Pad Thai Noodles Vs. Drunken Noodles – What’s The Difference?

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Eating the same kind of food every day can become quite boring, especially if you are trying to eat healthily and get in shape; it is important to switch things up every once in a while to keep things interesting and easy to follow. And even if you aren’t following a diet, we humans tend to fall into difficult routines to break out of. So, whenever you find yourself in any of these conditions, you can always turn to Thai cuisine for some inspiration. 

Thai cuisine is one of the most interesting cuisines out there, with food that has a unique blend of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors. The number of foods available in this cuisine can are for everyone. But one of the most interesting, delicious, and easy-to-cook food is noodles. Noodles are a treat for anyone who’s looking for a quick meal that is delicious, healthy, and hearty. 

Two of the most popular types of noodles are Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles. Despite being popular, they remain unknown to an extent, with most people not being aware of the differences between them. In this article, we will discuss their differences and much more, so keep reading to find out everything you need to know. 

Drunken Noodles

Drunken Noodles has to be one of Thailand’s most famous street food and frequently bought food items in other parts of the world. You can consider this dish to be a spicier version of Phat si-ho. This dish is made by stir-frying the noodles in a pan and a special blend of herbs and spices. This dish has been gaining popularity in the US, where it wasn’t previously known, but today it is available in many restaurants and on the streets on stalls.

The name “Drunken Noodles” is an interesting one and has many different stories for its origin. For instance, one explanation is that these noodles were made for people who got so drunk that the alcohol dulled their taste buds, and the spiciness in these noodles could cut through that dullness. Another interesting explanation is that this dish was made by drunk people who would make it using different leftovers that they could find in their kitchen, but we are not sure someone could come up with such a delicious dish while drunk!


The name of this dish can be a little confusing for some people, as they suspect that it has some amount of alcohol in it, but that’s not the case; Drunken Noodles have no alcohol. The ingredients for this dish are quite simple; everything you need for it can be bought at the grocery store or spice store near you. You’ll need certain vegetables, including shallot, garlic, chilies, shrimp paste, and Basil (used for topping).

These are basic ingredients required for the Drunken noodles, but nowadays, chefs like to take things up a notch and make them with ingredients like rice noodles, soy sauce, oyster sauce, seafood, chilies, meat, Black pepper, fish sauce, and as usual, Basil for topping. This blend of ingredients gives Drunken noodles its distinctive spicy flavor that we all love. Some chefs also enjoy adding an egg to the noodles, giving it a much thicker consistency; however, not everyone likes to cook their noodles this way, so you’ll have to try it and find for yourself whether you like eggs in your noodles or not. 

Pad Thai Noodles

Pad Thai is one of the most popular noodles globally, but they are eaten quite frequently in Thailand, and recently they have made their way into the US, and people love it. Like Drunken Noodles, Pad Thai is also a kind of Stir-fried noodle that use rice noodles as the basic ingredient. But the difference between these two types of noodles is that Drunken Noodles use Thick noodles, while Pad Thai uses thinner noodles

This delicious dish is considered to be in the top fifty most delicious food in the world according to a poll done by Cnn in 2011; Yes, it’s up there in people’s hearts! This incredible taste that has taken people by storm is achieved through using a special blend of ingredients, including:

  • Rice Noodles
  • Sugar
  • Tamarind paste or juice 
  • Fish sauce 
  • Dried or fresh shrimp
  • Sprouts 
  • Shallots 
  • Chilli peppers
  • Garlic
  • Peanut
  • Lime

The noodles used are thin rice noodles usually mixed with tapioca flour and then gently fried with eggs and sometimes diced fresh tofu. The Noodles have a blend of meat, vegetables and noodles that can prove to be pleasing and can help you feel full at the same time. The vegetables in the noodle provide micronutrients, and the meat is responsible for providing essential amino acids. 

But if you are a vegan or vegetarian, don’t be discouraged. You can usually find restaurants serving Pad Thai without meat, and instead of going for the Fish sauce, they opt for soy sauce instead. Pad Thai is a recent invention that was first made in Thailand around the middle of the 20th century.

You’d be surprised to know that Pad Thai was an invention of a prime minister of Thailand that was serving the country in the 1930s (no pun intended). Plaek phibunsongkhram (yes, that’s his actual name) created Pad Thai Noodles as a symbol of nationalism and promoted Thai culture. But this is just one theory; another theory suggests that the prime minister used Pad Thai to increase noodle consumption in Thailand during WW2 as there was a rice shortage in the country and people were eating rice like crazy at that time. 

So What’s the Difference Between Drunken Noodles and Pad Thai Noodles?

  • Pad Thai was an invention of a prime minister of Thailand serving the country in the 1930s, while Drunken Noodles were made for people who got so drunk that their taste buds were dulled, and the spiciness in these noodles could cut through that dullness.
  • Pad Thai is more popular than Drunken noodles.
  • Pad Thai has a sweet and savory taste, while Drunken noodles have a much spicier taste.