In Thailand, noodles are widespread, cheap and tasty. But they’re also extremely varied and somewhat complicated to order.
You’ll find four main kinds of noodle in Thailand. When ordering, it’s generally necessary to specify which noodle you want. It’s also possible to order some types of noodle dishes minus the noodles, with a bowl of rice instead; this is called gäo läo.
Thai Egg Noodles – Bà•mèe Made from wheat flour and egg, this noodle is yellow
and sold only in fresh bundles.
Rice Noodles with Curry – Kà•nöm Jen This noodle is produced by pushing a rice-based dough through a sieve into boiling water, much the way some types of Italian pasta are made.
Noodles – Sên göo•ay dëe•o The most common type of noodle in Thailand is made from rice flour mixed with water to form a paste, which is steamed to form wide, flat sheets, then sliced into various widths.
Glass noodles – Wún•sên An almost clear noodle made from mung bean starch and water, this noodle features occasionally in noodle soups, but is usually the central ingredient in yam wún sên, a hot and tangy salad made with lime juice, Prik kêe nöo (tiny chilies), shrimp, ground pork and seasoning.
Some Thai noodle dishes can be ordered dry, in which the noodles are served with just enough broth to keep them moist.
Thai Egg Noodles – Bà•mèe These eponymous Chinese-style noodles are typically served with barbecued pork slices, greens and if you like, wontons.
Rolled Noodles in Five Spice Broth – Göo•ay jáp Rice noodles and pork offal served in a fragrant, peppery broth; a dish popular among the Thai-Chinese.
Thai curry noodles – Göo•at dëe•o Kang A Thai-Muslim dish of rice noodles served with a curry broth, often including garnishes such as peanuts and hard-boiled egg.
Noodle with Pork meatballs – Göo•ay dëe•o lôok chin This dish combines rice noodles in a generally clear broth with pork- or fish- based (or less commonly, beef or chicken) balls; one of the most common types of noodles across the country.
Boat noodles – Göo•ay dëe•o rea
Known as boat noodles because they were previously served from the canals of central Thailand, this intense pork- or beef- based bowls are among the most full-flavored of noodle dishes.
Curry Noodles – Kà•nöm jeen This dish, named after its noodle, combines thin rice threads and a typically mild, curry-like broth, served with a self-selection of fresh and pickled vegetables and herbs.
Northern Thai Curry Noodles – Kôw soy Associated with northern Thailand is this dish that combines wheat- and –egg noodles with a fragrant, rich, curry-based broth.
Pink Noodle Soup – Yen dah foh A crimson broth with meatballs, blood cubes, and crispy greens, this dish is probably the most intimidating but popular noodle dish in Bangkok.