Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Noodle Soup in Bangkok! Big Kiddo´s faves.

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Nam Gai with thick and fat noodles in a street stall.
Nam Gai con fideos gruesos y delgados en un puesto de la calle.

In over a year we have tried plenty of noodle soups here in Thailand, the most common Guay Teow with chicken, beef or fish balls, your choice of noodle and if you want, a spoonful of blood. Big Kiddo loves Guay Teow and always ask for some. Here in Phuket there are plenty of Guay Teow stalls, just like in Bangkok, but on this photo post we share photos of him enjoying noodle soups in Bangkok. At the end, a recipe!

En mas de un año aca en Tailandia hemos probado muchos platos de sopa de fideos, la mas comun siendo la Guay Teow, con pollo o carne de res o bolas de pescado y si quieres, una cucharada de sangre. A Big Kiddo le encanta el Guay Teow y siempre pide que vayamos a tomar. Aca en Phuket hay bastantes puestos de Guay Teow, como en Bangkok, pero en este post compartimos fotos de Astor disfrutando sopas de fideos en Bangkok. Hay una receta al final!

Nam Gai with blood cubes in Chinatown.

Nam Gai con cuadrados de sangre en Chinatown.

Kuay Teow Gai (Chicken Boat Noodle) on a street stall on Soi 23.
Kuay Teow Gai (Boat Noodle de pollo) en un puesto de Soi 23.

Kuay Teow Meuang (Boat Noodle de Res) under the BTS Skytrain Saphan Taksin station.
 Kuay Teow Meuang (Beef Boat Noodle) bajo la estacion de BTS Skytrain Saphan Taksin station.

Kuay Teow Meuang (Beef Boat Noodle) at a street stall in our neighborhood.
Kuay Teow Meuang (Boat Noodle de Res) en un puesto callejero por el barrio.

Kway Teow Meuang next to the windows at the Pier 21 at the Terminal 21 mall.
Kway Teow Meuang al lado de las ventanas en el Pier 21 del centro comercial Terminal 21.

Rice Noodles in Clear Broth with Beef Balls 

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 4


  • 2 quarts chicken or pork stock (see notes below)
  • One pound Asian-style frozen beef or pork balls, thawed
  • One green onion, trimmed
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and pounded into coarse shards (see post)
  • 8 ounces bean sprouts, rinsed and drained well
  • 8 ounces dried extra-large rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons preserved cabbage, optional
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • Table seasonings: fish sauce, white vinegar, sugar, dried red pepper flakes
  1. Put the stock and thawed beef balls in a large pot. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Keep it on low while you work on the other components of the dish.
  1. Slice the green onion crosswise thinly. Set it aside along with the cilantro leaves.
  1. Put the garlic and vegetable oil in an 8-inch skillet and place it on medium-low heat. Slowly heat the garlic and the oil together, stirring occasionally (the garlic tends to brown first around the edges). Do not be tempted to increase the heat. Let the garlic brown slowly.
  1. In the meantime, put 3 quarts of water in a large pot and bring it to a boil over high heat.
  1. Check on your garlic. Give it a stir periodically.
  1. When the water boils, add the bean sprouts to it. Let them blanch for 30 seconds, then scoop them out with a large slotted strainer. Shake off the excess water and divide the blanched sprouts among four individual serving bowls.
  1. Once all the bean sprouts have vacated the water pot, add the dried noodles to it; stir.
  1. At this point, the garlic should be close to golden brown. Get a small heatproof bowl nearby. Once the garlic becomes golden brown, immediately remove the skillet from heat and transfer its content to the heatproof bowl. Do not let the garlic cool down in the skillet as the residual heat will continue to brown it to the point where it’s too dark and bitter.
  1. While the garlic oil is cooling, the noodles should be close to done. Do a strand check to see if they’re soft enough. If so, take the pot off the heat. Strain the noodles. Shake off excess water. Divide them among the four bowls with the blanched bean sprouts in them.
  1. Stir about ½ tablespoon of both the crispy garlic and the garlic oil into the noodle strands.
  1. Add to each bowl ½ tablespoon of the preserved cabbage.
  1. Pour the steaming broth and the beef balls over the noodles. Top each bowl with the reserved green onion and cilantro. Dust the whole thing with ground white pepper, to taste.
  1. Serve the noodles immediately with the seasonings on the table for each person to season his noodles to taste.


You can use store-bought chicken broth for this. However, the best broth for this particular application is homemade broth made of nothing but raw chicken carcasses or raw pork bones and water. To make 2 quarts of stock, use about a pound of raw chicken or pork bones and 10 cups water. Start out with both ingredients cold. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer, covered, for about 2 hours (you can throw in a couple of smashed garlic or cilantro roots, if you want). Skim off scum towards the end, strain, and discard the bones. You should end up with roughly 2 quarts. Add some fish sauce or salt to it just to give it some flavor.