Is Pad See Ew Gluten Free? (No, Here’s Why)

Is Pad See Ew Gluten Free

Pad See Ew is recognized as a Thai street dish. The origins of this recipe are from the Teochaw people of China who emigrated to the Bangkok Provence of Thailand. Pad See Ew is comprised of wide and flat rice noodles and a rich dark sauce that soaks into the noodles. Pad See Ew stir fry sauce is made primarily of a dark soy sauce and bottled oyster sauce. This dish is usually served with wok stir fired vegetables like shiitake mushrooms. Vegetarians love this dish as tofu is easily and tastily supplanted for meat or shrimp.

Pad See Ew is not gluten free as it contains soy sauce. Soy sauce is fermented soy beans which are processed using wheat. Unless the restaurant or recipe specifies that a gluten free soy substitute was used, Pad See Ew will not be gluten free. The best gluten free alternative to soy sauce is Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos.

In this article, we will discuss the nutritional contents of Pad See Ew recipes, as well as gluten free versions. Read on for great insights into Pad See Ew!

Pad See Ew Nutritional Information


These ingredients for Pad See Ew are from a recipe by Donal Skehan (Food Network):

  • wide rice noodles
  • oyster sauce
  • soy sauce
  • white wine vinegar
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • sunflower oil
  • garlic cloves
  • chicken thigh fillets
  • broccolini
  • free-range egg

Nutrition summary:

  • Calories 524
  • Fat 20g
  • Carbs 60g
  • Protein 27g

There are 524 calories per 200g serving of this recipe. It should be noted that Pad See Ew from a restaurant will have near 600 calories for the same serving size, and possible MSG added.

Macros of Pad See Ew:

  • 15% Total Fat 10g.
  • 12% Saturated Fat 2.3g.
  • 21% Cholesterol 63mg.
  • 56% Sodium 1352mg.
  • 8% Potassium 278mg.
  • 9% Total Carbohydrates 27g.
  • 7% Dietary Fiber 1.8g.
  • Protein 13g.

The use of soy and oyster sauces makes this recipe not gluten free. We will discuss more about the soy sauce making process using wheat later on.  Also listed below will be ingredient lists of gluten free soy and oyster sauce alternatives.

Why is Soy Sauce not Gluten Free?

Bottled soy sauce is made by boiling soybeans, grain such as wheat, and salty water or brine together. The boiled mixture is then fermented inside Aspergillus Oryza or Aspergillus soju molds. When the fermentation has reached its peak, a paste is formed. The paste is then squeezed or pressed to remove the salty and fermented liquid.  This liquid from the soy, grain, and salt water mixture is the soy sauce that is bottled. The residue soy cake and meal are then fed to cattle and other agricultural animals. Soy sauce is not gluten free unless labeled and processed as such. Traditional soy sauce uses wheat in the initial stages of production of the sauce.

Gluten Free Soy Sauce Options

  • Coconut Secret the Original Coconut Aminos® Soy-Free Seasoning Sauce
  • Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce, Reduced Sodium
  • Primal Kitchen Sauce No Soy Island Teriyaki
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos Original

Let’s break down the ingredients and what makes these gluten free soy options good choices for making gluten free Pad See Ew at home.

Coconut Secret the Original Coconut Aminos® Soy-Free Seasoning Sauce

The ingredients for Coconut Secret Aminos:

  • Organic coconut tree sap
  • sea salt

Nutrition summary:

  • Calories 5
  • Fat 0g
  • Carbs 1g
  • Protein 0g
  • Sugar 1g

There are 5 calories per teaspoon. This gluten free soy alternative has 65% less sodium than soy sauce, is USDA organic, non-GMO project verified, contains no MSG, is a kosher food, and is vegan.

Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce, Reduced Sodium

Here is the ingredient list for Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce, Reduced Sodium:

  • Water
  • Organic Soy Beans
  • Salt
  • Organic Alcohol

Nutrition summary:

  • Calories 10
  • Fat 0g
  • Carbs 1g
  • Protein 2g

There are 10 calories per tablespoon. This version of Tamari brand soy sauce is certified organic, kosher, vegan, non-GMO Project Verified, BIPOC-Founded, no artificial anything, and low in sugar.

Primal Kitchen Sauce No Soy Island Teriyaki

The ingredients for Primal Kitchen Sauce No Soy Island Teriyaki:

  • Water
  • Organic coconut syrup
  • Himalayan salt
  • Organic pineapple concentrate
  • Organic wine vinegar
  • Organic concentrated grape must
  • Organic date paste
  • Organic ginger
  • Organic garlic
  • Organic tapioca starch
  • Sea salt
  • Organic tamarind
  • Organic sesame seeds
  • Organic distilled vinegar
  • Organic sesame oil
  • Organic dried onion
  • Organic yeast extract

Nutrition summary:

  • Calories 20
  • Fat 0g
  • Carbs 4g
  • Protein 0g
  • Sugars 3g

There are 20 calories per tablespoon. This non-soy sauce is certified paleo, non-GMO Project Verified, USDA Organic, Whole 30 Approved, and Keto Certified.

Bragg Liquid Aminos Original

The ingredients in Bragg Liquid Aminos Original are:

  • Soybean protein
  • Water

Nutrition summary:

  • Calories 5
  • Fat 0g
  • Carbs 0g
  • Protein 1g
  • Sugars 0g

There are 5 calories per teaspoon. Bragg® Liquid Aminos is an umami-packed, gluten-free liquid seasoning made from non-GMO verified soybeans. It delivers essential amino acids and is a perfect alternative to soy sauce.

Why is Oyster Sauce not Gluten Free?

If there is wheat in the ingredients label for oyster sauce it is not gluten free. Oyster sauces were traditionally made by stewing oysters out of their shells. The juices and meat of the oyster are simmered for a long period until the sauce becomes dark and caramelized with intense umami flavor. Today most are made from a wide range of ingredients. The Ty Ling brand does not use oysters at all. However, it still uses wheat as a main ingredient.

Ingredient list for bottled oyster sauce by Ty Ling:

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Soybeans
  • Salt
  • Wheat
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Yeast extract
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Caramel color
  • Bisulfate of soda
  • Xanthan gum
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Modified food starch

Gluten Free Oyster Sauce Alternatives

  • Kikkoman® Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce
  • Wok Mei Gluten Free Oyster Sauce

Down below we will lay out the ingredients for the best gluten free oyster sauce alternatives.

Megachef Oyster Sauce (Gluten Free)

Megashefu oyster sauce 240g The ingredients for MEGACHEF OYSTER SAUCE (GLUTEN FREE) are:

  • oyster extract
  • purified water
  • sugar
  • salt
  • corn starch
  • potassium sorbate
  • acetic acid

Nutrition summary:

  • Calories 20
  • Fat 0g
  • Carbs 4g
  • Protein 0g

There are 20 calories in 18g. Megachef Oyster Sauce (Gluten Free) has no MSG, and not color or artificial flavors added.

Kikkoman® Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce

Kikkoman Oyster Sauce, 12.6 Ounce The ingredients in Kikkoman® Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce are:

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Oyster shellfish extract
  • Modified corn starch
  • Caramel color
  • Yeast extract

Nutrition summary:

  • Calories 25
  • Fat 0g
  • Carbs 6g
  • Protein 0g
  • Sugars 4g

There are 25 calories per tablespoon of Kikkoman® Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce.

Wok Mei Gluten Free Oyster Sauce

Wok Mei Gluten Free Oyster Sauce, 8 Oz. (2 Pack) The ingredients in Wok Mei Gluten Free Oyster Sauce are:

  • Filtered Water
  • Dried Cane Syrup
  • Caramel Color
  • Salt
  • Non-GMO corn starch
  • Vinegar
  • Maltodextrin
  • Oyster Extract

Nutrition summary:

  • Calories 25
  • Fat 0g
  • Carbs 6g
  • Protein 0g
  • Sugars 5g

There are 25 calories per tablespoon in Wok Mei Gluten Free Oyster Sauce. This sauce does not include any modified starches, sugar, or MSG.

Final Thoughts

Pad See Ew is not gluten free. Recipes that use of both soy sauce and oyster sauce as the main ingredients for Pad See Ew stir fry sauce are not gluten free. Both oyster sauce and soy sauce include wheat in their ingredients. Unless labeled with a gluten free certified label soy sauce and oyster sauce are not gluten free.

Using gluten free alternatives to both soy and oyster sauces is the best way to make a recipe of Pad See Ew gluten friendly. As the other ingredients of the dish are rice noodles, vegetable starch, and vegetables all of which are gluten free. This classic street food can still be made to fit a gluten intolerant diet.

Related Questions

Is Pad See Ew Vegan?

No, Pad See Ew ordered from a restaurant will not be vegan if they use oyster sauce in their recipe. Even with the replacement of meats with tofu or just vegetables, the use of oyster or fish sauce makes most recipes not vegan.

Is there Vegetarian Oyster Sauce?

Yes, there are vegetarian oyster sauces! There are tons of great vegetarian and vegan oyster sauces on the market. The base of the vegetarian versions are mushrooms, sometimes even oyster mushroom varieties as they have a lot of umami flavor.

Where can I buy wide rice noodles?

Although buying or making fresh rice noodles is best. Unless you have a great Thai food purveyor or store nearby you will most likely need to buy a dry variety of wide rice noodle.

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Kari Rich

Chef Kari Rich is an award-winning fine dining chef with over twenty years of experience across the culinary field. Chef Kari enjoys studying and preparing foods for all types of diets and needs. Besides running professional kitchens, she has worked as a restaurant consultant doing business development and innovation, flow of food and menu development, food safety and cooking class instructor, ghost and copywriter for cookbooks and blogs, and research and development for health food companies and magazines. Chef Kari has appeared on a number of Food Network, Travel Channel, and Cooking Channel programs, she prefers the more personal connection that comes from preparing creative and well executed dishes. Chef Kari maintains a focus on the importance of local farms, food waste education, and good nutrition practices.

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