Pad Sew

One of my all time favorite foods would be noodles.  Instant noodles were a staple in my diet until recently – they were cheap, filling, and tasty.  The MaMa Shrimp flavour were my favorite.  I still crave them, but the sodium content wasn’t doing me any favors (50% daily value per packet, and I tended to eat two at a time).

Since I’m avoiding instant noodles at home, my noodle consumption there is either spaghetti or kraft dinner with Alison.  Occasionally at work we’ll run out to Thai Express and pick up some noodles – I predictably get Pad Sew with beef.  I kept saying I needed to find a good Pad Sew recipe and start making it at home.

I finally got around to doing a search and locating a good looking recipe, then it was a trip to the local Asian grocery store to find some of the ingredients I needed.  While the recipe looks pretty complex, it turns out to be fairly straight forward – and the resulting dish is awesome.

Here is a replication of the recipe from the original source along with my comments.

Pad Sew (aka: Pad See Ew)
serves 2

300g flat rice noodle (rice stick)
1 egg
250g Chinese broccoli (or similar, I used bok choy)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 tbsp cooking oil (used roughly in 3rds during cooking)
1 tbsp thick (sweet) soy sauce (look for soy sauce with palm sugar)
dash of fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar

Meat & Marinade
225g pork loin, cut thin & bite sized
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
splash (dark) sesame oil

Prepare the meat & marinate, and let it sit for 15 to 30mins.  Chop up the vegetable (Chinese broccoli) into bite sized chunks, you may want to separate the stems from the leaves to allow you to cook the stems slightly longer.  Prepare the garlic.  Heat up some water, then soak the noodles until they are just soft.  Drain the noodles.

Heat up your wok, we’ll be cooking on high the whole time.  Have your sauces and ingredients ready, this goes pretty fast.

With a little oil, stir fry the vegetable with a dash of fish sauce.  You may want to start with the stems, then toss in the leafs.  When it all looks a bit wilted, dump the wok out into a bowl.

Now its time for Noodles.  Use a generous amount of oil, toss the drained noodles into the hot wok and stir the noodles to coat them in oil.  Add 1 tbsp thick soy and a dash of fish sauce.  Mix the sauce into the noodles to give them nice colour, add some more oil if things start to stick badly.  Spread the noodles in a thin layer over the wok and let them cook a bit.  Dump the wok out into the same bowl as the vegetables.

Some oil, garlic and meat go into the hot wok.  Stir fry the meat.  Once its browned nicely, spread the meat away from the hot part of the wok and crack the egg into that spot.  Scramble the egg and mix the meat in.  Once the meat and egg are cooked, dump the bowl with the noodles and vegetables back in.  Add the rice vinegar and stir things together.Time to eat.


The fish sauce, oyster sauce and rice vinegar all play arole in making it authentic tasting, but I think the thick soy is the magic ingredient.  The type of noodle will make or break this dish – the second time I made it the local grocery store only had a thinner rice noodle which just didn’t have the same impact.  I’ve also used beef instead of pork and it was a nice substitution.

You’ll want to cook this in small batches – otherwise the wok won’t be hot enough to cook the ingredients as they should be.  The original points out some options for making this a vegetarian dish if you are so inclined.

9 thoughts on “Pad Sew”

  1. Thanks for posting this recipe. Kate and I are going to give this a try as we really enjoy this type of dish as well. I’ve not had very much luck with the fish sauce ingredient in the past (but noticed it doesn’t require much) so I’m hoping this will be our first successful attempt with it.

  2. Regarding fish sauce, the key to success in my [limited] experience was the Viet Huong Three Crabs fish sauce. It was a recommendation from the very friendly staff at Man Phat Grocery, Ottawa.

  3. I just tried this recipe, and I was so impressed! It tastes just like going to Thai Express! I have only had limited successes in my endeavors when it comes to cooking thai food, do you have a recipe for a pad thai and a green curry as well?

  4. hehe I just finished eating a Pad Sew from Thai Express, I found this recipie a while ago from Chez Pim, I found the fish sauce I used (Thai Kitchen brand) completly ran away with the flavor. Next time I find myself near a T&T or in China Town i’ll have to see if I can find the Three Crab brand Kevin mentions because I love Pad Sew, and if it was just the fish sauce I used that ruined it, i’ll have to try again with a different brand. Thanks for posting, it brought back my confidence in this recipie!

  5. My current fish sauce is the Thai Kitchen brand – but I agree that fish sauce in general is powerful stuff and generally I try to buy as small a bottle as possible since it takes quite a long time to use it up.

    Now that I’ve made this enough times to be comfortable, I tend to skip measuring the sauces and go by feel. You might want to go a bit lighter on the fish sauce, but one adjustment I’d recommend is to go a bit heavy on the sweet soy sauce (yum). I’ve also forgotten the rice vinegar at the end and found it wasn’t as good – so while I would recommend playing with the amounts, don’t skip anything.

    If you don’t have a wok, never fear. I’ve made this dish a number of times in a regular frying pan and it turns out great.

  6. Was googling pad sew and found my way here. Looks great! 😀 If you like pad sew you should try the chinese dish “Gong chow now ho” or uhm I think in english it is beef with flat noodles?? But thanks for the recipe. I look forward to making it!

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