Noodles In Thailand (Part 1) Rss feed Twitter button Facebook button

Noodles in Thai is guai-tiaw, although we casually pronounce it gu-tiaw. There are several types of noodle dishes in Thailand, but I will categorize them into 4 basic types for easy understanding.

These include stir-fried rice noodles phad Thai, fried rice noodles topped with thick sauce raad naa, fried rice noodles with soy sauce phad se-eu and noodles with meat or fish stock.

Stir-fried rice noodles phad Thai and fried rice noodles with thick sauce raad naa are often found in the menu in most made-to-order food restaurants, however, you can also get them at specialty noodle restaurants or from noodle vendors.

Fried rice noodles with soy sauce phad se-eu is a common dish at local restaurants, while noodles with meat or fish stock can only be found at specialty noodle restaurants or noodle vendors.

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles Or Phad Thai

Phad Thai is short for gu-tiaw phad Thai. It's probably the most popular noodle dish on the menu in Thai restaurants abroad.

Phad Thai noodles prepared by a street vendor in Thailand
On Kao San Road, the most popular backpacker's strip in Bangkok, there are street vendors preparing phad Thai. However, traditional phad Thai from authentic phad Thai restaurants, looks and tastes quite differently from what you would experience at this hip backpacker's street.

You can easily spot a phad Thai place by looking for a big iron frying pan. The vendor prepares the dish with two spatulas and often sells a deep-fried mussel dish called hoy tawd.

Phad Thai Main Ingredients & Preparation

Original phad Thai is made of narrow rice noodles, although a number of phad Thai restaurants also offer mung bean noodles.

The noodles are fried with diced sun-dried turnips, an egg, firm diced yellow tofu, dried little shrimps or fresh prawns, coarsely ground roasted peanuts, bean sprouts and Chinese chives.

It's served with fresh bean sprouts, Chinese chives and a piece of lime on the side.

Fried Rice Noodles Topped With Thick Sauce Or Raad Naa

Thai fried rice noodles with thick sauce
Raad naa or gu-tiaw raad naa is one of the most popular lunch dishes among Thais. Raad na is usually made of wide rice noodles, however, a number of raad naa restaurants also offer vermicelli sen mee and deep fried egg noodles mee krawb.

Preparing The Noodles

The rice noodles are fried with a sweet, thick black sauce which gives them a brownish color. Once the noodles are done, they're put aside. The sauce is prepared by frying garlic with marinated meat, kale or other vegetables and fermented soybeans. Then, some meat stock is added. When all the ingredients have been cooked, the sauce is thickened with tapioca flour.

The kind of meat used in raad naa sauce is either pork, prawns or mixed seafood. When the sauce is ready, it will be served over the noodles. You can order wide rice noodles sen yai raad naa, vermicelli sen mee raad naa or deep-fried egg noodles mee krawb raad naa.

Fried Rice Noodles With Soy Sauce Or Phad Se-Eu

Phad se-eu is stir-fried rice noodles with soy sauce se-eu, garlic, pork, kale and egg. The two choices of noodles used to make phad se-eu are wide rice noodles sen yai and vermicelli sen mee.

As it were, while you stop to get a meal at a made-to-order food restaurant, you can order either sen yai phad se-eu or sen mee phad se-eu.

Noodles With Meat Or Fish Stock

The noodles are scalded in a noodle pot and served dry or with broth.

The noodles can be served with various meats and vegetables. The most common noodle dishes are made with pork moo, beef neua, duck ped, chicken gai, fish pla and sometimes seafood taleh.

This fourth type of noodles derive their names from the kind of meat used, such as chicken noodles gu-tiaw gai.

Most noodle restaurants and vendors specialize in one type of meat with the exception of pork or beef noodles gu-tiaw rua. I'll talk more about that in just a minute...

In addition to their specialty meat, the vendors often add one or more kinds of meat balls to the dish to give it a variety of flavors and textures.

The most common vegetables put in noodle dishes are bean sprouts (scalded), morning glory (scalded), Chinese parsley and spring onions (chop and sprinkle on top).

If chicken noodles are served in broth, it's chicken broth. Likewise, if pork noodles are served in broth, it's pork broth, etc.

There are two variations of these noodles. Pork or beef noodles formerly sold on boats gu-tiaw rua and rice noodle soup with fermented red soy beans yen-ta-foe.

Pork Or Beef Noodles Or Gu-Tiaw Rua

At a number of noodle restaurants, you can order both pork noodles and beef noodles. These types of noodles are known as gu-tiaw rua.

The Thai word rua means boat. They often display a small wooden boat in front of these specialty noodle restaurants. The boats are put in the restaurants to draw attention and to remind us of the tradition.

Gu-tiaw rua was formerly sold on small paddle boats. Commuting on the canals was common round Thailand in the old days, more so than traveling by road. Unlike today, food was delivered to homes and offices in boats; not by road!

Gu-tiaw rua is unique in the sense that the noodles come in small servings and sell at a low price. Sweet basil is also added to the noodles.

The most popular gu-tiaw rua menu is called gu-tiaw nam-tok. This menu features normal noodle soups with some added pig or cow blood.

While preparing the noodles, the vendor would add some fresh pig or cow blood to the hot broth before serving. This thickens the broth. At the same time, it adds richness and a brownish color to the meat stock.

Noodle Soup With Fermented Red Soy Beans

Thai noodle soup with fermented red soy beans
At many seafood or pork noodle restaurants, the cooks often prepare a specialty dish called yen-tah-foe. It's quite similar to normal noodle soup, but it's taken on a reddish color from the fermented red soy beans.

In this noodle dish, bean sprouts are replaced with morning glory. White mushrooms, pickled squid, different kinds of meatballs and thin pieces of deep-fried tofu are usually added to the noodles.

Noodle Condiments

While eating at noodle restaurants in Thailand, you might be curious about the condiments on the table.

Thai noodle condiments at a restaurant in Thailand
Usually condiments come in a set of four, to add the following flavors: hot & sour, salty, sweet and spicy.

The condiments are vinegar with chili (either sliced or smashed), fish sauce, sugar and ground dry red chili, respectively.

You may be surprised to see how much red chili Thais add to their noodles!

It might make you wonder whether the dry chili is hot or not. The truth is, Thai red chili is not paprika. Generally, it's burning hot!

Here's the link to Noodles in Thailand (Part 2)...

Suggested Reading:   Healthy Thai Snacks   Vegetarian Festival

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