Five Main Types of Thai Noodles
A big player in Thailand’s culinary team has to be noodles. Let me show you the whole noodle spectrum – and the best ways to enjoy them. Noodles, along with rice, make up a huge part of Thai Cuisine and are enjoyed in so many ways. But what can be daunting is seeing all the noodle stalls and knowing what to order. But once you know what you like, you can order a bowl of completely customized noodles.
The very thin rice noodles are called sen mee.
Sen lek is the medium size rice noodle that is used in Pad Thai.
The biggest one is about an inch wide and is called Sen Yai.
Standard egg noodles are called bah-mee and you can tell them by their yellow colour.
Finally, for the carb conscious, Glass noodles or wun sen are made from mung beans and are clear in colour.
Guide and Tips when ordering Thai noodles
When you are ordering noodle soups, the first thing to do is choose the noodle then the rest – being as safe or as adventurous as you want!
Kwai Teow Nam Sai ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำใส
The most plain noodle soup is Kwai Teow Nam Sai, made from usually chicken, pork or beef bones flavored with coriander, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper. It’s most commonly served with pork, beef, duck, and various meat or fish balls. This can also include intestines or cubes of congealed blood – but you can opt not to have these. Although I definitely recommend them, cause even though they sound weird they are really delicious!
Boat Noodles ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเรือ
Another local favourite that is beyond delicious is Boat Noodles. The name is because this dish was traditionally served from boats, but their stealthy flavor-packing ingredient is pig or cow blood cooked into the soup. The soup is usually a deep brown color and the taste is spicy, savory and addictive – the kind of thing if you didn’t know blood was in it, everyone would adore it. Yes you can order it without blood, but trust us – this is what makes this dish so good. This is usually paired with pork, beef or meatballs, liver, morning glory and bean sprouts and is apparently a great hangover cure!
Yen Ta Four เย็นตาโฟ
Next up we have my go-to noodles – Yen Ta Four. This alarmingly pink soup is due to the preserved red bean curd that gives it the sweet/tart flavor. This will generally come with fish and shrimp balls, blood cubes, some pork, and morning glory.
Kuai Tiao Tom Yam ก๋วยเตี๋ยวต้มยำ
Finally, Kuai Tiao Tom Yam is like a basic noodle soup – on steroids! Added to the mix are crushed peanuts, lime, chilli flakes, sugar and fish sauce. But those allergic to nuts beware! You can order it with pork, fish and seafood.
Flavouring your noodles
Once you have your noodles safely in front of you its time to flavor it the way you want. The Noodle vendor tables will generally have chilli powder, fish sauce, sugar and chillies in rice vinegar. My advice is add small amounts till you get it perfect – cause that chilli is sneaky.
One second nothing, the next – molten lava mouth! And if you are using fish sauce to hype up the saltiness, pour it into your spoon first so no huge glugs end up in your soup. Now I have given you the insiders guide to Thai noodles – all you have to do is go out there and enjoy them.