Is Pad Thai Vegan or Vegetarian?

Pad thai, or ‘Thai stir fry’ is a traditional stir-fried dish made from rice noodles widely served in restaurants and as street food in Thailand.

It’s a trendy food and was listed as number five on CNN’s list of ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods’-a viewer pole compiled by the network in 2011.

Is it vegan? Pad thai may be vegan, and many recipes include meat and other animal products.

You’ll need to check recipes on restaurant sites (if you’re dining out) and review ingredients tags if you’re buying pad thai in supermarkets.

You can probably make a vegan-friendly version of pad thai at ease, of course.

Is that normal, vegetarian? As you would have expected, more pad thai was considered vegetarian than a vegan.

But vegetarians still need to watch for meat, particularly seafood. The egg is a common ingredient in pad thai that would be suitable for vegetarians, but never for vegans.

Animal Products to Look Out for in Pad Thai


This is perfect for vegetarians, but let vegans be warned.

Pad thai appears to be created with rehydrated noodles of rice. This sounds simple enough, but perhaps the noodles are often stir-fried in the egg.

I recall the omelet-containing stir fry of my non-vegan times. You likely saw it, too. A number of pad thai is vegetarian-friendly, but because of the inclusion of egg, it is not ideal for vegans.

Seafood and Fish Sauce

That one’s off-limits for both vegans and vegetarians — except for fishmongers.

Vegan-and vegetarian-friendly flavorings involve tamarind pulp, red chili peppers, garlic and shallots, lime wedges, peanuts and palm sugar, garlic chips, bean sprouts, fresh banana flowers, and pickled radishes or turnips.

Unfortunately, many of the flavorings used in pad thai come from seafood and marine-derived ingredients, including natural banana flowers.

  • Fish sauce
  • Shrimp (dried and fresh)
  • Crab
  • Squid

For starters, Thai Kitchen Gluten Free Pad Thai Noodle Kit includes rice, water, sugar, tomatoes, rice vinegar, fish sauce (anchovies, salt, and water), garlic, chips, pickled radish, soybean oil, onion, modified corn starch, tamarind paste (organic acids, tamarind seed gum, and pectin), citric acid, chili pepper, and xanthan gum.

So, keep an eye on these ingredients. Once, seafood is a key ingredient in pad thai.

And, if you really want to make sure that your meal is vegan or vegetarian, you’ll need to make sure that the soya sauce is used instead of the fish sauce and that the seafood is absolutely omitted.

Chicken and Other Animal Protein

A considerable amount of pad thai is vegan, and at least vegetarian-friendly because some recipes call for firm tofu rather than meat.

Obviously, these recipes may still be out of bounds for vegans if seafood or egg is still available.

Chicken or red meat bites are sometimes mixed with toppings including red chili pepper, bean sprouts, lime wedges, roasted peanuts as well as other fresh vegetables.

For example, P.F. Chang’s Home Menu is a typical Thai bowl with vegetables (cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, scallions, and carrots), cooked rice noodles (water, rice flour, and vegetable oil), tea, canola oil, brown sugar, chili paste, garlic purée, cornstarch, tamarind, ginger purée, and salt. It sounds simple enough.

It also includes fish sauce (anchovies and garlic) and seasoning cooked chicken (chicken breast, olive oil, water, salt, and brown sugar and natural flavorings).

To ensure vegan and vegetarian sociability, opt for firm tofu instead of beef.

Commercial Vegan Pad Thai

But I am sure there are tons of vegan-friendly versions of the food product, but this will give you an idea of what’s out there.

Sweet Earth Pad Thai

Sweet Earth is selling a vegan-friendly Thai mat.

This product includes

  • Cooked rice noodles, water, and white rice noodles
  • Tofu and soybeans
  • Canola and sesame oils
  • Additives (calcium sulfate and/or magnesium chloride and/or calcium chloride and/or glucono delta lactone and/or soy protein).
  • Carrots, red bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, and vegetable broth (water, carrot, celery, onion, tomato, salt, yeast extract, cane sugar)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Maltodextrin, yeast extract, soy fiber, cornstarch, and food starch
  • Vegetable juice concentrate (carrot, celery)
  • Salt, onion and garlic powders, paprika, spices, dried seaweed, and natural flavor
  • Brown sugar (molasses, sugar)
  • Green onions, red cabbage, snow peas
  • Rice vinegar, tamarind and tomato paste, and lime juice concentrate
  • Garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and purees

Dr. McDougall’s Gluten-Free Pad Thai

This one deals with pasta, sauces, and vegetables.

Ingredients involve rice noodles, tamari GF fish sauce, peanuts, sugar (organic), garlic, yeast extract, natural flavors, lime juice, starch, carrot, tofu, shallots and cabbage, cilantro, assorted spices, tamarind powder, chives and green onion, and natural color (turmeric and paprika oleoresin).

Thai Kitchen Gluten-Free Stir-Fry Rice Noodles

Yeah, it is just the noodles. But, for all of you who always want to cook, it is a right product, because it only requires rice and water.

Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Brown Rice Noodles is another good option. It contains only flour and water for brown rice.

A Taste of Thai Pad Thai Sauce

Another great product, if you make your own.

This one includes palm sugar, tamarind, rice, vegetables (shallot and sweet radish), garlic, sunflower oil (soybean), potassium chloride, maltodextrin, miso, salt, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (corn, maltodextrin and soya beans), yeast extract, paprika oleoresin, citric acid, vitamin E, and chili oleoresin.

This is it of the vegan status of pad thai. Thank you so much for reading.

You can also check out the following related articles:


  1. Pad Thai.
  2. Your pick: World’s 50 most delicious foods.
  3. Pad Thai – ผัดไทยกุ้งสด. Natty Netsuwan –
  4. Thai Kitchen Gluten Free Pad Thai Noodle Kit, 9 Oz. Nina –
  5. 7-steps To Properly Eating Pad Thai
  6. P.f. Chang’s Home Menu Chicken Pad Thai Bowl, 11 Ounce. Justin –
  7. Sweet Earth Pad Thai 9 Oz. Box Sjmickey1 –
  8. Dr. Mcdougall’s Right Foods Gluten-Free Asian Noodles Pad Thai, 2.0 Oz. Fruitcake –
  9. Thai Kitchen Gluten Free Stir Fry Rice Noodles, 14 Oz. Chary73- BigKid913- SONNE31- Campmaster55- Pauldar –
  10. Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Brown Rice Noodles 8 Oz.
  11. A Taste Of Thai Pad Thai Sauce, 3.25 Oz, (pack Of 6). Linda C –


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