Which has less calories Pad Thai or Pad See Ew?

Both Pad Thai and Pad See Ew are delicious and popular Thai noodle dishes. But which one is lighter and has less calories? Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts and find out.

What is Pad Thai?

Pad Thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish that originated in Thailand. It consists of rice noodles, protein such as shrimp, chicken, or tofu, eggs, bean sprouts, garlic, tamarind paste, fish sauce, shallots, peanuts, chili peppers, and lime juice. The ingredients are tossed together in a wok and cooked quickly over high heat. The dish has a balanced sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavor profile.

Pad Thai is often served with lime wedges and chopped roasted peanuts on the side to add extra flavor. It’s a go-to Thai street food dish and also a very popular restaurant menu item around the world.

What is Pad See Ew?

Pad See Ew is another popular Thai stir-fried noodle dish. It consists of wide rice noodles stir-fried with soy sauce, vegetables, and protein. Common ingredients in Pad See Ew include rice noodles, broccoli, egg, Chinese broccoli, carrots, meat such as chicken, beef or pork, and oyster sauce or soy sauce for seasoning.

Unlike Pad Thai, Pad See Ew has a more savory flavor from the oyster sauce and soy sauce. It does not contain the sweet and sour tamarind flavor. Pad See Ew tends to have a darker color from the soy sauce whereas Pad Thai is lighter in color. While Pad Thai uses thinner rice noodles, Pad See Ew uses wider, flat rice noodles. Both dishes can contain similar protein and vegetable add-ins.

Calories in Pad Thai

The calories in Pad Thai can vary considerably depending on the specific ingredients used in the dish. Here is the nutrition information for a typical Pad Thai containing rice noodles, chicken, eggs, peanuts and bean sprouts:

Serving Size Calories Carbohydrates Protein Fat
1 cup 363 55g 16g 10g

As you can see in the table above, a 1 cup serving of Pad Thai contains approximately:

  • 363 calories
  • 55g carbohydrates
  • 16g protein
  • 10g fat

The majority of calories come from the carbohydrates in the rice noodles and protein from the chicken and eggs. Pad Thai also contains a good amount of fat from the cooking oil used to stir-fry the dish and from peanuts added as a topping.

Calories in Pad See Ew

Like Pad Thai, the calorie content in Pad See Ew can vary based on the specific recipe. But here is the nutrition data for a typical order of Pad See Ew made with chicken, broccoli and carrots:

Serving Size Calories Carbohydrates Protein Fat
1 cup 309 47g 21g 7g

A 1 cup serving of Pad See Ew contains approximately:

  • 309 calories
  • 47g carbohydrates
  • 21g protein
  • 7g fat

The calories come mainly from the rice noodles, protein from the chicken, and small amounts of fat. Since Pad See Ew does not contain peanuts, the fat and calorie content tends to be a bit lower than Pad Thai.

Comparing Calories: Pad Thai vs Pad See Ew

When comparing the typical nutritional values, Pad Thai and Pad See Ew are relatively similar in their calorie density and macronutrient makeup. However, there are some key differences:

  • Pad Thai is slightly higher in calories – 363 calories per serving compared to 309 calories in Pad See Ew.
  • Pad Thai contains more carbs from the noodles, coming in at 55g vs 47g in Pad See Ew.
  • Pad See Ew is higher in protein with 21g compared to 16g per serving of Pad Thai.
  • Pad Thai has more fat at 10g per serving compared to 7g in Pad See Ew.

Based on these comparisons, Pad See Ew generally contains fewer calories per serving compared to Pad Thai. The difference is about 50 calories less in Pad See Ew. The lower fat content from the lack of peanuts accounts for part of those calorie savings.

However, both dishes are relatively high in carbohydrates from the noodles. The protein amounts are similar, with Pad See Ew providing slightly more protein due to less fat and carbs.

Factors Affecting Calories

Keep in mind that the actual calorie counts can vary depending on the serving size and specific ingredients used, including:

  • Noodles: Using a lower amount of noodles will reduce carbs/calories. Going with a smaller noodle like vermicelli instead of wide rice noodles also cuts calories.
  • Protein: The type of protein and portion size affects calories too. A vegetable or tofu option will be fewer calories than meat options like chicken, pork, beef or shrimp.
  • Oils: The amount of cooking oil used to fry the dish impacts the fat and calorie content.
  • Sauces: Pad Thai sauce is made with sugar and tamarind paste, increasing the carb and calorie count.
  • Vegetables: Sticking to lower calorie vegetables like bean sprouts and carrots instead of higher calorie corn can make a slight difference.
  • Nuts: Peanuts on top adds extra fat and calories compared to going without nuts.

When customizing your order, you may be able to reduce the calorie content by opting for leaner proteins, loading up on veggies, and limiting high-calorie sauces and condiments.

Nutritional Benefits

Beyond calories, both Pad Thai and Pad See Ew provide important nutritional benefits:

  • Carbohydrates: The rice noodles are a good source of energy from carbohydrates.
  • Protein: The eggs and meat contain filling protein to support muscle growth and recovery.
  • Vitamin C: Fresh lime juice provides immune-boosting vitamin C.
  • Fiber: Peanuts and vegetables add fiber for digestion and cholesterol lowering.
  • Phytonutrients: Ingredients like carrots, broccoli and bean sprouts contain beneficial antioxidants.

Overall, both dishes can be part of a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation and balanced with other nutrient-dense foods.

Healthier Preparation Methods

You can also modify how Pad Thai and Pad See Ew are prepared to create a lighter, healthier version:

  • Use reduced-sodium soy sauce or fish sauce
  • Choose healthier oils like peanut, sesame or avocado oil
  • Load up on extra vegetables
  • Use just egg whites instead of whole eggs
  • Opt for lean proteins like chicken breast, shrimp or extra-firm tofu
  • Skip the sugar in the Pad Thai sauce
  • Use a smaller portion of noodles
  • Avoid deep frying and instead pan fry, bake or grill

With some simple substitutions and preparation tweaks, it’s easy to enjoy these tasty noodle dishes while still minding your calorie intake.


To answer the original question, Pad See Ew generally contains slightly fewer calories compared to Pad Thai, typically around 50 calories less per serving. This difference in calories is attributed to a lower fat content in Pad See Ew from the lack of peanuts.

However, both dishes can range in their calorie content based on preparation method, ingredients, and portion sizes. In terms of overall nutritional value, Pad Thai and Pad See Ew contain a similar blend of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Both can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet when eating the appropriate portion size and balanced with other nutritious foods.

No matter which dish you prefer in terms of flavor, you can customize the ingredients and preparation method to create a lighter version that suits your individual calorie needs. So don’t be afraid to order your favorite Thai noodle takeout and ask for any swaps to make it healthier!

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