Thai Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

You’ll be swooning over the intense flavour of this spicy dish

Thai Drunken Noodles
Photo: Jessica Hoffman

Take-out Thai noodles can be pricey, greasy and often not so healthy. Once you make this recipe at home you’ll never want to order take-out again! These noodles are loaded with flavour, simple to make and come together in less than 30 minutes for a quick and easy meal everyone will love!

There are a few different theories as to why this dish is called drunken noodles. One theory is that the original dish was so spicy it would leave you feeling dizzy and kind of ‘drunk.’ Another theory suggests this is a favourite dish to eat in Thailand after an evening of drinking.

You can find most of the ingredients at your local Asian grocery store. Two of the key elements in this dish are Thai basil and fresh chili peppers. Don’t skip out on these ingredients!

Thai drunken noodles are also traditionally made with wide rice noodles. You can buy these fresh at the Asian grocery store, or dried at most other food stores. Either will work well.

Serves 2-3


  • 8 oz. wide rice noodles
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch cube of ginger, minced
  • 1 Thai chili, finely chopped
    (or more if you like it really spicy)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 large handfuls of Thai basil leaves
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • crushed peanuts and a lime wedge to top (optional)


  • 1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut sugar
    (can sub agave or maple syrup)
  • 1 Tbsp. water


Cook the rice noodles in a pot of hot water for 2-3 minutes until al dente. They should be a bit hard in the center, and not cooked fully through.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook for 1 minute, then add the ginger, onion and pepper and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the noodles to the pan tossing together and letting cook for 2 minutes, until the noodles start to brown on the bottom slightly.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the sauce and Thai basil leaves mixing everything together.

Lastly, fold in the green onion and mix together, letting cook for 1 minute. Serve immediately.


Make sure to use Thai basil (also known as holy basil) in this recipe! It’s not the same as regular basil and can be found at your local Asian grocery store.

Use a large pan to make this recipe to give the ingredients enough space to caramelize.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories 300; protein 6 g; fat 9 g; carbs 48 g.

Support Local Media

Since 1991, IMPACT Magazine has produced freely distributed award-winning editorial content, including departments on fitness, health, nutrition, food, training, sports medicine, travel and features on the top athletes across the country.

Why Your Support Matters

IMPACT Magazine has kept its publication free and available to readers for 30 years. We believe that everyone deserves access to quality, credible health and fitness content to live their healthiest and best lives. We pride ourselves on delivering the best editorial from the best experts in their fields along with supporting both local and national brands that align with our core values.

We are independently owned and operated and support local fitness and health professionals, writers, photographers, designers and artists.

Please consider supporting IMPACT Magazine by making a donation of any amount via PayPal below. Your donations will help us continue to make an IMPACT into the future!

Impact Magazine DonationsDonate to Impact Magazine