Vegetarian Pad See Ew

November 29, 2009
0 Ratings
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

I could list all the ways that this satisfying noodle dish is different from the one you order at whichever Thai joint you turn to for emotional and physical sustenance. But though the noodles may be narrower and the portion size smaller, homemade pad see ew genuinely hits the spot. To make it, you just have to stock up on a few Thai staples and you'll be ready to go. Part of why it's so straightforward is because its flavoring is actually based on a purchased sauce--black soy sauce--which the blogger Chez Pim alerted me to and which I bought for a couple bucks at Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown (Healthy Boy Brand is what I got). This is a vegetarian recipe with egg as its only protein, so if you want to add meat, shrimp, or tofu, just saute it in the wok first with some garlic and soy or oyster sauce, then set aside and add it back in when you return the cabbage to the wok. —Cara Eisenpress

What You'll Need
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch Napa cabbage, Chinese broccoli, or bok choy, cleaned and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons safflower, canola, or vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces wide rice noodles
  • 2 lemon wedges
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 tablespoons black soy sauce (see introduction for details)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 dash fish sauce
  1. Cook or soak the rice noodles according to package directions until they're just soft. Drain and toss with a teaspoon or two of the oil. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the eggs with a teaspoon or two of the soy sauce. Set aside.
  3. In a wok over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds, then add the cabbage or other green veggie. Cook, tossing constantly, for a few minutes, until the cabbage is wilted. Remove from the wok to a plate.
  4. Add another tablespoon of the oil, heat for a moment, then throw in the noodles. You want to get some brown parts on the noodles, so don't stir constantly. Drip in a few tablespoons of black soy sauce and toss to coat. Add the fish sauce, the sugar, and the juice from one of the lemon wedges and mix. Taste a noodle to see if you need any more black soy sauce or sugar to balance the flavors.
  5. Add the cabbage and garlic to the noodles. Toss for a moment, then pull everything to one side of the wok and pour in the eggs. Let cook for a moment, then scramble a bit and when they're fully cooked, toss back in with the rest of the noodles.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with the lemon wedges.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mrslarkin
  • PhoebeLapine
  • lastnightsdinner
  • AntoniaJames
  • WinnieAb
I'm the founder, editor, and head chef at the blog Big Girls, Small Kitchen (, a site dedicated to easy-to-execute recipes and stories from a quarter-life kitchen. I'm also the author of In the Small Kitchen published in 2011.

17 Reviews

maggie October 30, 2016
Dear vegetarians. All these nasty comments just give us all a bad name. (Yes, I'm one too.) If you're losing sleep over a mislabeled vegetarian dish, you really need to find a new hobby. Try skipping to the next recipe and smiling. It's good for your soul. ❤️❤️❤️
Sari September 8, 2015

Also, this recipe should definitely NOT be categorized under the vegetarian section...
Sari September 8, 2015
If you think fish are vegetarian, you clearly need a culinary lesson. It's individuals like you who make it more difficult for true lacto-ovo vegetarians. I would strongly recommend revising the title of this recipe. Such a diasspointment from a normally reputable blog.
FYI- oysters (as you suggest in your comment) are also NOT vegetarian.
maggie October 30, 2016
I'm vegetarian too, but think your comment a little over the top. It's really not that difficult.
Sonja G. April 10, 2015
skip the fish sauce then and add chili instead, should provide for enough flavour to still be delicious.
Leigh4747 April 10, 2015
The vegetarian issue isn't with the nature or quality of the recipe, its with the title, which unequivocally and falsely labels it vegetarian. Very misleading for vegetarians looking for recipes that conform to their dietary guidelines.
Sonja G. April 10, 2015
This is delicious! I ate it with chopped chicken bits. I advise however to add some chili to spice things up. For those vegetarian comments: Thai food whithout fish sause is not Thai Food. Might want to consider looking for different meals then.
paul_nelson March 30, 2015
Fish sauce? Do you know what the word "vegetarian" means?
SariS November 5, 2014
Very disappointed that you called this recipe vegetarian when it contains fish sauce. It's clearly not vegetarian.
Leigh4747 April 13, 2013
This looks delicious, but you really can't call it a Vegetarian recipe, as it contains fish sauce. I came across this searching for strict vegetarian recipes, so it's a considerable misnomer.
LizCo77 September 21, 2012
I made this tonight and it was on point. Quick, delicious, cheap, and fun. Thank you!
Fresca April 9, 2011
This was great! I stir fryed some ginger along with the garlic, used bok cho,y and added a shredded carrot and some Chinese celery. This will defiinitely become a regular!
mrslarkin March 30, 2010
Trawling the food52 site for tofu recipes and this popped up among them. Sounds great! Saving it. Thanks!
PhoebeLapine December 3, 2009
I wish I was having this for lunch today!!!
lastnightsdinner November 30, 2009
This is going in the queue for sure - yum.
AntoniaJames November 30, 2009
Mmmmmm, yum, yum, yum!!! This is one of my faves, too! I'm so glad to see a recipe for it. We have a terrific, ancient hole-in-the-wall Thai place not far from me, which serves something similar to this. (They stir fry bean sprouts with the aromatics, and apparently do all the other things you suggest, but then toss the cooked noodles with chopped lettuce and call it "noodle salad" -- wierd, but quite tasty.) I'm looking forward to throwing this together at home now! Thank you so much for posting it.
WinnieAb November 30, 2009
My favorite Thai dish! Thanks for the recipe!