Is Pad Thai Gluten Free? | Build a Stash

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Key Takeaways

  • Pad Thai is a popular stir-fried rice noodle dish
  • Pad Thai can be gluten-free or not
  • People with gluten issues shouldn’t eat Pad Thai unless they are sure it’s safe
  • It’s advisable to prepare your own Pad Thai if you are on a gluten-free diet

Pad Thai is Thailand’s national dish, known for being perfectly delicious, sweet, tangy and incredibly filling. But, is Pad Thai Gluten Free?

Pad Thai isn’t considered gluten-free. While the rice noodles used to make it are gluten-free, some sauces like oyster sauce and soy sauce are added. And, these sauces usually have wheat flour as a thickener, thus meaning the entire dish won’t be gluten-free.

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Table of contents


What Is Pad Thai?

Pad Thai is a popular noodle dish that you will find on the menu of almost every Thai restaurant. It’s also a popular street food, served on almost all street corners of Thailand. Pad thai is the country’s national cuisine.

But, what exactly is Pad Thai? Pad Thai is simply a stir-fried dish made of rice noodles, tofu, meat and eggs. It’s usually served together with a Pad Thai sauce, which can be made from a wide range of ingredients, including fish sauce, tamarind soy sauce, garlic, dried shrimp, palm sugar and chili flakes.

Some chefs and restaurants will also incorporate toppings into their Pad Thai recipes. The most common toppings served together with this dish include peanuts, cilantro, chili garlic sauce, fresh scallions, fresh lime wedges, red cabbage and fresh shredded carrots, pickled radishes and mung bean sprouts, among others.

Its history dates back to around the mid-20th century. It incorporates cooking techniques and elements mainly borrowed from Chinese cuisine. Today, Pad Thai is considered the national dish of this Southeast Asian country.

Recipes for this dish will vary from one place to the other. But, regardless of the place or the recipe, Pad Thai will always have rice noodles as the main ingredient. These noodles are usually made of rice flour, salt, and water.

Some consumers have liked pad thai so much that they have likened it to a warm blanket which gives warmth and company,and it's a signature dish for many people.

Benefits of pad thai include a reliable amount of proteins, minerals, and vitamins.

About Gluten

Gluten occurs naturally in a family of cereals belonging to the grass family. The cereals with the highest concentration of gluten in this family are barley, wheat and rye. Gluten is sticky or gluey.

So, it plays an important role in holding the grain together, so that it can maintain its shape. Also, it’s responsible for the stretchiness that you see in dough.

And, gluten doesn’t cause any issues for most people. In fact, the majority of the world’s population can consume gluten-containing foods without experiencing any complications. Many Americans do not have any problem whatsoever with the consumption of gluten.

But, the case is entirely different for individuals with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity and gluten allergies.

If these individuals consumed anything made from barley, wheat, rye or any other gluten grain, the gluten will trigger numerous adverse reactions and complications. This is because the body responds to gluten as it would do on any foreign substance,and rejects it.

So, people who experience these complications need to be extremely careful with what they eat. This is because celiac disease does not have a known cure, and the only viable and sustainable solution is avoiding taking gluten foods. It is worth noting that this could be a lifetime commitment.

And, the problem is that there’s no known cure for these conditions as of today. Sticking to a gluten-free diet is the only remedy for people with any form of gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance.

Thus, people with gluten problems should check the market in order to know which foods have gluten, and which ones are not. At the center of this is the need to check the labeling of the product.

For optimal celiac disease management, taking gluten free products must be a lifestyle.

Does Pad Thai Have Gluten?

If you love Asian cuisines, you may be probably thinking it’s time to give Pad Thai a try. This Asian food is a tasty product to take.

But as we’ve pointed out above, if you have gluten sensitivity, celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance, you need to be careful of what you eat.

To this end, you may be probably asking yourself; is Pad Thai gluten-free? Does Pad-Thai have gluten? Is Pad Thai safe for people with gluten sensitivity?

Whether Pad Thai will be gluten-free or not will depend on the restaurant and the ingredients used. But, the main area of concern is the Pad Thai sauce.

Some of the Pad Thai sauces served with this delicacy may be made of gluten-containing ingredients like soy sauce, oyster sauce or fish sauce. For instance, wheat flour may be used as a thickener for some types of soy sauce and oyster sauce. And as we earlier pointed out, wheat is one of the gluten-containing grains.

Is Pad Thai Safe For People With Celiac Disease?

From our discussion above, Pad Thai can be gluten-free or not. It all comes down to the ingredients used to make it. So, whether it will be safe for people with celiac disease or not will also depend on the ingredients list.

If you are on a gluten-free diet and you are looking to try out Pad Thai for the first time, you should only go ahead to order if you are sure the ingredients used are gluten-free. In such a situation, gluten-free Pad Thai will be safe for you. Gluten free pad thai will not only be safe for you but also delicious.

But, as much as the Pad Thai may not contain any gluten ingredients, there’s a chance of gluten cross-contamination, if it’s prepared with the same equipment used for gluten-containing foods.

Again, if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you need to enquire about the possibility of this risk, and how you can get pad thai gluten free.

How To Enjoy Gluten-Free Pad Thai

As you can see, you can’t really be sure whether Pad Thai will be gluten-free or not, if you are ordering from a restaurant. While the ingredients used may be naturally gluten-free, cross-contamination with gluten during the preparation process is always a possibility.

The only way you can be sure you will enjoy gluten-free Pad Thai is by preparing yours at home, using 100% gluten-free ingredients. And, there are dozens of easy Pad Thai recipes out there that you can use to prepare naturally gluten-free Pad Thai.

You can choose the pad thai recipe that will be appropriate for you depending on your kitchen capabilities and available ingredients. Making pad thai is a simple process- some recipes will take as short as 30 minutes.

With your own home preparation methods, you can choose different ingredients and accompaniments. These include rice noodles, pad thai noodles,and green onion. In addition to that, you can use pad thai with sauce including pad thai sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce.

Most importantly, you will be able to prepare gluten free soy sauce should you choose this type of sauce.

If you prefer a vegan diet, then you can think of preparing pad thai vegan. This will give you the benefits of a vegan meal, and at the same time, give you delicious food.