Auntie K’s all-purpose field guide to the noodles of Thailand

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Well kids,

You already know your Auntie Krista loves noodles. And I know you love noodles too because I’ve seen you eat them and also make them from scratch.

I also know you are already well versed in the noodles of South East Asia, what with your threats to eat all the pho when you arrive. Too bad I’ve eaten it all already…

But the good news is that there are still some noodles left for you to eat.

One of my favorite Thai noodle dishes is pad see ew. This dish isn’t too hard to find in any Thai restaurant in the United States. It’s just waaaaaay better in Thailand. Sorry.

This photo is of a particularly excellent version of the dish that I had at the Jim Thompson cafe in Bangkok. What I like about pad see ew is the chewiness of the rice noodles, they are usually rather thick, and I adore how smoky, salty and sweet it tastes. The egg makes it even sweeter and the vegetables should be firm and crisp to offset the softer texture of the noodles. We use pak-ka-na, a leafy green vegetable similar to kale to make this dish.

Uncle Richard is learning to make his own pad see ew. It’s quite good, although not as good as the Jim Thompson cafe (yet).

Another noodle dish on my “must eat” list while in Bangkok is guay tiew look chin plaa. It is made of thin rice noodles in a clear, savory broth with chewy fish balls (like meat balls but made of fish) and bean sprouts and scallions. I like to add black pepper too.

I’m pretty sure this soup can cure whatever ails you. Forget chicken noodle soup, this stuff is better.

And I can’t forget khao soi. Khao soi is a combination of two of the things Thailand does best – curry and noodles! This dish comes from the North of Thailand and purists will tell you that’s the only place to get the best, but there are some pretty tasty versions in Bangkok too.

The curry is made of chicken, coconut milk, red curry paste, curry powder and red onion. Then it is topped with crispy, fried yellow noodles and served with toppings like Thai lemon, pickled mustard greens and toasted chili peppers.

I don’t know kids, I’m not sure I can hold off long enough for you to get here. I may just have to go ahead and eat all the khao soi too. If I don’t, Uncle Richard probably will.

Don’t worry there will be some sort of noodles left somewhere. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of Thai noodle options. Stay tuned for part two of this excellent, all-purpose field guide to the noodles of Thailand.

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