles, basil, chilies, bell pepper, and chicken or beef.
Pad Woon Sen – Glass noodles get tossed with egg, vegetables, chicken, and seasoned sauce. It has a delicate texture.
Pad Mee – Wheat or egg noodles wok fried with soy sauce, vegetables, and meat or seafood.
While pad see ew stands out for its rich sweet/savory flavor, trying different pad noodle dishes lets you explore all the diverse flavors Thai cuisine has to offer. It’s a tasty adventure!
What’s the Difference Between Pad See Ew and Pad Thai?
Pad see ew is often confused with pad Thai, another super popular Thai noodle dish. But besides both starting with “pad”, they are actually quite different.
Here’s a quick rundown of how pad see ew and pad Thai compare:
Noodles: Pad see ew uses wide, flat rice noodles. Pad Thai uses thinner round noodles.
Sauce: Pad see ew uses soy sauce for flavor. Pad Thai uses tangy tamarind.
Spice level: Pad see ew is not traditionally spicy. But pad Thai often has heat from chili sauce or peppers.
Mix-ins: Pad see ew doesn’t have pad Thai’s signature mix-ins like peanuts, lime, or bean sprouts.
Cooking method: Pad see ew is pan fried in a wok. Pad Thai cooks via quick tossing in a wok.
While they are prepared differently, both dishes are totally crave-worthy. It just depends what flavors and textures you’re in the mood for!
Is Pad See Ew Right for You?
Now you know all about the spiciness of pad see ew and how it compares to pad Thai.
If you love spicy food, pad see ew may be right up your alley. With just a few tweaks and added chilies, you can give this classic noodle dish some serious heat.
Or if you prefer mild flavors, you’ll appreciate pad see ew’s subtly sweet soy sauce flavor. Just ask for no spices when you order.
However you like it, pad see ew is the ultimate comforting noodle dish. Its delicious flavors and hearty textures make it a Thai restaurant favorite.
So next time you’re craving noodles, give pad see ew a try. Customize the